Ashford & District Sunday Football League
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Author: Ryan Mills, 15/09/20

Godfrey brace helped Brews to victory, while Anghel treble sees Appledore open new season with big win.

Premier Division

Brewmaster carried over their excellent form from last season with a 5-1 opening weekend victory over Premier Division newcomers Sandgate Saint-Germain at Hopes Grove. The Brews were dominant in the first half against a highly fancied Sandgate side and could have been well clear at half time had it not been for some brilliant goalkeeping from visiting number one Danny Regan, but did break the deadlock before the interval when Piers Fuchter opened his goal account for the new season slotting home from close range.

Midfielder Frank Godfrey doubled the hosts’ lead early in the second half with an effort from just outside the penalty area, but Sandgate came right back into the game putting pressure on the Brews defence looking for a way back in. The outstanding Godfrey then scored his second and Brews third of the morning from a well taken free kick before Louis Plumridge made it 4-0 with a fine individual effort. Sandgate deservedly pulled a goal back with ten minutes to play when Jake Burchell netted after a corner, but John Ripley’s side added a late fifth when substitute Clive Bates finished well from Charlie Sharp’s through ball to seal a decent victory.

Not wanting to be outdone, the reformed AFC Locomotive, formally Bromley Green, also recorded a 5-1 victory beating hosts Stanhope & Beaver Rangers away from home. Five different players found the back of the net for Loco as goals from Jamie Hurst, Connor Gower, Matt Burdon, Kieran Shrimpton and Byron Price ensured that Gary Gibbs’ side picked up three points to get the pub side off to an all-important winning start in what will be arguably the most competitive Premier Division line up in several years. Luke Walder replied for Rangers to score in his twelfth consecutive Ashford & District Sunday Football League campaign.

Liam Smith was back in the dugout as Market Hotel opened their campaign with a hard fought 3-2 victory against a stubborn Red Heathens side. Market were 2-0 ahead at the break and looking comfortable before losing regular goalkeeper Darren Mendez to injury, but Smith’s side held on for all three points in a hugely entertaining clash at Charing Heath. Two goals from the prolific Bradley Baker and one from the returning Matt Collins wrapped up the victory, but Red Heathens came right back into the game in the second half as two goals from forward Artsoms Andrejevs set up a tense finish to the game.

Mersham Sports Club got off to a great start as they returned from their short trip to local rivals Aldington 4-0 winners. Tom Wilson put Mersham ahead as they went in at the break 1-0 ahead with an unstoppable effort and were only denied from increasing their advantage thanks to the heroics of young goalkeeper Lewis Briggs in the home goal. Briggs pulled off a string of outstanding saves to keep the hosts in the game in the first half, while the crossbar came to Aldington’s rescue and keep Mersham within reach. Summer signing Craig Calvert did eventually double the visitors’ advantage with a brilliant curling effort after 50 minutes, and Tom Wilson made it 3-0 when he beat oncoming ‘keeper Briggs to the ball to effectively seal the win. Mersham wrapped up the victory late on when Luke Stanley’s in-swinging corner was punched into his own net by the otherwise outstanding Briggs.

 

Division One

League debutants Albion picked up maximum points as they returned from their trip down the M20 motorway 6-2 winners over Cheriton AFC. Former Hamstreet forward Adam Mercer gave the Albion a perfect start when he put the visitors ahead after just four minutes, but it didn’t take long for Cheriton to draw level again when Jamie White equalised for the home side to make it 1-1. Two goals before half time saw the Albion take a 3-1 lead into the interval as Liam Whiting’s headed effort from a corner and Sam Conlon’s strike gave the visitors some breathing space despite some heavy pressure from the Cheriton forward’s who tested Albion goalkeeper Ben Stevens on several occasions in the first period.
That pressure paid off early in the second half as Ben Ashton pulled a goal back for the hosts to reduce the deficit, but the introduction of some fresh legs from the bench saw Robbie Greenfield’s side romp to victory with three goals in the final quarter of an hour. First, substitute Tommy Scorer played in Steve Johnson to make it 4-2, before the Scorer brothers, Dan and Tom, linked up well to set up Johnson again to score Albion’s fifth. Conlon scored his second and Albion’s sixth of the morning near the end to complete the victory and send the pub side to the top of the standings after the first round of fixtures on goal difference.
Liam Middleton scored twice as a new-look Sellindge SSC side beat new tenants Folkestone United 3-0 at Swan Lane. The Canterbury City forward proved to be the difference between the two local rivals as his brace and an additional goal from Isaac Hill sealed all three points for the Swans in a hotly contested derby. Home goalkeeper Dan Green picked up an early clean sheet for the hosts with a faultless performance between the sticks to deny United any form of a consolation goal.

Andy Bennett is pleased with his summer recruitment at Lydd Grasshoppers as he led his side to a 4-2 opening weekend victory at newly promoted Hamstreet. Shannon Hodson returned to the team to score a hat-trick for the ‘Hoppers to give the visitors a decent cushion and they will hope for a decent campaign this season after a difficult time last year before the suspension of the season. Tyrone Alldis netted a fourth for Grasshoppers to cancel out strikes from Joe Spicer and Connor Samson for the home side.

New Charing manager Lee Woods collected three important points on his return to the dugout as the villagers opened their much-anticipated campaign with a 3-2 home victory against league newcomers Golden Arrow at the Moat. Goals from Rob Marsden, Robbie Burn, and an own goal helped former Newchurch boss Woods claim an opening day victory against a strong Golden Arrow eleven who had Stuart Thompson and Kieran Fifield on target.

