Missed chances prove costly for United
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
Ashford led out by captain Michael Phillips at Salisbury’s Raymond McEnhill Stadium on Saturday
Steve Claridge, gets animated on the
Ashford striker Jon Pilbeam holds the ball up