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MATCH REPORT

SCEFL Premier Div

10/12
Ashford United
2
v
0
Cray Valley PM
               

Ashford United maintained their slim advantage over Crowborough Athletic at the top of the SCEFL table with this 2-0 win over Cray Valley PM at Homelands on Saturday.
With confidence high after the 7-0 win over Erith Town in midweek, the Millers set about the Nuts and Bolts and home keeper George Kamurasi had to make a save inside the first minute as Jason Thompson fired in a shot from the edge of the penalty area. Ben Francis then played in Denzel Gayle after some good hold up play but Gayle scuffed his shot wide of the target as the Millers started brightly. The home side gradually quelled the early pressure and started to make inroads themselves and Rory Hill’s powerful shot deflected off Ashley Sains for a corner.

With both teams looking sharp and posing goal scoring threats, Ainsley Everett drove a shot narrowly wide of the home goal before Sains again got in the way of a Shaun Welford strike, amid claims of the use of an arm, but the referee was not convinced and allowed play to continue. Sains was again involved, this time at the other end of the pitch as he headed over the top of the goal from a Thompson free kick before Jordan Carey produced a flying save to tip over a Hill pile-driver that was heading for the top corner. Just after the half hour mark, the Millers were convinced they should have been awarded a penalty kick as Everett broke into the home area. Two defenders converged on the Millers midfielder and as he pushed the ball past their combined challenge, Everett went down after being clipped on the leg.
To the amazement of everybody in the ground, the referee waved play on as Kamurasi picked up the loose ball at his post!

Luke Eldridge fired an angled shot straight at Carey soon after before the Nuts and Bolts took the lead in the 37th minute. Ryan Palmer tried his luck from 20 yards out and his shot took a deflection off Sains to completely deceive Carey in the Millers goal who tried in vain to reach the spinning ball but he couldn’t prevent the ball finding the back of the net.
The Millers responded though and Denzel Gayle’s shot was deflected wide before a Thompson free kick clipped off the outside of the defensive wall for a corner which couldn’t be taken as the half time whistle blew.

The second half continued at a fast pace with the home side forced to counter attack and Carey was again at his best to push away a Welford header from a corner kick before Everett headed wide from a Gayle cross as the match swung from end to end. The Millers worked the ball around the home side’s defence before Everett stung the hands of Kamurasi with a low shot that was heading into the corner of the goal before Carey again excelled, pushing a Michael Phillips shot around his post. Zac Byron saw a shot deflect just over the top of Kamurasi’s goal with the keeper flat footed before the midfielder was strangely cautioned for a challenge in midfield when it looked for all to see that the foul should have gone the other way.

And that decision was to prove costly for the Millers as from the resulting free kick, the home side increased their lead. The ball fell to Hill on the edge of the area and after play as allowed to continue as he appeared to be fouled, Palmer collected the loose ball to slot home from 12 yards which prompted wild celebrations from the home team as all 11 players huddled together in the corner of the ground. Kamurasi foiled substitute Tom Fitzgerald as he looked to latch onto Byron’s through ball before McDonagh drove a shot wide of the goal from 18 yards after collecting Everett’s pass as the Millers continued to impress going forward. With the clock running down though, the home side were happy to sit back and see out the match, clearing their lines without any fuss and they almost grabbed a third in the dying seconds as Welford’s powerful strike on the break was pushed around his post by the impressive Carey.

Ashford will be more than happy with this result that keeps them at the top of the pack in a close and keenly contested race for the title. The Millers meanwhile will feel a little hard done by as their 4 game winning streak comes to an end but have a quick opportunity to respond as they make the trip to Rede Court Road on Wednesday evening for their rearranged League Cup tie with Rochester United.
Come On You Millers