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Ashford United made the most of the early start to the season, as the new look side eased to a comfortable 3-1 win over local rivals Hythe Town in front of a healthy attendance of 429 at the Homelands.
With Gary Alexander now at the helm the prospects already look brighter if the opening performance is anything to go by, following the difficult season endured last term.
* August 11th in the views of many is far too early to kick off the campaign, but the record books show that back in season 1969-70 Ashford Town hosted Wisbech Town two days earlier on August 9th. Bobby Laverick and Dave Crush scored the goals for the Nuts & Bolts in a 2-2 draw, Ashford ended that season with promotion to the Southern League Premier Division, so perhaps an early start is not such a bad thing.
Back to August 2018 and it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Charlie Webster was on hand slotting home a rebound from close range.
That though was about as good as it got for the Cannons who offered little going forward as the match progressed and the hosts started to grow into the game.
It therefore came as little surprise when parity was restored in the 32nd minute when Lanre Azeez coolly found the target after a neat lay off from the hardworking new number nine Harry Ottaway.
Get used to these new names there are plenty of them, indeed the match saw 10 in the starting XI and one further substitute debuting for United.
United had chances to add a second before the break but Ollie Rowe and Ottaway failed to test former United favourite George Kamurasi when well placed.
Now in full control Ashford took the lead after 56 minutes with once again Ottaway the provider after muscling his way through a hesitant defence to find Ambrose Gnahore who found the net.
Hythe responded to conceding a second goal by going close to equalising with free-kicks from Kieron Campbell and Jack Sammoutis both just narrowly wide of the target.
Ashford though always looked the more likely to add to the goal tally and this duly happened seven minutes from time, when a neat move down the right saw Sam Corne latch onto a loose ball and make it three, in off the inside of the post.
It was a great start for the new look side, which gives the hopes of an upturn in fortunes during what promises to be an exciting season.
Next up for United are Thamesmead Town who visit the Homelands on Tuesday evening in the Kent Senior Cup, before the long trip to the Channel Islands next Saturday to play Guernsey.
* For the record Ashford United of course just a couple of seasons ago played their first match of the season as early as 6th Aug 2016 hosting and beating Corinthian 2-0 in the FA Cup extra Preliminary Round a week before the league season commenced !
Sam Mott Ollie Rowe (off 66) Tom Carlse Jordan Johnson-Palmer Antonio Simeone Luis Morrison Sam Corne Lea Dawson Harry Ottaway Lanre Azeez (off 87) Ambrose Gnahore (off 85)
Matt Day Josh Wisson Clark Woodcock (on 85) Fidan Fejzi (on 87) Siao Blackwood (on 66)
George Kamurasi Salvyn Kisitu Aziz Lyoubi Chris Kinnear Nathan Daly Mitchell Dickenson Charlie Webster (off 81) Mitchell Chapman (off 59) Zak Ansah Jack Sammoutis Kieron Campbell
Ben Gorham Nigel Oldfieldapence-Neita (on 59) Josh Stirman (on 81) Charlie Owen Jack Negus
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