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Corinthian 27/2/16 Drew 1-1 (Ashford win 4-2 on penalties)

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 27th February 2016

United leave it late before progressing to Senior Trophy final after 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory

Match Stats

Date: Sat 27 Feb 2016

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Kent Senior Trophy

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 1-1 (Ashford win 4-2 on penalties)

Score (HT): 0-1

Referee: Isaac Searle

Assistants: Nicholas Fruin & Steve Martin

Bookings:

Ashford:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Teams: ASHFORD UNITED
George Kamurasi
Luke Cuthbert
Charlie Dickens
Jack Healey (off 75)
Mikey Dalton
Pat Kingwell
Ryan Palmer
Gary Clarke (off 54)
Chris Saunders
Paul Booth
Tasar Hassan (off 54)

Substitutes (used *)
Tom Fagg * (on 75)
Jon Pilbeam
Shaun Welford * (on 54)
George Savage
Ben Davisson * (on 54)

CORINTHIAN
Dan Bygrave
Josh Gilbert
Alex Billings
Jack Bath
Marcus Evans
Ryan Sawyer
Jordan Campbell (off 89)
Jamie Billings
Luke Tanner
Oscar Housego (off 83)
Josh James (off 73)

Substitutes (used *)
Adam Cooper * (on 89)
Connor Johnson * (on 83)
Michael Hagan * (on 73)
Michael Golding
Chris Cowdrey


Attendance: 220

Ashford United have a habit of leaving it late this season in cup football and did so once again, when Paul Booth popped up in injury time to equalise for the hosts in the semi-final of the Kent Reliance Kent Senior Trophy.

It took the 39-year old to 25 goals for the season, but more importantly meant the tie against Corinthian, at a biting cold Homelands went to a penalty shoot-out after finishing in a 1-1 draw.

There was further heartbreak for gallant Corinthian, who then saw their hopes of a place in the final go to the Nuts & Bolts, who progressed 4-2 after penalties.

Corinthian can certainly count themselves unlucky to be knocked out, having taken the lead in the 50th minute through Josh James.

Ashford went close straight from the kick-off, when Ryan Palmer burst down the left-wing but a visiting defender got a vital header on the ball under pressure from Booth, with just 15 seconds gone.

It always promised to be an even contest with the sides lying in third and fourth place respectively in the Southern Counties East League.

United had Mikey Dalton to thank when he cleared off the line in the 23rd minute, before Booth went close shortly afterwards, whilst Palmer curled one just wide of the target.

The hosts play was generally good in the opening period, but despite their ascendancy rarely tested visiting custodian Dan Bygrave, with too many passes going astray all too frequently.

Pat Kingwell saw a header loop onto the crossbar, then the visitors cleared off the line twice in quick succession as Booth again went close.

George Kamurasi then pulled off a terrific save, diving low to his left to thwart James and push the ball out for a corner, moments later Luke Cuthbert tackled well as Jordan Campbell charged into the penalty box.

Ashford were made to pay for the missed chances when five minutes into the second-half James ran onto to a loose ball to fire past Kamurasi.

From this point the game got a tad feisty, with a rash of yellow-cards brandished by referee Isaac Searle with Jack Bath and James Billings both going into the book in the space of a minute, whilst Chris Saunders for United was lucky to escape with a card after a two quick-fire healthy challenges.

For United Jack Healey and debutant Ben Davisson soon followed into Mr Searle’s notebook as the game became really scrappy, with little cohesion shown by either side.

James then missed a golden chance to double the lead in the 59th minute but contrived to fire wide with an open goal at his mercy.

Ashford finally tested Bygrave, with Welford letting rip from the edge of the box, but the visiting keeper showed strong hands to dive to his right-hand side and push the ball out for a corner.

Charlie Dickens was then in the right place at the right time to clear off the line after a decent strike by Luke Tanner. Ashford then pressed to get back into the contest with Welford guiding the ball into the path of Luke Cuthbert, but looking for his first goal since November 2013, the defender shot straight at Bygrave.

Then just as it looked as if Ashford would lose a cup tie for the second Saturday running, Palmer floated in a perfect cross, which despite Bygrave getting a hand on the ball, the header from Booth was too powerful, as the clocked reached the 92nd minute.

With no extra-time being played, the tie went straight to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out, with Booth scoring the opening spot kick for Ashford, whilst Connor Johnson followed suit for Corinthian.

Ashford duly converted their next two penalties taken by Tom Fagg & Palmer, whilst Kamurasi kept out Michael Hagan’s effort, before Alex Billings hit the target.

New boy Davisson – the 46th player to appear this season – saw his penalty saved by Bygrave, whilst Kamurasi pulled off a neat save diving to his right to keep out Bath.

Welford then fired the ball home to give Ashford a 4-2 win on penalties and keep up United’s 100% success rate in shoot-outs, having won all four that they have now been involved in.

The Nuts & Bolts having previous been successful via penalties in the same competition, en-route to the final in 2013-14 over Erith Town and Phoenix Sports respectively.

Previous to that in 2011-12 they had secured a penalty shoot-out victory at the Homelands in the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield versus Staplehurst Monarchs, during their inaugural season of formation.

The Nuts & Bolts will line up in the final against reformed Sheppey United of the Kent Invicta League with the final scheduled for Sunday April 10th at The Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall