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9/4/17 Cray Valley Paper Mills Won 2-1

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 10th April 2017

Welford's on fire as United lift the Kent Senior Trophy

Match Stats

Date: Sun 9 Apr 2017

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Kent Senior Trophy

Venue: Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone

Score (FT): 2-1

Score (HT): 1-1

Goalscorers (Ashford): Shaun Welford 26, 80

Goalscorers (Cray Valley Paper Mills): Laurence Collins 3

Referee: Ben Bowles

Assistants: Jamie Eacott & Joseph Dann-Pye + Fourth Official Joe Stokes


Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Cray Valley Paper Mills:
Yellow Cards: Enoch Adeji 5, Jamie Wood 37

Red Cards: None


Ashford United

George Kamurasi
George Savage
Frazer Walker
David Botterill
Stuart West
Pat Kingwell
Ryan Palmer
Dan Stubbs (off 70)
Shaun Welford
Jason Goodchild
Rory Hill


Luke Eldridge
Harry Lavender
Adrian Stone (on 70)
Danny Lye
Brandon Williams

Cray Valley Paper Mills

Jordan Carey
Taylor McDonagh
Danny Smith
Jamie Wood (off 71)
Ashley Sains
Laurence Collins
Denzel Gayle
Jason Thompson
Ben Francis (off 82)
Enoch Adeji
Aaron Rhule (off 46)


Steve Springett (on 82)
Ryan Fowler (on 46)
Alastair Gordon (on 71)
Tom Fitzgerald
Tom Youngs

Attendance: 726

Ashford United laid the ghost of finals past as they lifted the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy for the first time thanks to a brace of goals from Shaun Welford, which guided the side to a 2-1 victory over Cray Valley Paper Mills on a baking hot day at Maidstone.

The Nuts & Bolts were the better side for most of the final, but had to recover from the loss of conceding the opening goal from Laurence Collins with just two minutes 20 seconds on the stopwatch.

However the inspirational Welford levelled things midway through the first-half, before a trademark header from the 37-year-old 10 minutes from time settled things in favour of the favourites and current Southern Counties East League leaders.

The fans hard hardly settled into their seats when the Millers struck first blood in just the third minute of the contest when Collins fired home after United had failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.

Jason Thompson dinked a lovely ball into the penalty area which found Jamie Wood, the ball made its way to Collins who neatly placed the ball into the net from around 10-yards out, to stun the crowd into silence.

Having lost 12 months ago to Sheppey United on penalties after a dour 0-0 draw and also 0-4 to Beckenham Town (2013-14) it certainly wasn’t the start the majority in the 726 crowd had hoped for.

Ashford took around 20 minutes to get going but then started to grow into the game with Welford twice going close to restoring parity, when he fired past the post before guiding a header narrowly wide from a delightful Dave Botterill cross.

But with 26 minutes gone, Welford muscled his way into the box to then slip the ball past the advancing Jordan Carey to make it 40 for the season for the big Geordie.

Further chances fell to Welford who was a menace to the Millers, whilst Pat Kingwell with a marauding run forward set up Jason Goodchild only to see the latter narrowly miss the target.

In the 37th minute George Kamurasi had to be alert when a counter-attack saw Thompson find Aaron Rhule, but the Ashford number one raced from his line to use all his body to win the contest and pull off a great save.

As the opening period drew to a close, Botterill fed Rory Hill but his shot was off target, before Welford beat Carey to the ball and get his head on a Dan Stubbs cross which sailed just wide from close-range.

Ashford didn’t need any incentive, but during the second-period they were kicking towards the goal packed by Ashford supporters. However with the heat understandably taking its toil there were fewer clear cut chances as the game wore on.

Ashford saw skipper Stuart West, who was the man of the match, produce a timely block to thwart Enoch Adeji, then Denzel Gayle flashed a ball right across the six-yard box which just evaded an onrushing Ben Francis.

On the hour-mark Carey pulled off a terrific save to deny Hill whose shot from 22-yards looked destined for the top right-hand corner, but Carey tipped the ball past the post and out for a corner-kick.

After 67 minutes the Millers wasted a free-kick from the edge of the box when Thompson hit the ball into the five man wall, he later let rip from 35-yards but the effort was wide.

Whilst the Sponsors picked out West as the top dog, any of the back four of West, Kingwell, George Savage & Frazer Walker were equal to anything the Millers tried to throw at them.

With game seemingly heading towards extra-time Welford added his second after a great move down the right-hand side had created the opportunity.

Ryan Palmer weaved his magic to breeze past his marker, a lay off to Savage followed before a quite brilliant cross. The delivery drifted over Carey to reach Welford, who neatly guided his header home into the open net to notch his 41st of the campaign and set off wild celebrations amongst the crowd.

Cock-a-hoop Ashford had further chances in the closing stages, with Stone going close, before Palmer and Hill combined well only to see Hill’s effort saved by Carey, before Stone poked the rebound wide.

Seemingly perennial runners-up, this time United though weren’t to be denied their first piece of silverware, which they hope will quickly double as they bid to be crowned league champions at the end of the month.

The final whistle saw West first collect the man of the match award, before lifting the trophy to bring scenes of joyous celebrations at the Gallagher Stadium, which were in sharp contrast to those witnessed 12 months ago.