Missed chances prove costly for United

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sports -

No sad faces or dis­ap­point­ment.

That was the de­mand by player-man­ager Danny Lye of his play­ers as he and they re­flected on Ash­ford United’s FA Vase quar­ter­fi­nal de­feat in wet and windy Wilt­shire on Satur­day.

Lye la­belled this tie against one of the com­pe­ti­tion’s favourites as a bonus game for his side but con­ceded they bowed out to the bet­ter side on the day.

United’s 200-plus trav­el­ling sup­port­ers made them­selves heard in a crowd of nearly 1,800 at the compact Ray­mond McEn­hill Sta­dium and the out­come might have been a hap­pier trip home had Paul Booth and Jon Pil­beam not wasted two great chances in nine min­utes be­fore half-time.

Home boss Steve Clar­idge cut an an­i­mated and vo­cal fig­ure, watch­ing from the di­rec­tors’ box early on as his side – scor­ers of



Re­port: AN­DREW GI­D­LEY 146 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son – put United un­der early pres­sure,

Keeper Ge­orge Ka­murasi needed treat­ment and Lye con­firmed later that a rib in­jury ham­pered him through­out the game.

He and United had sur­vived a cou­ple of anx­ious mo­ments be­fore Sal­is­bury skip­per Kane O’Keefe put his side in front af­ter 27 min­utes, fol­low­ing up af­ter Shaun Welford had blocked the first ef­fort.

Eight min­utes later, Booth was pre­sented with an ex­cel­lent chance to equalise.

Ryan Palmer made it with a deep cross from the left which fell per­fectly for Booth un­marked four yards out but the striker headed the ball wide of home keeper Char­lie Searle’s right-hand post.

Min­utes later, Booth played a neat one-two with Pil­beam – a Vase fi­nal­ist at Wem­b­ley with Tun­bridge Wells three years pre­vi­ously – but his burst into the box ended with him shoot­ing wide.

The misses came back to haunt United al­most im­me­di­ately.

Three min­utes of added time had al­ready been sig­nalled at the end of the first half, when a mis­placed de­fen­sive pass led to the ball fall­ing to wide­man Tau­rean Roberts, a for­mer Crys­tal Palace Academy player, who scored from 20 yards in­side Ka­murasi’s left-hand post.

Lye made a dou­ble change at half- time, tak­ing him­self and Booth off in favour of Mikey Dal­ton and Chris Saun­ders, only for his side to con­cede a third goal 70 sec­onds af­ter the restart.

Roberts made it on the left, beat­ing two de­fend­ers be­fore cross­ing for O’Keefe, ar­riv­ing late in the box, to head home his se­cond.

Palmer was un­lucky twice later, trick­ing his way to the by­line, be­fore see­ing his first shot par­ried by Searle at the foot of the near post, then pok­ing his se­cond ef­fort al­most on the line, be­fore de­fender Cal­lum Hart thumped it clear.

Pil­beam dragged an­other ef­fort wide be­fore Ka­murasi stopped two more home ef­forts be­fore the end.

Ka­murasi, A. Cuth­bert (Sav­age 60mins), L, Cuth­bert, King­well, Wool­ley, Phillips, Lye (Saun­ders 46mins), Palmer, Pil­beam, Booth (Dal­ton 46mins), Welford. Subs not used: Has­san, Fagg. 1,791

Pic­tures: Tom Gre­gory, Sal­is­bury Jour­nal

Ash­ford led out by cap­tain Michael Phillips at Sal­is­bury’s Ray­mond McEn­hill Sta­dium on Satur­day

Sal­is­bury man­ager

Steve Clar­idge, gets an­i­mated on the


Ash­ford striker Jon Pil­beam holds the ball up

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