New faces quick to settle
Ashford United made up for lost time as they saw off Beckenham Town in style at Homelands on Saturday.
Jon Pilbeam scored on his debut alongside fellow new signing Chris Saunders, while substitute Tom Fagg scored twice as United hit six for the fifth time this season.
Salisbury manager Steve Claridge (pictured) was among the crowd and must have left with plenty to ponder ahead of this weekend’s FA Vase quarter-final in Wiltshire, as United enjoyed their return to Southern Counties East League action, playing their first game since Boxing Day.
Pilbeam signed last week on dualregistration terms from Folkestone Invicta, while Saunders arrived after a short spell with Sevenoaks Town, following his release by Greenwich Borough in January.
United survived an anxious moment close to the half-hour when Jamie Turner’s free-kick bounced off a post before Shaun Welford put them in front 10 minutes before half-time.
Pat Kingwell’s shot was pushed away by visiting goalkeeper Lewis Moor but Welford reacted quickly to head in for his 21st goal of the season, putting him level with strike partner Paul Booth. ASHFORD UTD BECKENHAM T
Ryan Palmer got United’s second eight minutes later with a shot from outside the area going in off a post.
Charlie Dickens made it 3-0 just before the hour, with his first for the club with a neat finish from Mikey Dalton’s left wing run and cross. Adam Cuthbert’s timely challenge on Archie Jackson snuffed out another moment of danger, before Pilbeam put United 4-0 ahead in the 62nd minute.
Pilbeam, a member of the Tunbridge Wells team beaten 2-1 by Spennymoor in the 2013 FA Vase final at Wembley, chipped home the fourth, before being replaced by Fagg, while Saunders, who also did well, gave way to Taser Hassan. He and Jack Healey combined for Fagg’s first and also had a role in his second, together with Adam Cuthbert and Booth, leaving the young striker with an easy tap-in.
Beckenham pulled one back two minutes later, Phil McBean converting from the spot.
Kamurasi, A. Cuthbert, Dickens, Healey, Dalton, Kingwell, Palmer, Phillips, Welford (Booth 70 mins), Pilbeam (Hassan 63 mins), Saunders (Fagg 63 mins). Subs not used: Savage, Luen. 214