Newly promoted South Willesborough are heavily backed for a decent year following some good pre-season performances, but they had to settle for a share of the points after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Horsebox Bars at the Spearpoint. Mike Norris netted for the Frogs to put the hosts ahead in the first half when he finished well from Lewis O’Leary’s assist, but Horsebox levelled from a set piece courtesy of player-manager Aaron Cook to avoid defeat.

 

Division Two

Appledore kicked off life in Division Two with a comprehensive 7-2 victory at home to Fox Sunday. The outstanding Gabriel Madalin Anghel netted a hat-trick for the Smugglers who were relegated from Division One last season and are many peoples hot tip for an immediate return this time around. The hosts led 2-0 at the break before racing into a second-half 6-0 lead as Anghel’s treble, and a stunning free kick from Bradley Osborne as well as goals from Tom Draper, Lee Fishlock and another from summer signing Rhys Hodges saw them collect all three points. Fox replied with two late second half goals from George Large and former Kennington forward Callum O’Neill.

Striker Connor Hills scored five times as league debutants FC Folkestone got off to a flying start beating Ashford Spartans 6-1 at the Stadium in Cheriton. Manager Brad Russell had a headache before kick off with only nine recognised players to select from before signing two late additions on the morning of the game, but that didn’t stop Folkestone from romping home to victory as Hills’ handful of goals and a Ollie Nino Perez strike did the damage to cancel out Daryl Whiffen’s reply for Spartans.

Promoted side Ashford United Thirds adjusted to life in a higher division with an excellent 4-0 away win at highly fancied Egerton. New-look United have brought in the likes of former Market Hotel defender Alfie Dryland and Ashford FC midfielder David Yates over the summer and Roger Hadlum’s troops impressed against a strong Egerton side to take maximum points at Rock Hill Road. John Giles gave United the lead against the run of play before another summer signing, former Lydd Grasshoppers forward Jordan Boorer, made it 2-0 with a free kick from long range. Ashford scored a third through Yates from just outside the area before Edward Wood wrapped up the victory to make it 4-0.

Hythe Athletic are another side expected to go well in Division Two this season after a solid pre-season campaign and they opened the new season with a 4-1 victory away at Burton Grove. James Sherwood scored to put Athletic ahead before Chris Philpott added a second to double the visitors’ advantage. Forward Charlie Partridge made it 3-0 before Sam Puxley headed in a fourth but Grove grabbed a late consolation through former Iden Park striker Francis Walker to deny Athletic a clean sheet.

Mark Potten claimed the match ball with a hat-trick as Park Farm Rangers started the new season with a 4-2 away win at AFC Guildhall. Potten’s treble was accompanied by Tyler Loosemore’s individual strike to ensure Rangers returned home with all three points to cancel out strikes from Jon Brisley and Nathan Simms for the home side.

Troggs got one over local rivals Biddenden as the Smarden side enjoyed a 3-1 victory at Cornes Meadow to open the season with a victory (pictured above). Harry Stow, who moved from Biddenden to Troggs over the summer, netted against his former team while an additional strike from Tom Carlton and an own goal wrapped up the victory for Tim Archer’s side. Kieran Funnell replied for the ‘Den youngsters as they started their third season in the league with a disappointing defeat.

 

Division Three

Lydd Town’s under-21 side enjoyed their first game in men’s football as they beat newly named Waterside (formally Kingsnorth Pilgrims) 6-2 at the Lindsay Ground. Former Pilgrims and Ashford Spartans forward Josh Mills scored twice for Town as did strike partner Samuel Crisford to set the hosts on the way, while further goals from Alfie Molloy and Ellis Nelson completed the scoring. Waterside replied with goals from Kai Harris and Scott Brown but were unable to avoid an opening weekend defeat under new manager James Bowerbank.

Matthew Jarvis scored twice on his competitive debut to help Ashford Dynamo celebrate their return to the league with a 4-0 victory over Bromley Green at Sandyacres. The much travelled Jarvis scored for his fifth club in three-years having previously netted for former clubs Lolzors, Charing, Ashford United and Willesborough Athletic in recent seasons, while Kieran Hawkins and Ashley Slingsby also found the back of the net to round off a decent win for Brad Sharpe’s side.

New Lolzors manager Justin Day enjoyed an opening weekend victory as the Pumas returned from their trip to pre-season promotion favourites Folkestone United Reserves 3-2 winners despite having to come back from going behind. After a slow start to the game Lolzors eventually went ahead through Nathan Boxall but United replied before half-time thanks to a Lee Dickson strike. Lolzors looked the stronger of the two teams at the start of the second period but went 2-1 behind as Folkestone scored their second goal of the morning through Tom Etherington to go in front, but the visitors levelled things up again with ten minutes left on the clock thanks to Tyler Montgomery’s spot kick. Montgomery, who returned to the club after a brief spell with Bromley Green last season, then popped up to grab the winning goal and earn Lolzors a hard earned three points against a very strong United side.

 

Friendly Matches

Due to unavailability of referees there were also two friendly fixtures this weekend. Firstly, Mersham Sports Club Reserves got the better of Division Three rivals Singleton Barn winning 5-3 at the Spearpoint as Luke Goddard’s hat-trick and further goals from Adam Fairclough and Adam Bellman added the final preparations to the villagers’ pre-season campaign. Singleton Barn, who are expected to be strong promotion contenders again this season, replied through Jordan Luckman, Lewis Newcombe and Kellan Sharratt.

Meanwhile Brandon Foord-Divers and former Ashford Cavaliers midfielder Aaren Carlton both scored as Pilgrims saw off Charing Reserves winning 2-0 at the Great Chart Recreation Ground.

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