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Ashford United proved too strong for Guernsey at the Homelands recording a repeat of the 3-0 victory over the Channel Islanders back in August. Totally dominant throughout, strikers Jay May and Danny Parish found the net either side of an own goal by Glyn Dyer midway through the second-half.
Guernsey arrived with only one win in 14 matches, this coupled with only two clean sheets all season suggested it was always going to be tough against a buoyant United side sitting in 4th place in the table.
The Sarnians goalkeeper Callum Stanton was a busy man throughout the match, tipping a good effort from Jake McIntyre round the post for a corner-kick, before Parish saw a chance go narrowly over the crossbar, then May was off target.
In the 13th minute the visitors really should have opened the scoring, but Sam Mott was able to prevent a rasping effort from Dave Rihoy finding the target. Then with the ball still live a pass from Carlos Canha found Liam Mahon, but he fluffed his lines when he lit rip from close-range only to see the ball glance the outside of the crossbar.
It was the only real scare for the hosts during the opening period, who duly took the lead after 24 minutes, when May neatly headed home from a Parish cross, with the goal very much reminiscent of a Dave Arter set up from Jeff Ross from the mid-nineties.
May was prevented from adding a second goal when Stanton tipped a firm header over the bar, Parish with a stooping low header went close, before the former found the net, only to be ruled offside.
The visitors worked hard to try and repel the threat down the right and left-flanks from marauding full-backs Jerald Aboagye and McIntyre. But the crosses kept coming in, Stanton had to peddle back to palm away a shot from Parish from under the crossbar, before the overworked keeper denied May once more.
Three minutes before the break a perfectly timed slide-tackle by Charlton Gauvin on the livewire Parish, ensured that the Nuts & Bolts went into the break with just a one goal lead.
The second-half opened with half-time substitute William Fazakerly thwarted by a good save by Mott, which prevented an equaliser. From the resultant corner-kick the ball fell to Rihoy on the edge of the box, but his powered rising shot was a fraction too high.
Normal service was soon resumed with United pumping in crosses to the head of May, who on another day could have bagged a hat-trick. This time in in 53rd minute his header went straight into the hands of a grateful Stanton, who moments later dived bravely at the feet of Parish in a one-on-one.
May then saw a headed effort blocked by the defenders, before poking the rebound back towards goal, but Stanton was there again to prevent a second.
But with United knocking on the door, the lead was doubled when McIntyre burst down the left-wing to whip in a dangerous cross into the six-yard box. Guernsey got into a right old mess though, with two defenders just yards from the goal seeing Dyer only able to divert the ball into his own net.
A third goal was added when Parish beat the offside trap to calmly slot the ball beyond an advancing Stanton to match the 3-0 victory early in the campaign. The goal took his tally to 18 and now beyond Sam Corne as top scorer for the season, in what is just his 21st appearance of an impressive debut season with the club.
Before the final whistle blew, a fourth goal nearly came, but Trey Williams poked a shot wide, then in the third added minute McIntyre blasted over the bar.
It was a comfortable and straight forward win for United who remain 4th in the table, but they face a tough April finish to the season in their bid to host a home play-off tie.
Next up is a visit to near neighbours Hythe Town next weekend, before a trip to champions elect Cray Wanderers in a fortnight, with the Nuts & Bolts next at home on Good Friday when VCD Athletic visit in a 3 p.m kick-off.
Match Reporter Kevin Hall
Sam Mott Jerald Aboagye Jake McIntyre Lee Prescott (off 82) Afolabi Coker Mohamed Kamara Sam Corne Bode Anidugbe Jay May (off 69) Danny Parish Toby Ajala (off 60)
Trey Williams * (on 69) Josh Wisson * (on 82) Laurent Mendy * (on 60) Kundai Munyama Clark Woodcock
Callum Stanton Tom De La Mare (of 70) Jamie Dodd Thomas Dodds Frank Tobin Liam Mahon Glyn Dyer Dave Rihoy Charlton Gauvin (off 46) Carlos Canha Matt Loaring (off 66)
Keanu Marsh * (70) William Fazakerley * (on 46) Sebastian Skillen * (on 66)
We kick off at 1pm here at Homelands!
Early kick off at Homelands this weekend!
Lots of great goals last month but Danny’s spectacular run and finish claims accolade.
Katie Rumble reports.
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