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Ashford United’s disappointing season ended with another defeat as Walton Casuals secured a play-off spot, after three late goals saw them secure a 4-1 victory at the Homelands.
The visitors kicked off in seventh place and not then in a play-off position, but started much the stronger of the two sides, with Youseff Bamba curling a shot narrowly wide in the fourth minute.
George Kamurasi – who in midweek reached a century of appearances for United – pulled off a good save to deny Bamba, before Josh Kelly struck the crossbar from a sublime long-range effort.
It therefore came as little surprise when a fine glancing header from Kelly saw the Casuals open the scoring in the 12th minute. They very nearly doubled it within 60 seconds, but Kamurasi produced a great save to tip a powerful header from former United player Tyrell Richardson-Brown over the bar.
United struggled during the first period to contain the rampant visitors but eventually managed to grow into the contest with Dave Cook and Dean Grant spurning good chances to draw them level.
Just before the break Richardson-Brown showed good pace to tee-up Dominic Ogun but the shot was wide of the target.
During the second period, there was little between the sides until the final 10 minutes, as both had opportunities to score in an entertaining end to the campaign.
A great run and shot by The Stags stand out player saw Bamba go close to doubling the lead shortly after the re-start before United struck the woodwork.
Joshua Oyinsan worked goalkeeper Denzel Gerrer with a rasping low effort, then in the 76th minute his persistence paid off when he struck for a fourth successive match, firing home the equaliser after great worked initially by Pat Kingwell deep inside his own half.
The parity didn’t last long though as just six minutes later Kelly curled a free-kick from just outside the box into the top left-hand corner.
The Casuals were determined this time not to relinquish the lead and in rampant fashion saw substitute Sean McCormack chip the ball over Kamurasi to make it three after 86 minutes. Then with many fans leaving for the exits, Bamba added a fourth in stoppage time.
The final score was perhaps a bit harsh on the Nuts & Bolts who end their turbulent campaign in 21st position, but hopefully with Gary Alexander set to take over as Manager from Jason Whitmore, this will bring more stability and an upturn in fortunes.
George Kamurasi Malachi Robinson (off 83) George McClennan Dave Cook (off 72) Jahmal Howlett-Mundle Pat Kingwell Jordan Johnson-Palmer Siao Blackwood Dean Grant Clark Woodcock Joshua Oyinsan
Jon Difford * (on 83) Brandon Williams Will Thomas * (on 72) Matt Day
Denzel Gerrar Harry Mills (off 90+2) Dominic Ogun Alex Kelly Joe Hicks Max Hustwick Tyrell Richardson-Brown (off 68) Sonny Black Josh Kelly Isaac Sarpong (off 68) Youseff Bamba
Jack Sammoutis * (on 68) Daryl Coleman Stuart Baldwin * (on 90+2) Sean McCormack * (on 68) Calogero Scannella
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