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Deal Town 20/12/14 Won 3-0

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 20th December 2014

League season back up and running with three goals and three points

Match Stats

Date: Sat 20 Dec 2014

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 3-0

Score (HT): 1-0

Referee: Craig Burton

Assistants: Jack Fagg & Simon Jackson


Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Joe Mant
Adam Cuthbert (off 86)
Luke Cuthbert
Michael Phillips
Danny Lye
Pat Kingwell
Gary Clarke
Tom Scorer (off 60)
Stuart Zanone
Darren Marsden
Gary Mickelborough (off 70)

Substitutes (used *)
Michael Smissen
Andy Irvine * (on 60)
Harry Priddle
Lee Winfield * (on 70)
Jordan Harris * (on 86)

Chris Waymark
Luke Biggington (off 57)
Kane Harrington
Alex Coyne
Grant Bagley
Kristin Gregory
Jake Harvey
Andy Miller
Charlie Walsh (off 28)
Dan Miller
Ryan Moore (off 46)

Substitutes (used *)
Ben Munday * (on 57)
Danny Smith * (on 46)
Lee Scott * (on 28)

Attendance: 160

A brace from Stuart Zanone and a strike by Andy Irvine, helped Ashford United to three valuable league points over basement side Deal Town at the Homelands. The visitors though put up a brave fight, but the clinical finishing in the end by the home side, proved the gulf in class between the two East Kent rivals.

United had gone five weeks without a league game, due to a combination of FA Vase progress, postponements and a free week which had seen them slip to 7th place in the table at the start of the day, a win therefore was imperative to revitalise the league campaign.

Ashford were given the perfect start on nine minutes, when Zanone collected a pass from Gary Mickelborough, rounding keeper Chris Waymark to skilfully finish following some nifty footwork and net for the sixth consecutive game from a tight angle.

United were boosted by the arrival of experienced former Maidstone United captain Michael Phillips in the line-up, who took his place in a strong midfield presence alongside Gary Clarke and Darren Marsden. Indeed the 31 year-old whose career started at Gillingham and also lists Worthing, Welling United, Ramsgate, Hastings and this season Cray Wanderers amongst his clubs, was instrumental in the victory, with his neat touches and vision throughout a superb 90 minute debut for the Nuts & Bolts.

On the heavy pitch both sides struggled to a certain degree in the opening half and there few openings to add to the early goal, although Tom Scorer had a flying header which went too high. Then a couple of minutes before the interval Luke Biggington found himself in space and forced Joe Mant to tip the ball over the crossbar.

The second period was a much livelier encounter and Deal who had shocked Ashford by coming back from two goals down to win the league cup encounter between the two at the start of November had chances to draw back level, but were made to rue not being able to convert, when the home side doubled the lead midway through the half.

Dan Miller saw a run into the box thwarted by a last ditch tackle, then he set up Alex Coyne but the big defender headed over the crossbar, whilst Ashford always looked as if they could double the lead with the visitors not surprisingly having shipped seven goals last week, wobbly at the back.

Mickelborough, who is enjoying a good run in the starting XI, forced Waymark into gathering well from a neat shot, then Phillips picked out Marsden, but the shot was poked inches past the post. Zanone then forced the increasingly over worked Waymark into two saves from close range efforts which fairly flew at the keeper, although not sure he knew much about either.

The visitors then fashioned another chance, Grant Bagley curling one round the post, before Ashford added a second on 67 minutes, when substitute Irvine drilled the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and over the line from close range after being set up by Zanone. The goal stood thanks to the eagle eyed Assistant Referee who flagged to indicate that the ball had crossed the line from the thunderous shot.

The second goal was the killer as far as Deal were concerned and they did pretty well not to concede a hatful from that moment particular with Irvine now combining so well with Zanone as the match progressed.

Then on 79 minutes, debutant Phillips, with a pin point pass picked out Zanone on the far side of the box, who showed great composure to round the keeper to slot home for his 14th goal in nine matches and complete the 3-0 score.

Deal almost found what would have perhaps been a deserved goal, but Coyne’s long range shot came back off the post with Mant beaten. Then in the closing moments, it could and probably should have been a hat-trick to the prolific Zanone, but having beaten the offside trap, he got caught in two minds and lost his bearings shooting wide.

The win took United up a couple of places to 5th in the table as they now look forward to what will be an interesting encounter next Saturday in the tenants v landlords clash, against much improved Canterbury City.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall