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SEASON 2007/08

Ryman League - Premier Division
Saturday 18th August 2007
Ashford Town
Ashford Town
4 - 5
AFC Hornchurch
Purdie (o.g.) 26, Wellard 60, Hughes 65, Joseph 67
H/T 1 - 4 Att.: 205
David Lee 19, Garry Cross 23, Kris Lee 40,
Simon Parker 42, 79

Match Report by Tony Middleton 

The M25 on a misty day – clogged traffic lanes, rain. Two hours sheer bliss. Past the protesters at Heathrow, down a soggy A30 and into Stanmore, home of Ashford. Yes, despite there being two Ashfords, neither of them actually play in Ashford, the Kent version playing at Kingsnorth. Hundreds of Urchins made it, swelling the crowd of about 300 and outnumbering the home following, who stood behind the goal at the gasworks end, resplendent in their tangerine and white stripes. Many Urchins wore the new away strip, and as John Purdie led the visitors onto the field, a massive roar of greeting swelled around the miniscule ground. In the background, jumbo jets took off, appearing like huge ghosts through the gloom.
Urchins kicked towards the gasworks end of the ground, Bostock starting the first move with a long upfield pump toward Parker, forcing keeper Burgess to rush out of goal to make the first of many saves. But the home team were quick to force the pace, with Brightly having to drop onto a high swerving shot cum centre from Deegan. Back upfield, and Kris Lee slotted a pass onto Cross, with keeper Burgess again racing out to collect. Ashford could have taken the lead with a piece of slack defending, when Wellard ran through unchallenged and poked the ball over Brightly, and it slowly dropped goalwards and onto the roof of the net.

Urchins were hit by an early injury when McFarlane went down after what appeared to be a routine tackle, and was taken off, with Richard Goddard coming on for his debut. Logie was penalised for hand ball, and Joe Keith’s free kick was played very low into the goalmouth, where Burgess did well to get there first, diving at the feet of Kris Lee to save. By now, Urchins were pressing strongly, and when Parker lobbed the ball over Logie, Cross ran on, but again was foiled by the alert Burgess. Then Kris Lee went clear on the left and found Cross inside, who touched back to Keith and thence out to Glozier, whose cross was well saved by Burgess.

A goal looked likely at every attack and it came when Glozier found Kris Lee, who won a free kick on the left side of the field. The home defence lined up, watching Keith, whose free kicks had caused them considerable problems already. Keith lurked, and DAVID LEE stepped up instead to hammer the ball hard into the net, the noise from the East Side drowning out the jumbo jet that was taking off. Even the Riverside applauded politely.

Less then a minute later, Simon Parker swooped onto a loose ball, beat Burgess with his first time shot, only for the ball to come out off the foot of the post, with Chewins just getting there first to clear. Back again, and Glozier sent over a low cross, and Burgess saved at Kris Lee’s feet. But the second goal soon followed, Mark Janney collecting a pass from Bostock inside his own half, making ground and then touching sideways to Joe Keith, who picked out GARRY CROSS, who carried on, drifted slightly to the left and then fired in left footed shot which screamed into the net.

Kris Lee then turned inside of Chewins and cracked his shot inches wide of the post, but Ashford came back on 26 minutes when they were awarded a dubious free kick on the fight, and the ball was floated over goalwards, where Dale Brightly went down to gather, and allowed the ball to squirm away, where it hit John Purdie and rebounded slowly across the line, the goal being greeted with almost complete silence.

Urchins quickly regained their poise, David Lee sending Parker away, and Simon was tackled by O’Sullivan who conceded the corner, which David Lee played short to Keith, took the return and crossed, where Kris Lee was pulled up for offside, the decision not being greeted all that happily on the terraces. Janney then went speeding along the right wing, and was brought down by Canderton who got away with a yellow card, the incident perhaps looking worse than it really was. Keith swerved the free kick goalwards and Burgess saved well.

But with free kicks being conceded faster than the jumbo jets could take off, yet another was awarded, this time on the left side of the field, a few yards outside the area. Joe Keith lurked, and the home team watched his every move. Keith played the ball short to Parker, took the return, and then swerved the ball goalwards, where Janney touched on for KRIS LEE to finish the move. And two minutes later it was four, with the best goal of the match, a magnificent solo run by SIMON PARKER, who took the ball near the half way line, lobbed the defender, ran on, went slightly to the left, and then hammered the ball into the net. And there was almost a fifth when Keith found Cross and Garry won the corner, which David Lee sent over, and Burgess punched away, and Janney promptly volleyed back again, just over the bar, and into the gasworks behind the goal.

Half time, and the food had run out – and so had some of the home supporters. Sir Gary spotted an American plane taking off in the gloom – how did he know it was American? Must have been left hand drive.

