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Holmesdale 24/1/15 Won 4-3

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 25th January 2015

Marsden Inspires United into stunning late comeback

Match Stats

Date: Sat 24 Jan 2015

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Oakley Road, Bromley

Score (FT): 4-3

Score (HT): 1-2

Referee: Piotre Zachwieja

Assistants: Tom Vanderpeer & Michael Kent


Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Joe Mant
Adam Cuthbert
Keiran Byrne (off 86)
Liam Whiting
Danny Lye
Pat Kingwell
Gary Clarke
Andy Irvine (off 63)
Stuart Zanone
Darren Marsden
Gary Mickelborough (off 75)

Substitutes (used *)
Tom Scorer * (on 75)
Lee Winfield * (on 63)
Michael Smissen * (on 86)
Luke Cuthbert
Jordan Harris

Jack Rankin
Mel McCann
Stephen Wickes
Mark Axell
James Holder
Greg Barton
Akin Ajose (off 74)
Lee Prescott
Luke Coleman
Rikki Cable (off 88)
Kai Brewster (off 46)

Substitutes (used *)
Mert Varli * (on 46)
Marvin Francis
Ayo Thompson * (on 74)
Aaron Guard * (on 88)
Jack Yerlett

Attendance: 62

24th January 2014 will live long in the memory, perhaps most notably for the shocks in the FA Cup, but it was also the day that Ashford United inspired by Darren Marsden, staged a dramatic late comeback to win a seven goal thriller at Homesdale, after being 3-1 down with just six minutes of the match remaining.

Having been hit for five by Norwich to crash out of the FA Vase in midweek, it looked like being a miserable week for the Nuts & Bolts, until the late drama saw United capture all three Southern Counties East League points.

Early on, Andy Irvine named in the Ashford starting XI for the first time since 8th November was unable to convert two great chances, the home side responded but a looping Akin Ajose header came back off the crossbar. This all before, Stuart Zanone on 15 minutes found the net, wrong-footing Joe Rankin in the home goal from 12-yards, after being set up by Marsden for his 24th goal in Ashford colours.

The lead though didn’t last long as a swift risposte saw The Dalers score twice within three minutes, Rikki Cable restoring parity firing home from a rebound after an initial shot from Kai Brewster had struck the crossbar, almost immediately from the re-start.

Then just two minutes later Cable found himself in space to bamboozle Danny Lye and having turned him inside out, hit a thunderous strike across the penalty area to put the home side into the lead.

The match continued in end to end fashion, Zanone forced a good save from Rankin when he tried to chip from the edge of the box, then former Ashford Town striker Luke Coleman was unlucky, as the post saved Joe Mant who was well beaten.

Five Minutes before half-time the home side fashioned another good attack, but with only the goal at his mercy, Brewster fired badly off target and was duly substituted at the interval.

The home defence were unable to cope with the skill and panache of Marsden who then set up Byrne, but having skipped past two defenders his right foot shot curled wide of the target.

Just before the break, Byrne curled a free-kick into the hands of Rankin, shortly afterwards the keeper advanced well from his goal line to thwart the onrushing Zanone as Ashford searched for an equaliser.

The match saw Ashford collect five yellow cards out of the seven shown in total by Referee Piotre Zachwieja, but in truth the majority were pretty soft, it transpired that an assessor was present which may explain the number of cards brandished.

Irvine who could have bagged a hat-trick, curled a shot wide of the mark, it was his last involvement being replaced by Tom Scorer in a bid to add further pace up front for the visitors after 63 minutes.

By now Gary Mickelborough was getting more involved and his pace was proving unsettling, a teasing ball into the box just eluded the predatory Zanone.

On 73 minutes there was a big moment of controversy when the referee allowed Cable to score from a quickly taken free-kick, after spotting Mant out of position and make it 3-1 to Holmesdale.

However Ashford still sensed they were in the contest as Pat Kingwell surged forward from defence, showing great skill for a big man as he added some beef to the attacking options.

With so many men going forward a counter attack saw Mant only able to get a hand on the ball following a well struck Coleman shot which travelled towards goal, but Liam Whiting did brilliantly to clear the ball away from the goal line. This face saving clearance was to prove vital in the scheme of events that were to follow in the closing minutes of the match.

Then on 84 minutes, with the floodlights at last turned on, the comeback started when United pulled a goal back through the ever dangerous Marsden, after collecting a perfect pass from Kingwell.

With the momentum now behind them ,the Nuts & Bolts drew level three minutes later when substitute Michael Smissen got the vital touch from a great delivered Gary Clarke corner to make it 3-3, as the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

Coleman then thought he had won the game for Holmesdale after pitching a perfect lob over Mant, only to see his celebrations cut short when the Assistant Referee ruled the goal out for offside from the route one punt up field from Rankin, a decision which incensed the home bench who vented some anger towards the match officials.

The game was still not over, as two minutes into added time Marsden showed some neat foot work and grab his second, when he placed the ball into the bottom corner via the post, to complete the comeback and cap a virtuoso performance from the experienced midfielder.

Any Ashford fans who foolishly left earlier will rue their decision to do so, as they will not have witnessed the stunning turnaround, a game as they say is never over till the fat lady sings and this was certainly true today.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall