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Canterbury City 31/3/14 Won 2-0

Match Report by Kevin Hall posted on 1st April 2014

First half G-Force strike to see off old rivals Canterbury City

Match Stats

Date: Mon 31 Mar 2014

Kick Off: 7.45pm

Match Type: Southern Counties East Football League

Venue: Homelands

Score (FT): 2-0

Score (HT): 2-0

Referee: Mike Marsh

Assistants: J Fagg & M Indyk

Bookings:

Ashford:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

:
Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Teams: ASHFORD UNITED
1 Joe Mant
2 Luke Cuthbert
3 Liam Whiting
4 Gary Clarke
5 Ollie Finch
6 Pat Kingwell
7 Dave Cook
8 Sam Fisher
9 Sam Conlon (off 57)
10 Gary Mickelborough (off 63)
11 Ronnie Dolan (off 75)

Substitutes (used *)
12 Keiran Byrne * (on 63)
14 Michael Smissen * (on 57)
15 Ira Jackson * (on 75)
16 Ian Wallace
17 John Harris

CANTERBURY CITY
1 Roddy Hayward
2 Sam Kettle
3 Lee Scott
4 Ben Gorham
5 Steve Lloyd
6 Jermal Dzotsi (off 54)
7 Dan Lawrence
8 Lewis Bennett
9 Lloyd Woolford (off 46)
10 Matt Benstead (off 80)
11 Rob Lawrence

Substitutes (used *)
12 Dan Gonzalez-Bello * (on 46)
14 Alexander Kettle * (on 80)
15 Simon King * (on 54)
16 Liam Hrehorow
17 Sam Staunton


Attendance: 255

Ashford United’s G-Force struck for the second time in March to help them complete the double over Canterbury City by 2-0. Having accounted for Greenwich Borough on the 15th, the same combination of the two Gary’s, Mickelborough & Clarke, struck again as Ashford disposed of a gallant Canterbury City side, to go above Tunbridge Wells once more into 2nd spot in the Southern Counties East League table.

It is 20 years since the two clubs had met in a league clash at the Homelands, having shared the points in a 1-1 draw on Easter Monday 4 Apr 1994 in the Southern League. So it was good to see a healthy 255 attendance for the historic Monday night encounter between the two local rivals, and the crowd certainly weren’t disappointed after an entertaining 90 minutes.

It is fair to say that Ashford dominated the first half and opened the scoring on 15 minutes, when Mickelborough headed home from a pin point cross from Ronnie Dolan, having been denied moments earlier when the post was struck.

The home side continued to press forward and Sam Conlon latched onto a neat flicked header from Dave Cook, but pulled his shot wide of the target. Having dominated the opening half-hour, it came as little surprise when the lead was doubled with Dolan again the provider. Clarke was on hand to slot home for his third in four games, as he made it a dozen for the season, connecting with a perfectly weighted free-kick delivered to his feet inside the six-yard box.

Ashford had further chances, Conlon fired over and Liam Whiting forced Roddy Hayward into a good save just before the break. Then right on the stroke of half-time former Hythe pairing Pat Kingwell and Cook both saw headers just over the top from corner kicks, as Ashford continued to pile on the pressure.

Immediately after the re-start Conlon found himself in a one-on-one with the keeper, but his first touch was lacking and Hayward gratefully collected the ball. Mickelborough then homed in on goal, but Ben Gorham, who enjoyed a fine game at the heart of the City defence, intercepted the ball en-route to goal.

The visitors then upped their game and responded well to the early second-half onslaught, with Joe Mant pulling off a finger-tip save to deny Rob Lawrence, pushing the ball past the post and out for a corner-kick. Lawrence then latched onto the delivery from the resultant corner, to hit a rising shot over the crossbar, as Canterbury started to grow into the game.

In was end to end stuff now and soon substitute Michael Smissen found himself in the box, but surrounded by five maroon shirts, twisted and turned and did well to get any shot in at all, as he pulled the ball wide. Mant then pulled off a terrific save, strong hands needed to parry away a rasping effort from substitute Dan Gonzalez-Bello. Moments later, the home side had Kingwell to thank as he somehow managed to hook the ball off the line to keep the clean sheet intact.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, Dolan who seems to be getting better with each game limped off after being denied by a brave save at his feet from Hayward. The visiting keeper, who had a seven match spell with Ashford at the latter end of last season, then denied his former team mates with a top drawer double save. Clarke let fly with a well controlled shot, which Hayward parried away and as Ira Jackson followed up the rebound, the alert keeper dived to his right to prevent the 17 year-old from opening his United account.

That though wasn’t then end of the heroics for the visiting custodian, as moments later he saved at point blank range to thwart Smissen. Luke Cuthbert, playing very much in the mould of former Homelands legend Andy Morris, then went on an attacking run into the box and in fairness, having done the hard work, probably should have made more of the opportunity.

City put up a brave and gallant fight and as the game reached a conclusion, enjoyed a good spell of pressure, once again working Mant as they forced a succession of corner kicks. The final chance to get on the score sheet went begging, when Simon King, hooked a volley over the bar in stoppage time.

Both sides have had to play numerous games in March after the multitude of postponements and the two sets of teams deserve praise for the entertainment on show. Canterbury could have easily rolled over at half-time, but to their credit didn’t, but in summary, Ashford particularly in light of the first half display were worthy winners. They will now hope that leaders Whyteleafe can contrive to drop a few points, as the season enters the final month.

Match Reporter Kevin Hall