Ashford kicked towards the gasworks in the second half, the rain increased to a gentle downpour, and the wind picked up. And Ashford nearly scored when Baxter raced unmarked through the middle, and Brightly had to race out to kick clear, receiving an injury in the process and needed lengthy treatment, before resuming at what appeared to be half pace. Purdie opened up play at the other end, giving Parker an opening, but although Parker beat Burgess, Chewins was able to run back to head away the goalward lob. And then it was Baxter once again, turning quickly and powering in a shot which Brightly did well to stop. A long run by Janney which started inside his own half ended when Chewins conceded the corner, and Joe Keith’s corner was headed away by Logie.

Ashford pulled a goal back on 60 minutes when RICK WELLARD was allowed to make ground through the middle, without a challenge, and he finished off his run with a low shot, which eluded Brightly and finished up in the net – in fact it finished up outside the net, having gone in and back out again, the goal being greeted with an amazed silence. Back to the other end, and Keith’s free kick – yes, there were a lot of free kicks awarded in the slippery conditions – saw Chewins head out for a corner. Keith took the corner and Wellard cleared. A free kick was then awarded to Ashford about five yards out from the area and on the left side of the pitch. Substitute ROB HUGHES, who had made a marked difference when he came on a few minutes earlier, stepped up and his shot sailed through a packed defence and into the net. Three four and what looked like a second half romp was turning into a nightmare. A corner by Wellard saw Goddard head away well, but the ball was played back again, and another corner resulted, from which ANTHONY JOSEPH, again unmarked, turned and hammered the ball home, to the obvious delight of the home team and their supporters.

Could Ashford turn the match around? No, they could not. Could Urchins save the points? Yes they could. The defence tightened up, and they began to force the pace once again, despite the driving rain and the sliding tackles which seemed to be coming in from all angles. Kris Lee won a corner, Keith took the kick and David Lee saw his piledriver blocked as it sped goalwards. The ball was played back upfield to the very dangerous Coleman, but Purdie tackled and sent Parker away. Down goes Simon, and Keith took the free kick, and Burgess spilled the ball but it was booted away. Michael Brothers came on for Mark Janney, and his first touch was to hit the ball hard goalwards from Keith’s free kick, the ball hitting O’Sullivan and bouncing away.

Another Keith free kick, and Burgess dropped the wet ball, and it was cleared off the line, with a loud East Side handball appeal being ignored by the referee. Then it was Parker once again, from Keith’s through pass, and play was pulled back for what appeared to be offside, only for a free kick to be awarded to the Urchins instead. The ball was pumped into the goalmouth, an enormous scramble followed, Burgess dropped the ball, and SIMON PARKER reacted quickly to turn and slot the ball home from a narrow angle, the ground erupting as hundreds of Urchins celebrated.

Kris Lee then went through and Burgess saved, whilst a minute later Kris Lee tackled to concede a corner at the other end, and was taken off with an leg injury, Andy Tomlinson coming on to clear the corner which Wellard had swerved goalwards. Back came the ball and another corner, again from Wellard, and Brightly punched away, the ball being returned and eventually hammered into the gasworks. Joe Keith almost set up Brothers with another corner kick, but Burgess saved, and then it was Parker who went streaking through, and he rounded Burgess, only for Logie to clear off the line for a corner. Keith took the kick and found Parker, whose shot was narrowly wide. Rick Wellard, who had caused a lot of problems in the second half, had to leave the field with a leg injury following a mistimed sliding tackle, which eared David Lee a yellow card, and the free kick was headed away, and Urchins had deservedly held out in a match which they should really have won comfortably, had it not been for the seven minute lapse in the second half.

Urchins were applauded off the field, by their many supporters, who then embarked on the long journey back down the wet and misty M25. The home supporters appeared somewhat annoyed at the referee, who however had done an excellent job in the very wet and treacherous conditions.

Video Clips by Rob Monger

Team Line Ups
Ashford Town
AFC Hornchurch
Paul Burgess
Dale Brightly
Vinnie O'Sullivan
Jordan Bostock
Jason Chewins
Danny Glozier
Russell Canderton
John Purdie (c)
Adam Logie
Jimmy McFarlane
Ricky Wellard
Joe Keith
Paul Johnson
Garry Cross
Gavin Bamford (c)
Mark Janney
Matt Baxter
Kris Lee
Anthony Joseph
Simon Parker
Darren Deegan
David Lee
Subs.   Subs.
Rob Hughes
Harry Elmes
Scott Todd
Andy Tomlinson
Micky Cook
Amos Foyewa
Jon Coleman
Richard Goddard
Josh Richardson
Michael Brothers

Weather Conditions: Rain
Match Officials: Referee - Mr. Lee Collins, Assistants - Mr. S. Davidson & Mr. T Vovkov
Match duration: F/H 46 mins. 00 secs. S/H 50 mins. 15 secs.

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