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Sevenoaks Town 14/4/15 Drew 0-0

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 15th April 2015

Frustrated United draw a blank as inspired goalkeeper stands firm

Match Stats

Date: Tue 14 Apr 2015

Kick Off: 7.45pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 0-0

Score (HT): 0-0

Referee: Kane Dempster

Assistants: Aaron Waters & Joe Fox


Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Joe Mant
Adam Cuthbert
Luke Cuthbert
Tom Scorer
Danny Lye (off 88)
Pat Kingwell
Gary Clarke
Michael Phillips
Stuart Zanone
Gary Mickelborough (off 83)
Keiran Byrne (off 70)

Substitutes (used *)
Ollie Finch
Michael Smissen * (on 83)
Jamie Collado
Lloyd Blackman * (on 88)
Liam Whiting * (on 70)

Richard Stroud
Thomas Skelton
Jack Miles
Mark Wallis
Jonathan Lord
Tom Ripley
Stephen Camacho (off 65)
Charlie Munnery
Daniel Powell
Danny Hockton (off 57)
Reiss Powell

Substitutes (used *)
Abraham Eze * (on 57)
Richard Quigley
Gary Stock *(on 65)

Attendance: 195

After the euphoria of ending the unbeaten run of Phoenix Sports at the weekend, any outside hopes Ashford harboured of catching the runaway league leaders are almost certainly now over, after being held to a goalless draw by Sevenoaks Town on a frustrating night at the Homelands.

No one could fault the effort and commitment shown by the Nuts & Bolts, but they just couldn’t get a breakthrough, as the visitors somehow kept them at bay with great defending and a goalkeeper in inspired form.

Ashford did however have their own goalkeeper Joe Mant to thank when he produced a quite brilliant penalty save right on the stroke of half-time, thus keeping home hopes alive of gaining the required victory, but in the end it wasn’t forthcoming.

In the opening ten minutes the visitors spurned a couple of chances, when Charlie Munnery volleyed over the crossbar, whilst Jonathan Lord poked the ball wide of an open goal from a well delivered corner-kick.

Visiting goalkeeper Richard Stroud stood firm to deprive Gary Mickelborough on two separate occasions, Mickelborough then picked out Stuart Zanone with a neat pass, only to see the 43-goal top scorer balloon his shot over the bar by some considerable margin.

Keiran Byrne then tested the keeper, who did well to fingertip his curling effort away for a corner, whilst Gary Clarke shot wide, before another good run by Mickelborough again found Zanone whose effort this time was deflected away.

Then as the half drew to a close, Pat Kingwell clipped the legs of Daniel Powell to concede a penalty, but Mant was to deny the experienced Danny Hockton. There was little wrong with the spot kick from the 36-year old – whose career began way back in 1996 with Millwall – but Mant was equal to the task, diving to his right to cleanly gather the ball.

Early in the second-half Scorer let fly with a crisp shot from 20-yards, which appeared destined for the top corner, only for Stroud to produce another smart fingertip save to keep the scores level.

Scorer who enjoyed one of his best games in an Ashford shirt, was unlucky to see his next effort go narrowly wide after good build up play.

Byrne then wasted a good opportunity with a poorly delivered free-kick, this seemed to affect all those with a dead ball at their feet, as all too often free-kicks and corner-kicks – of which there were plenty – came to nothing.

Scorer in a man of the match performance then set off on another mazy run but again there was no end product, before moments later coming close once more to breaking the deadlock.

Picking up a loose ball midway inside the visitors half, he set off on a great run into the box before rounding the keeper, only to see his goal bound shot cleared off the line.

Realism was now starting to set in, that this was just one of those nights, when despite their best endeavours the Nuts & Bolts couldn’t make their superiority count.

The confirmation of this came when Zanone smashed the ball at Stroud from close range, who responded with another save of note, before from the resultant corner-kick, unmarked substitute Michael Smissen contrived to put his header wide of the post.

The night ended in quite bizarre fashion when Referee Kane Dempster – yes the very same who red carded Liam Whiting against Lingfield, after scoring the goal that wasn’t – booked goalkeeper Stroud for constant time wasting.

But passions were clearly running high through the bones of Lloyd Blackman, who was then dismissed after being shown two yellow cards – for verbal – within 90 seconds of coming on as a substitute in the 88th minute.

The dismissal of the Assistant Manager sparked activity between the two dugouts who confronted each other, Mr Dempster after a delay took no action as Stroud shouted across to him to blow the final whistle.

Eventually after eight minutes of time added he did, thankfully there were handshakes when players and managers left the field, it is after all only a game of football, but one which somehow ended goalless, yet after the dominance by United it is hard to believe quite how it happened.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall