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AFC Croydon Athletic 22/8/15 Won 2-1

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 23rd August 2015

Dawn of a new era starts with a win

Match Stats

Date: Sat 22 Aug 2015

Kick Off: 3.00pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Mayfield Road, Thonton Heath

Score (FT): 2-1

Score (HT): 0-0

Referee: Alex Stacchini

Assistants: Joshua Howard & Ross Taylor

Bookings:

Ashford:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Teams: ASHFORD UNITED
Dean Ruddy
Adam Cuthbert
Luke Cuthbert
Nathan Paul
Danny Lye (off 65)
Pat Kingwell
Paul Booth (off 55)
Michael Phillips
Stuart Zanone
Shaun Welford
Michael Yianni (off 81)

Substitutes (used *)
Jamie Collado * (on 65)
Ellis Green * (on 55)
Ton Browne * (on 81)
Josh Brown
Nick Luen (gk)

AFC CROYDON ATHLETIC
Daniel Burnett
Enzo Benn
Chris Head
Jordan Martin
Jack Higgins
Bradley Wilson
Josh Smith (off 66)
Danny Cumber (off 66)
Lee Jansen (off 73)
Jack Guilford
Raheem Sterling-Parker

Substitutes (used *)
Louis Blake * (on 73)
Eddie Walker * (on 66)
Javoun Henry * (on 66)
Louis Chin


Attendance: 93

The new era under Danny Lye started with a hard fought 2-1 victory at AFC Croydon Athletic to at least banish some of the memories of the Emirates FA thumping at Cray Valley last Saturday, which ultimately led to the departure of Manager Paul Chambers.

Events have moved at a pace since the immediate appointment of Lye to his first managerial post, with many comings and goings both in the playing and coaching staff, more details of these will no doubt follow from the club administrators in due course.

Matches are never easy at Mayfield Stadium, many supporters still unable to forget the last visit and the 7-0 mauling the Rams inflicted on Ashford Town in Ryman League on the opening day of season 2009-10.

Both sides have folded and re-formed since that time and both harbour ambitions to return to the level they once played at, it was therefore pleasing to travel home from Thornton Heath this time with the points in the bag.

It would be fair to say that the playing conditions were tough with the mercury touching 30 degrees, whilst the pitch was greatly in need of a cut, added to which the ball was bouncing around on the bumpy surface like a basketball , the match was therefore not easy on the eye.

The opening half was goalless, the highlight for the away support being a great run down the right by Adam Cuthbert in the 34th minute, who after beating his man about three times delivered a neat cross, but Stuart Zanone was unable to make good contact on the ball.

However less than 60 seconds after the re-start, Paul Booth re-acted quickest to a slack back header from Chris Head and beat goalie Dan Burnett with a neat little dink over his head to put the Nuts & Bolts one up.

It was though a short lived lead, the home side drawing level from the penalty spot after an infringement inside the box, which was duly converted by the lively Raheem Stirling-Parker.

There is plenty of experience in the Ashford line-up but the introduction of debutant Ellis Green provided some younger legs to run at the defence. The impact was almost instant when the former Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet player flew down the right wing, but his delivery just eluded Zanone.

Green though was instrumental in what proved to be the winning goal after 69 minutes after finding Michael Phillips, whose legs were then clipped inside the penalty area by Eddie Walker and Referee Alex Stacchini had little hesitation in pointing to the spot, for the second time of the afternoon.

Burnett who had saved two spot-kicks in the Rams 3-0 win over Erith and Belvedere on the opening day of the season, this time had to pick the ball out from the back of the net being well beaten by Shaun Welford who drilled his shot low and hard to make the score 2-1. The 36 year-old, the second player to score with a spot-kick on his debut after Booth did likewise in the previous league victory at Hollands & Blair.

The Rams had chances to draw level in the closing twenty minutes, although their radar was decidedly off the compass, no more so than Lee Jansen who was subbed immediately after a woeful effort at goal.

Goalkeeper Dean Ruddy between the sticks for Ashford since Joe Mant departed to Hythe Town was alert to tip the ball over the crossbar from Stirling-Parker as the home side won a succession of corners.

Towards the end even more experience was added in the shape of 38 year-old Dover Athletic legend and former Ashford player Tony Browne with 66 appearances for the Nuts & Bolts, when he replaced the hard working Michael Yianni for the final nine minutes.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall