Ashford & District Sunday Football League
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Author: Ryan Mills, 20/09/20

Brown nets stunner for Fox in 2-1 win over Egerton, while Petto and Briggs star for Aldington as they beat Sandgate 4-2

Premier Division

Brewmaster maintained their 100% winning start to the new season as they came back from going a goal behind to beat Mersham Sports Club 4-1 at Hopes Grove. John Ripley’s side made it two wins from two games and looked the brighter of the two sides in the opening stages but were made to pay for missing a host of early chances when Chris Wilson finished well as Mersham hit their hosts on the counter attacked to go 1-0 ahead midway through the first half. Mersham held onto their lead until the 54th minute when Charlie Sharp equalised for the Brews with his first league goal for two-and-a-half years to draw the hosts level.
Heavy pressure from the home side saw Brewmaster awarded a penalty with twenty minutes left to play, but the usually ever-reliable Gary Mickelborough could only look on as he fired his spot kick over the bar. Mersham had chances themselves to regain the lead but were undone in the final ten minutes as the Brews scored three unanswered goals to go on and claim all three points, first Jack Goldsmith heading in his first ever goal for the club to put them 2-1 ahead, before late strikes by both Piers Fuchter and Bradley Burton made sure of the victory.

Young goalkeeper Lewis Briggs once again impressed as Aldington picked up their first points of the season returning from their trip to Sandgate Saint-Germain 4-2 winners. It was a much-improved team performance from the visitors who have struggled in pre-season and they raced out of the traps going into a 2-0 lead inside the opening seven minutes. Stephen Cowell headed Aldington in front at the near post from Ryan Petto’s corner kick, before just moments later Petto was again the provider as his through-ball set up young striker Jack Price to round the home goalkeeper to double their lead. Sandgate pulled a goal back midway through the first half when former Nailbox forward Craig Maxwell fired his effort into the top corner of the net, and the home side breathed a sigh of relief soon after when Aldington missed the opportunity to regain their two goal advantage when Cowell saw his penalty kick well saved by Allen in the home goal.

Sandgate pushed on at the start of the second period but found Briggs in inspired form in the Aldington goal, and they went 3-1 behind when Petto was once again involved in the action, this time his thunderous free-kick came back off the woodwork only for the ball to fall to Alex Williams to steer it home on the rebound. Sandgate found the back of the net with 15 minutes to play to reduce the deficit for a second time when Michael Yianni got the all-important final touch from a long throw into the box, and they almost drew level when substitute Kieran Byrne was denied by an outstanding save from Briggs. But that proved to be Sandgate’s last chance at salvaging a point as Aldington broke up the other end with teenage forward Price grabbing his second and Aldington’s fourth of the morning to seal all three points.

Meanwhile Stanhope & Beaver Rangers also claimed their first win of the season in a hugely entertaining 6-3 victory away at Red Heathens. Tom Collins bagged a hat-trick for Rangers as he helped Paul Friday’s side bring all three points home and overturn last week’s 5-1 defeat to AFC Locomotive, while further goals from Liam Ellis, Lewis Bagshaw and Anthony Finch sealed the victory. Red Heathens have looked good going forward this season despite falling to back-to-back defeats and replied with two goals from former Crystal Palace striker Gareth Williams and an outstanding strike from forward Craig Haynes.

 

Division One

League newcomers Albion FC lead the way at the top of the Division One standings on goal difference as they picked up their second victory of the season beating Lydd Grasshoppers 5-0 at Sandyacres. The pub side went in at half-time with a deserved 1-0 lead as Andy Ward put them ahead from the penalty spot after half an hour when skipper Sam Conlon was brought down in the box. Conlon himself made it 2-0 ten minutes into the second period before Jake North scored Albion’s third with an unstoppable strike into the top corner. It was 4-0 with ten minutes left to play as the impressive Mark Howells got his name on the score sheet while Adam Mercer popped up with goal number five late on to seal the victory.

Substitute Morgan Regardsoe scored a late penalty to help Charing come back from behind to beat Folkestone United 3-2 and maintain their winning start to the new season. Charing went ahead early on thanks to a goal from new signing Joe Sullivan, but Folkestone hit back midway though the half when Adam Brown’s perfectly placed through-ball found Dan Arnold who finished well to make it 1-1. Ryan Jordan then gave United the lead for the first time when his curling free-kick found the back of the net, but Charing drew level again just after the hour mark when manager Lee Woods introduced summer signing Gavin Prowse, and the former Newchurch midfielder fired in an equaliser with an unstoppable finish into the top left-hand corner of the goal. But just as the game looked to be finishing all-square Charing were awarded a late penalty when James Fraser was brought down in the box setting up former Market Hotel midfielder Regardsoe to grab the winning goal from 12-yards.

Golden Arrow recovered from going a goal behind early on to come back and beat South Willesborough 5-2 at the Stadium in Cheriton. South Willesborough went 1-0 ahead after just five minutes when Jordan Horne found the back of the net, but the home side soon levelled when Ashley Easton scored from the penalty spot. Golden Arrow went 2-1 ahead thanks to Stuart Thompson’s goal, but the Frogs levelled things up again as Horne grabbed his second goal of the game with a well taken half-volley. But Golden Arrow went on to seal the points with a strong second-half performance as two goals from Ryan Warren and one from Liam Gavigan made sure of their first win of the season.

Ten-man Cheriton AFC got off the mark this season as they beat Horsebox Bars 2-0 away from home. Chris Jones’ side suffered a major blow when goalkeeper Petr Bris was shown a straight red card for handball outside of the penalty area after just ten minutes, but replacement stopper Nathan Ingleston went on to keep Cheriton’s first ever clean sheet in the Ashford Sunday League spanning  63 league fixtures. Both of Cheriton’s goals came from corners as Ryan Hall and former Nailbox striker Adam Ghidaoui found the back of the net to help the visitors to all three points.

 

Division Two

Alfie Dryland scored twice as newly promoted Ashford United Thirds made it two wins from their first two games of the season in their 5-1 home victory against Biddenden at the Homelands Stadium. Former Market Hotel defender Dryland was on top form netting a brace for the Nuts ‘n Bolts while further goals from John Giles, TJ Wood and Jordan Boorer ensured the hosts won back to back games. Kieran Funnell grabbed a consolation for Biddenden with his second goal of the season, but the ‘Den remain in the bottom-two at the foot of the table without a point from their two fixtures so far.

Midfielder Mark Potten continued his outstanding start to the new campaign as he netted a second successive hat-trick in Park Farm Rangers’ 6-1 home victory against FC Folkestone. Potten now has six goals from two games this season as his treble set Rangers on the way to a second win of the campaign, while additional strikes from Joe Cox, Daniel Marshall and Tyler Loosemore put the icing on the cake. Ieuan Jones pulled a goal back for the visitors who suffered defeat for the first time this season following a great start to the campaign last week beating Ashford Spartans.

Ashford Spartans are rooted to the bottom of the table with two defeats from two games as they were well beaten by promotion favourites Troggs 5-0 at Cornes Meadow. Ben Allen was a handful for the Spartans defence all game long as he collected the match ball scoring three times for the Smarden-based side while Paul Newman and Declan Burden also found the back of the net to complete the scoring.

Phil Aspri and Jace Dempster both scored twice as Hythe Athletic maintained their 100% winning start to the season with a 4-2 victory against neighbours AFC Guildhall. Aspri opened the scoring for Hythe with a great strike from outside the penalty area before Nathan Simms scored to level for Guildhall. Aspri then netted his second to put Athletic 2-1 up just before the break with a well taken free kick before Dempster lobbed the visiting goalkeeper to score Hythe’s third goal of the morning. Dempster made it 4-1 with his second of the game to all but seal the points only for Steven Masters to pull a late goal back from the penalty spot for Guildhall to reduce the deficit.

Burton Grove returned from their trip to Appledore with all three points as three first half goals helped them to a 3-2 victory over the Smugglers. Jurgen Ahmetaj opened the scoring to give Burton the lead with a long-range strike that went in off the underside of the crossbar, but Dean Clark soon levelled for the home side after Burton failed to clear the ball following an Appledore corner. Player-manager Andy Crouch restored the visitors lead as he brilliantly lobbed the oncoming goalkeeper to make it 2-1, before James Sloan scored Burton’s third before half-time with a well hit free-kick. Bradley Osborne pulled a goal back for Appledore in the second half, but Burton Grove held on to claim maximum points and a well-earned victory.

Elsewhere in Division Two, Fox Sunday bagged their first points of the season with a 2-1 victory at home to Egerton thanks to goals from George Large and Barry Brown (pictured above). Fox went ahead after 18 minutes when midfielder Denzel Ndoko was brought down in the box setting up Large to open the scoring from the penalty spot, and Brown doubled their advantage just before the break with an absolute peach of a goal when he brought the ball down from an Egerton clearance and scored from a half-volley from all of 35-yards to make it 2-0 at half time. Former Lolzors and Singleton Barn forward Bradley Freund pulled a goal back for Egerton in the second half with his first goal for the club, but Fox held on for all three points a well-earned victory.

 

Division Three

Lolzors sit pretty at the top of the Division Three league table with two wins from two games so far this season as they beat Mersham Sports Club Reserves 2-0 at the Ridge. Nathan Boxall scored for the second successive game to put the Pumas ahead before Aiden Bourne doubled their advantage with Lolzors’ second goal of the game. Goalkeeper Joe Taffurelli kept a clean sheet for the hosts, but opposite number Andrew Possee was named man of the match pulling off a string of great saves, including a penalty save, to keep the away side in the game.

Ashford Dynamo remain unbeaten and sit in second place at this early stage of the season as they drew 1-1 on the road away at Pilgrims. Calvin Smith opened his goal account for the Royal Blues before former Ashford Cavaliers midfielder Aaren Carlton levelled for Pilgrims to earn them a share of the points.

Ashley Sales scored twice to help Folkestone United Reserves to their first points of the season as they returned from their trip to Charing Reserves 5-0 winners. Sales’ brace was accompanied by strikes from Matt King, Jamie Burton and an own goal with goalkeeper Josh Allon going on to keep his first clean sheet of the campaign.

Waterside helped themselves to a 4-2 home victory against Bromley Green at the Spearpoint to pick up their first win of the season. Goals from Kai Harris, Dave Bates, Ben Pilcher and Dylan Thomson did the damage as they picked up only their second victory in their previous 52 league fixtures and a sequence stretching four seasons having only won once last year. An own goal and a strike from Luke Cooper saw the Green hit back but they remain pointless from their opening two games so far.

Finally, Singleton Barn opened their campaign a week later than most of their rivals with a 7-3 home victory against Lydd Town. Jordan Luckman and Ricky Harden both scored twice for the Barn while further goals from Karl Levett, Ben Bromley and skipper Paul Halliday sealed victory. Lydd’s youngsters were unable to build on last week’s victory against Waterside, but Josh Mills scored a brace of goals for the second successive weekend adding to Alfie Molly’s strike as a consolation. 

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