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Ashford United’s hopes of a top three finish took a blow, when they travelled to near neighbours Hythe Town, but it was the Cannons who were victorious by a margin of 3-1, in a reverse of the score at the Homelands on the opening day of the season.
The visitors started brightly enough with Danny Parish testing former United goalkeeper George Kamurasi inside two minutes. The hosts had their first opportunity after 13 minutes, but Sid Sollis saw his shot comfortably caught by Sam Mott. Two minutes later Ashford opened the scoring when Kamurasi could only palm away a free-kick which looked destined for the top corner from Parish, but Toby Ajala was first to react and poke the ball home.
Parish then placed another free-kick over the bar, before a swift counter-attack saw Hythe right-back Salvyn Kisitu fire in a low cross, with former United forward Sollis applying the finish on 21 minutes. Afolabi Coker saw a header saved by Kamurusi, before another breakaway down the right-flank for Hythe ended with a stretching Keiron Campbell just unable to get a touch on a neat ball from Sollis.
United struggled to cope with the fast pace of the hosts down the right and how they could have done with the watching left-back Tom Carsle (now Cray Wanderers) still being with the club. Another pass flashed across the box down the right from Zak Ansah, but it remained level at the break after Parish was unlucky to see a shot on the turn hit the underside of the crossbar.
The second period opened with Kamurusi saving a decent effort from Mohammed Kamara, before Jake Mcintyre scuffed a shot when well placed. The visitors though were aggrieved on 51 minutes when a clever free-kick routine ended with Jay May stabbing the ball into the roof of the net. But he was harshly adjudged offside by the assistant referee, this despite May being behind centre-back Mitchell Dickenson when the ball was played through.
Hythe having dodged a bullet, then ironically were denied themselves by the flag, when Ansah found the target. A good spell of pressure by the Nuts & Bolts saw them seemingly looking the most likely to score the next goal, but they were wasteful all too often. None more so than after 74 minutes when McIntyre overhit a free-kick into the box from a great position.
Manager Tommy Warrilow then rang the changes with all three substitutes being introduced 13 minutes from time, but this back fired when defensive lapses allowed Sollis to add a second for Hythe on 81 minutes. Ansah nearly made it three when he fired wide, but United’s misery was complete in the 89th minute when an attempted back pass fell to Charlie Webster who duly complete the scoring for the Cannons.
Four games remain starting with a tough trip to runaway leaders Cray Wanderers in the next fixture on Saturday 13th April. Also still play are difficult fixtures at play-off rivals Hastings United on Easter Monday, as well as home games versus VCD Athletic and 5th placed Haywards Heath in the final match of the campaign.
Match Reporter Kevin Hall
Sam Mott Jerald Aboagye Jake McIntyre Lee Prescott Afolabi Coker (off 77) Mohamed Kamara Sam Corne Bode Anidugbe Jay May (off 77) Danny Parish Toby Ajala (off 77)
Josh Wisson * (on 77) Laurent Mendy * (on 77) Trey Williams * (on 77) Kundai Munyama Clark Woodcock
George Kamurasi Salvyn Kisitu Makhosini Khanye Elliott Capel Ollie Rowe Mitchell Dickenson Ryan Palmer Tom Carlton Zak Ansah Sid Sollis (off 90+3) Kieron Campbell (off 70)
Charlie Webster * (on 70) Tom Walmsley * (on 90+3) Jack Smith Alistair Carney (gk)
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