Ashford Town 1-0 Whitstable Town
Ashford Town 1-0 Whitstable Town

It was a frustrating afternoon at the office for Whistable Town as they went out of the FA Trophy thanks to a spectacular strike away at Ashford Town (Middlesex).

The Seasiders fresh from Tuesday’s 6-0 mauling at the hands of Hythe Town had hoped for a quick start in Middlesex.

However, they were behind after just 8 minutes thanks to Ashford skipper Matt Bunyan’s wonderful left footed volley which found the top corner of Dan Eason’s net.

Things could have been worse for the visitors as Bunyan had the ball in the net again within 2 minutes. Latching on to a lofted through ball he tried a speculative chipped effort which cannoned in off the underside of the bar. Fortunately, from Whitstable’s point of view, the assistant on the far side had long had his flag raised for offside.

To be honest, the home side were firmly in control at this point and more good work from Bunyan found Jack French who had a go from 20 yards. His effort was deflected behind for a corner which was eventually cleared.

There was some relief in the Whitstable ranks as Bunyan limped off with a hamstring issue midway through the half with James Cottee replacing him.

This coincided with a better spell of play for The Seasiders with them beginning to get a foot on the ball and play. Aaron Millbank forcing a stop after a decent passing move involving several players down the right hand side of the pitch.

The home side nearly doubled their advantage soon after a corner was met well by George Spiers, his initial effort was only palmed away as far as Daniel Brown, his goalbound header needed Simon Kabamba on the line to hook it clear.

As the half wound down Whitstable pressed & Ryan Flack beat a couple of men and delivered an excellent cross to Tijan Jedama. His magnificent diving header had Ashford’s Paul McCarthy at his best to maintain his clean sheet.

HT 1-0

The second half began slowly & the first real incident of note was Ashford having strong appeals for a penalty waved away by referee John Perry. A through ball caused a clash between Daniel Brown of Ashford and Whitstable keeper Dan Eason. Eason catching Brown as he got down to clutch the ball. Mr Perry waved play on, judging the Seasiders stopper to have got the ball in the coming together. A decision that wasn’t universally popular.

The same two protagonists were again involved shortly after as Brown sweetly hit a ball from around 30 yards while backpedaling forcing a smart catch from Eason.

Eason again had to be at his best with just under twenty minutes left as a mistake allowed James Cottee to latch onto a long through ball, however once he eventually pulled the trigger he was again foiled by the keeper low at his near post.

In truth, throughout the second period Whitstable had a lot of the ball and a good amount of play in their attacking third, but just couldn’t breakthrough a tired looking but resolute Ashford defence & test Paul McCarthy beyond simple catches from set piece situations.

Their best chance of the half came from a free kick deep into stoppage time. The ball was swung in from out wide on the left flank. McCarthy came a long way and flapped at the cross and missed, there were a few moments of pin ball before the ball was thumped away to safety allowing Ashford Town to hold on for a narrow but hard fought victory.

Ashford: McCarthy, Humphreys, Mingadi, Spiers, Burnham, Harrison, Fitzgerald (Sweeney 37), French, Brown, Bunyan (C)(Cottee 29), Duff

Not Used: Vass, Woodward, Greenwood

Scorers: Bunyan (8)

Bookings: Humphreys (59) French (70) Duff (85) Sweeney (90+1)

Whitstable: Eason, Kabamba, Mills, Girt(C), Miles, Mazzone, Flack (James 81), Gillies (Brown 70), Millibank, Jadama, Medley.

Not Used: Boyce-Huggins, Aiyelabola, Bryant, Cham, Sallis

Scorers: None

Bookings: Flack (62)

Referee: John Perry

Attendance: 163