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Erith Town 15/4/14 Lost 0-2

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 16th April 2014

Old boy returns to haunt United as title aspirations decline further

Match Stats

Date: Tue 15 Apr 2014

Kick Off: 7.45pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 0-2

Score (HT): 0-1

Referee: Ricky Adams

Assistants: E Nsang & D Fyfe


Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

1 Jo Mant
2 Luke Cuthbert
3 Liam Whiting
4 Gary Clarke
5 Ben Jordan
6 Pat Kingwell
7 Adam Cuthbert
8 Ronnie Dolan
9 Michael Smissen (off 75)
10 Gary Mickelborough
11 Tom Scorer

Substitutes (used *)
12 Sam Fisher
14 Sam Conlon * (on 75)
15 Jordan Miller
16 Dan Scorer
17 Ira Jackson

1 Steve Phillips
2 Steve Newman
3 Russell Bedford
4 James Holder
5 Danny Akers
6 Alan Matthews
7 Wayne Grizzle
8 Aaron Jeffrey
9 Aaron Firth
10 Kofi Quartey (off 90+3)
11 Lee Conrad

Substitutes (used *)
12 Adriano Lawson
14 Richard Stevens * (on 90+3)
15 Rikki Cable
16 Adam Woodward (gk)

Attendance: 199

Ashford United’s outside hopes of lifting the Southern Counties League title were all but extinguished when former player Aaron Firth, returned to haunt them, by scoring a brace as Erith Town secured the points from their trip to the Homelands with a 2-0 victory.

Ashford must be sick of the sight of the North Kent side, as the league meeting was the fifth between them this season, having never previously met before the start of the campaign. It is fair to say that Erith appear to have the Indian sign over them, Ashford’s only success coming via a thrilling penalty shoot-out in the Kent Senior Cup clash in October. The Dockers having won the two-legged league cup clash in January, then held Ashford to just a point on their home patch , as recently as 10 days ago, when the pair first locked horns in the league.

Ashford looking to keep the pressure on leaders Whyteleafe, started brightly when Michael Smissen was denied by visiting keeper Steve Phillips, it was one of several saves the in form keeper produced throughout the evening. However from that shot, not for the first time recently, Ashford were caught out by a fast breakaway which ended with Firth volleying home from 12 yards, to put the visitors in front in the seventh minute.

At the other end, Jo Mant pulled off a brilliant save to thwart Aaron Jeffrey, before being called into action again to deny Kofi Quartey with an equally fine stop. Phillips then prevented an equaliser when Tom Scorer let fly, as the end to end action continued at a fair pace.

Towards the half-hour mark, Ben Jordan incensed the opposition bench with a wholesome tackle on Jeffrey, despite howls from the visiting management that it was a “leg breaker”, Jeffrey didn’t need the Physio to come on and got up and walked away, without any treatment. We maybe approaching Easter, but it was though a miraculous recovery that even JC would be proud of and took slightly less than three days, about three minutes actually. As the half wore to a close, Ashford came close to restoring parity through Gary Mickelborough and then Pat Kingwell, but on both occasions, their respective volleys were blocked.

Five minutes into the second period, there was a mini flashpoint when Smissen, who enjoyed a fine game ended in a heap in the Erith penalty box, the outcome after a slight melee, was a booking to both himself and Russell Bedford. Smissen continued to be a threat with his neat touches and headers and he was unlucky not to get on the score sheet, as twice in a matter of minutes, Phillips was to prove his nemesis. Quartey then missed a golden chance to double the lead, with an open goal at his mercy he somehow missed the target from just a few yards out.

Ashford were certainly in the ascendancy throughout the second 45 minutes, producing some neat moves, but the end product wasn’t forthcoming and they found it hard to break down a stubborn defence, well marshalled by the tall figure of James Holder.

Chances continued to come and go, Gary Clarke having a rasping volley blocked after neat work by Scorer set him up. Moments later a great delivered corner from Liam Whiting found Kingwell at the back post, but again Phillips was up to the task, tipping his goal bound header over the bar. Then Ronnie Dolan blazed over the crossbar following a neat knock down from Smissen and when Scorer fired wide the last of the chances to grab a point had gone.

There was though time for Erith to add a late second goal, in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Firth was alert to a right old mess up at the back. Mant tried hard to redeem himself but despite his efforts, the ball found the net and so the final score became 2-0 to Erith Town. The mercurial Firth, who struck five times in 19 appearances whilst at United, will probably never get an easier chance throughout his career and gratefully accepted the gift on offer.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall