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We bring you this feature after many a fan has reflected on happenings at Essella Park, the football stadium of Ashford Town from 1930 to 1987.
“That’s where my dad first took me to watch a football match”, is a very frequently quoted phrase among fans. This is then quickly followed by a fondly remembered item such as the refreshments, the stands, the entrance, the lighting pylons, in fact any item that gels itself into a young boy or girl’s memory box.
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Ashford Town say goodbye to Essella Park with 3 years of ground sharing at Folkestone to follow, before arriving at Homelands.
Ashford Town 0 – Dorchester Town 0
It was a day of both celebration and sadness as promoted Ashford Town ended 56 years at Essella Park after a 0-0 draw with champions Dorchester Town in front of a bumper 1306 crowd.
With both sides assured of promotion, it was just a case of who would end as the champion side, in the end, despite having the better of the chances, the home side couldn’t find a goal which would have seen them leap frog over the visitors into top spot.
Dorchester showed plenty of composure and possession showing just why they have had such a good season, but in truth on the day, they failed to create any real chances that threatened Warren Scott in the Ashford goal.
The first real chance came on seven minutes when 24 goal, Darren Hare fired over from 25 yards, then after a cagey half-hour Paul Giles fired wide of the target, after good work by striking partner Hare.
Giles was presented with another opportunity just after the break, after good work by John Barton, but the shot was deflected en route to keeper Martyn Jones, who responded with a good save. A Steve Luckett corner found the head of outstanding defender John Barrow, but the ball sailed wide of the target. Shortly afterwards Carlton Wynter presented Giles with another chance, only for the shot to go wide. Dorchester held firm as the game drifted towards a conclusion, although a final chance did fall to Barrow who was put through by Luckett, but again Jones reacted well with a good save.
In the end it was to remain at 0-0 and so Dorchester were crowned champions on 77 points, with Town just one point behind, whilst Woodford finished in third place on 72 points. It had been a great turnaround from the previous season for the top three, as the champions had finished rock bottom on just 23 points and some 15 points adrift of Andover, whilst Ashford and Woodford had also finished in the bottom six.
Ashford Town line up – Warren Scott, Dave Lee (Nicky Sparks), Peter McRobert, Tony Macdonald, John Barrow, John Barton, Steve Luckett, Andy Blondrage, Darren Hare, Paul Giles, Carlton Wynter
Referee – Norman Leslie Attendance – 1306
Report By Kevin Hall
We would like to thank Alan and Kevin Hall for their contributions and helping to make this ‘Remember When…’ feature possible.
If you can shed some more light on to Ashford’s past, send us your story in your own words and add to the flavour of this well thought of and loved iconic piece of Ashford history. Pictures are not compulsory but they are always helpful in showing just what Essella Road was really like.We have a stock of aging photo’s to make another edition but any offer of different views would be most welcome in order to make this feature as memorable as we can for those supporters who still have Essella Park in their fondest of memories. Email us here
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