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Tunbridge Wells 14/3/15 Won 4-2

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 14th March 2015

Ashford ease to 4-2 victory over Tunbridge Wells at the Homelands

Match Stats

Date: Sat 14 Mar 2015

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 4-2

Score (HT): 2-0

Referee: Louise Saunders

Assistants: Don Macleod & Tim Amans


Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Joe Mant
Liam Walsh
Luke Cuthbert
Adam Cuthbert (off 78)
Danny Lye
Pat Kingwell
Gary Clarke
Michael Phillips
Stuart Zanone
Darren Marsden (off 90+4)
Liam Whiting (off 90+8)

Substitutes (used *)
Gary Mickelborough * (on 78)
Michael Smissen * (on 90+4)
Lee Winfield
Lloyd Blackman
Jordan Harris * (on 90+8)

Steve Lawrence
Rory Head
Tom Bryant
Tom Davey
Andy Boyle
Perry Spackman
Dane Luchford
Jake Beecroft (off 64)
Chris Seenan (off 57)
Joe Fuller
Lee Radford

Substitutes (used *)
Jack Goldsmith
Tolly Beatson
Ian Parsons * (on 64)
Paul Booth * (on 57)
Richard Sinden

Attendance: 225

Ashford United remain third in the Southern Counties East League after easing to a 4-2 victory over Tunbridge Wells, thus moving six points clear of a side that they have now beaten six times in a row over the past two seasons.

First half headers from Adam Cuthbert and Pat Kingwell gave United a 2-0 advantage at the break, but despite the Wells twice reducing the deficit in the second half, Michael Phillips and Stuart Zanone with two brilliant superb finishes, saw Ashford win for the 10th consecutive league match.

There was little action of note in the opening exchanges, until the younger of the two Cuthbert brothers headed home from close range on 18 minutes. The visitors had been unable to clear the ball from a corner-kick, which resulted in the ball pinging around the penalty area, being blocked at least twice before the versatile ever present Cuthbert, rose to nod home for his fourth goal of the campaign.

The goal sparked the game into life with Ashford going close through Darren Marsden, whilst visiting keeper Steve Lawrence stood firm to deny Liam Whiting and top scorer Zanone.

The former enjoyed a fine game and there is little doubt Ashford have missed his presence when unavailable, as he gives that something extra to the team. Indeed it was a well delivered Whiting corner which found the head of Kingwell to double the lead after 27 minutes as Ashford continued to dominate proceedings.

The left-foot of Whiting was again involved sending in a perfect delivered free-kick, but Zanone with a free header, could only glance the ball wide of the target.

However Wells having looked off colour in the opening 45 minutes in front of goal, pulled one back on 49 minutes, as Ashford for the second consecutive week were once again slow to come out of the blocks after the half-time interval.

A route one pump up field from Tom Bryant found Dane Luchford who raced through to slot the ball past Joe Mant, as the visitors looked to claw their way back into the contest.

However five minutes later United restored the two goal cushion with once again a static Wells defence guilty of failing to clear a corner-kick, the ball then falling to Phillips who with the outside of his right boot, dinked a neat chip over the sprawling Lawrence into the net for 3-1.

But within two minutes the visitors again pulled a goal back, which really came out of nothing, as this time it was Ashford who were at sixes and sevens in defence. Referee Louise Saunders waving play on and ignoring complaints from United that the goal shouldn’t stand, as former Folkestone Invicta forward Luchford grabbed his second of the afternoon easily tapping in from close range.

Luchford though was denied an equalising goal for the visitors moments later when Mant thwarted him with an important save with his feet, after he had been set up by and fellow former Invicta striker Paul Booth.

Zanone having gone close to adding a fourth then scored what proved to be the final goal of the afternoon after 72 minutes to make it 4-2, the action having started when the outstanding Kingwell brought the ball out of defence and into attack to combine well with Phillips.

Top scorer Zanone then raced through to beat the offside trap and with the ball bouncing high and spinning behind him from the awkward bounce, swivelled and turned to exquisitely find the net and add yet another brilliant finish to his glowing CV.

It was sublime lob of such individual brilliance and skill that it would be repeated numerously had it been in front of the TV cameras.

This fourth goal completely knocked the stuffing out of the Wells who perhaps have an eye on the forthcoming second leg of the league cup semi-final clash v Beckenham in midweek to look forward to.

The contest though did see nearly ten minutes of added time, after Mant received a cut face from a the boot of former Ashford Town man Joe Fuller in 89th minute, which saw the frustrated Fuller collect a yellow card for his troubles.

On the day Ashford were good value for the win which helped cement third place in the table, but with little chance of catching runaway leaders Phoenix, the healthy rivalry between United and the Wells will be resumed in 2015-16 and that is something to look forward to.

Having beaten the sides in fifth place and fourth place respectively in the last two weeks, Ashford next welcome the side in second place, Erith & Belvedere to the Homelands on Tuesday evening, looking to claw back the seven point advantage that the Deres have over them.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall