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22/4/17 Croydon Won 4-0

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 24th April 2017

United on the brink after Shaun Welford hat-tick

Match Stats

Date: Sat 22 Apr 2017

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Sports Arena, Albert Road

Score (FT): 4-0

Score (HT): 1-0

Referee: Joe McKay

Assistants: Val Anekwe & Kevin Howard

Bookings:

Ashford:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Croydon:
Yellow Cards: Jeff Duah-Kessie (20)

Red Cards: None

Teams:

Ashford United

George Kamurasi
Stuart West
Frazer Walker
Jason Goodchild
Richard Avery
Pat Kingwell
Dan Stubbs
Ben Davisson (off 61)
Shaun Welford
Adrian Stone (off 57)
Rory Hill (off 81)



Substitutes

George Savage
Ryan Palmer (on 81)
Matthew Day (on 57)
David Botterill (on 61)
Joe Vines

Croydon

Jeff Duah-Kessie
Veejay Miller
Wes Bartlett (off 82)
Ibrahim Bah
Tolulope Jonah
Jamie McGeoghegan
Reiss Franklin (off 68)
Andy Mott
Kameiko Pope-Campbell (off 81)
Lauris Chin
Harry Brockman



Substitutes

Oscar Hall (on 82)
Anthony Goodger (on 81)
Noir Gordon (on 68)
Kenny Brockman

Attendance: 108

Ashford United stand on the brink of securing promotion to the Isthmian League after easing to a comfortable 4-0 victory at Croydon, following another hat-trick from Shaun Welford and one from Stuart West.

What on paper looked to be a tough challenge, proved to be quite the opposite and was one of the most one-sided games ever witnessed by the travelling Ashford supporters.

The Trams cause though was not helped by not having a regular goalkeeper available and the paucity of attacking instinct displayed by the home side – who only mustered two on-target efforts throughout the match – probably explained by the fact that 33-goal top scorer Jeff Duah-Kessie was the one to don the goalkeeping jersey.

But quite why former Ashford Town Manager John Cumberbatch placed Duah-Kessie between the sticks following his five-goal haul in a 6-2 victory over Erith & Belvedere on Easter Monday all remains a bit of a mystery.

United almost opened scoring with just 18 seconds on the clock, but Welford blasted over the bar after good work from Rory Hill which had created the early opening.

Adrian Stone had several chances to score during a dominate opening period, but his compass was decidedly off the radar after eight minutes, when he lost his bearings in a one-on-one with Duah-Kessie.

Duah-Kessie then gathered a decent effort from Jason Goodchild at the second attempt, before pulling off the save the match by diving to his right to deny a superb volley on the turn from West.

The deserved opening goal soon followed when Duah-Kessie clattered into Welford as the pair went after an akward high bouncing ball on the truly awful bumpy playing surface, which saw an obvious penalty awarded.

Welford brushed himself down to then send the stand-in keeper the wrong way for the opening goal in the 21st minute.

A rare sortie into the Ashford penalty area in the 49th minute from a swift Croydon counter-attack ended with George Kamaurasi racing from his line to deny Laur

Substitute Matthew Day saw a close-range header ping back of the post then moments later Andy Mott did brilliantly to clear a Welford header off the line.

But any nerves United may have had were eased when the lead was doubled from the head of West after 68 minutes.

The goal saw a flurry of activity and the bizarre sight of defender Ibrahim Bah taking over in goal from Duah-Kessie as the pair swapped shirts.

But it was always the visitors who looked likely to score again and this they did with nine minutes remaining when Welford was first to meet a sweet David Botterill delivery to nod home, much to the delight of the joyous travelling support.

The scoring was completed in the third added minute when Welford drilled home into the roof the net from an acute angle to take his tally to 45 and complete his fourth hat-trick of the campaign.

In truth it wasn’t a great spectacle but all that mattered was securing the win and the three points and this was duly achieved.

With Ashford’s vastly superior goal difference over Crowborough Athletic, surely all that is needed in the final match at home to Rochester United is a victory and the dream of the title and promotion will be achieved.