Ro­mario lays on first as Ash­ford progress

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BOSTIK League North­ern Di­vi­sion side Hey­bridge Swifts started Satur­day’s tie only five places be­low Premier Di­vi­sion strug­glers Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice in the foot­ball pyra­mid and were al­ways set to be ob­du­rate op­po­nents, writes Sean Loft­ing.

That much was in ev­i­dence af­ter 22 min­utes as Luke Cal­lan­der cap­i­talised on Jay Gas­son’s poor chal­lenge to score from the penalty spot and put the vis­i­tors 1-0 up.

The Met dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion but Hey­bridge con­tin­ued to look far more likely to score in the first half.

The Po­lice, how­ever were re­warded for their ball re­ten­tion when Lewis Put­man headed home from a cor­ner to level 10 min­utes into the sec­ond half.

An end-to-end af­fair had both teams keen to avoid a re­play and the Met thought they had achieved just that af­ter tak­ing the lead in the 79th minute. A swift counter, which started with a Hey­bridge free-kick just out­side their area, saw a pow­er­ful pow­er­ful run and well­timed pass from Lloyd Mack­lin to sub­sti­tute Cal­lum Kealy, who scored with his first touch.

Mack­lin then blot­ted an out­stand­ing per­for­mance by get­ting sent off for a dan­ger­ous chal­lenge in the fi­nal minute, with Met man­ager Jim Cooper hav­ing no com­plaints about the de­ci­sion.

And the send­ing off proved costly as Swifts scored deep into added time; Ryan Hen­shaw’s close-range fin­ish en­sur­ing the Met will have to travel to Es­sex for a re­play on Tues­day night.

An im­pres­sive per­for­mance from Ash­ford Town (Middx) saw them progress to the next qual­i­fy­ing round with a 3-0 win against Mar­low.

It is the first time Ash­ford have reached the third qual­i­fy­ing round in eight sea­sons.

De­spite the ab­sence of mid­fielder Scott Weight there was a con­fi­dence about the vis­i­tors, who took the lead in the 15th minute.

Ro­mario Jonas, on for the in­jured Joe Green, pro­vided the ball which Jack Bea­dle forced home from a goal­mouth scram­ble for his 50th goal for the club.

At the other end, Mar­low were left ru­ing wasted chances as Tyler Tobin was kept busy in the Ash­ford goal.

It took just two min­utes of the sec­ond half for the Tan­ger­ines to make it 2-0. Good work by James Cot­tee saw Mark Bit­mead cut in and ham­mer home af­ter ini­tially los­ing out to a de­fender who was track­ing back.

That goal seemed to de­flate the hosts and rarely did they pose any real threat in the re­main­der of the half.

A cou­ple of good saves from the Mar­low goal­keeper kept the score down to 2-0 and the ref­eree was forced to re­duce the home team to ten men late on when their frus­tra­tions re­sulted in a red card for dis­sent.

Pic­ture: Les Wil­liams WK171829

On-loan Re­gan CharlesCook cel­e­brates scor­ing for Wok­ing on Satur­day

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