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20/8/16 Three Bridges Won 1-0

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 22nd August 2016

Welford goal ensures FA Cup progress

Match Stats

Date: Sat 20 Aug 2016

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: FA Cup

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 1-0

Score (HT): 0-0

Goalscorers (Ashford): Shaun Welford (48)

Referee: Joshua Howard

Assistants: Paul Agboola & Phillip Dunkley

Bookings:

Ashford:
Yellow Cards: Stuart West (36)

Red Cards: None

Three Bridges:
Yellow Cards: Mitchell Casselman (14), Jamie Crellin (24), Ben Godfrey (90+2)

Red Cards: None

Teams:

Ashford United

George Kamurasi
George Savage
Charlie Dickens
Tom Michelson
Stuart West
Luke Cuthbert
Michael Phillips (off 53)
Ben Davisson
Shaun Welford (off 88)
Luke Eldridge (off 77)
Rory Hill



Substitutes

Mikey Dalton (on 53)
Brett Ince
Paul Booth (on 77)
Danny Lye
Owen McCleod (gk)
Josh Woolley (on 88)

Three Bridges

Martin Grant
Steve Sargeant
Hakeem Adelakun
Tom Howard-Bold (off 74)
Callum Donaghy
Jamie Crellin
Stefon Hayles (off 52)
John Lansdale
Devon Fender
Tony Garrod (off 48)
Mitchell Casselman



Substitutes

Ben Godfrey (on 52)
Dan Mobsby
Mark Pulling
Michael Wilson
Allan Tait (on 48)
Anthony Oleka (on 74)
Keiron Thorp

Attendance: 225

The predatory instincts of Shaun Welford helped Ashford to a 1-0 victory in the Emirates FA Cup preliminary round at home to Three Bridges, as United reached the first qualifying round for the first time.

Last seasons 37-goal top scorer struck early in the second-half, giving the Nuts & Bolts a deserved win over Isthmian (Ryman) League South opposition, as the side made it four wins out of four with no goals conceded thus far this season.

Ashford ran out worthy winners on the day, proving good value for the win over their higher ranked opponents, the performance highlighted by another solid performance, this despite the absence of Pat Kingwell and Ryan Palmer.

Luke Cuthbert ever present in all ten FA Cup matches that United have played over the past five seasons, wearing the vacant number six shirt in place of the holidaying Kingwell.

In a fast-paced encounter, United went forward with purpose as once again opponents were tormented by the speed of Rory Hill, the blustery conditions though made life difficult throughout the 90 minutes.

On 14 minutes referee Joshua Howard did well to spot a deliberate dive in the penalty area and rightly yellow-carded visitors Mitchell Casselman in his bid to con the officials.

The offender then hooked a shot wide, before Welford tried an attempted volley, following good work by Hill down the right-wing.

Youngster Luke Eldridge – in his first full start after two substitute appearances –warmed the hands of goalkeeper Martin Grant, who managed to parry his well struck shot away.

Then on 25 minutes, following a booking to Jamie Crellin, Welford saw a powerful header tipped onto the crossbar by Grant, the home number nine having been picked out by a pin-point Michael Phillips free-kick.

An alert George Kamurasi with a quick throw found Hill, who ran the length of the pitch before being denied by Grant. Shortly afterwards Ashford’s custodian reacted well, tipping a header from Callum Donaghy over the bar and out for a corner-kick.

Then fast off his line, the home keeper did enough to put off Devon Fender, who could only poke the ball wide of the target, with Kamurasi having the better of Bridges striker in a one-on-one.

Ashford ended the first period strongly, Charlie Dickens setting off down the left, to fire the ball into the area, but Eldridge’s header went narrowly wide, before Welford shot off target.

Continuing where they left off after the break Crellin hooked away a goal bound Welford header in the 47th minute. The big Geordie though wasn’t to be denied for long, when he latched onto a loose ball, finding the net with a neat left-foot shot less than 30 seconds later.

The visitors were now rocking at the back and were struggling to negate the attacking runs of Hill, who then tip-toed past two defenders before being thwarted by a timely block.

Ashford always looked the stronger of the two teams, but mindful that the lead was just one goal, Cuthbert and Stuart West were able to clear away any danger when required.

Grant twice prevented a second goal for the hosts, advancing quickly off his line to deny Welford on 75 minutes, then eight minutes later diving well to thwart Hill.

In the closing minutes Ben Davisson scuffed one wide of the goal then for Bridges Alain Tait – in his early days a prolific marksman with Deal Town and Folkestone Invicta many moons ago- hooked a shot over the crossbar.

United successfully wound down the clock to secure the victory and earn £1,500 much needed funds, but now face a tough task to go beyond the first qualifying round, when they travel to Isthmian League Premier League side Burgess Hill Town on 3rd September.

As Ashford Town following three consecutive glorious seasons when reaching the proper rounds of the competition in the mid-nineties, the second qualifying round was last achieved during season 1998-99.

The side losing 0-2 at Grays Athletic at that stage, following dramatic wins over Margate in the preliminary round – after a replay – before a 4-3 victory at Thatcham Town in the first qualifying round.

The victory at Thatcham a real escape, which came, despite being reduced to 10 men for 58 minutes, conceding a penalty to go behind with eight minutes left, before two goals in added time secured the thrilling victory, the late Stuart White scoring the winner.