Preview: Ashford United
Last Sunday’s FA Cup encounter with Littlehampton was a pulsating affair. From one end to the other, the ball would freely find the net as the Hawks escaped with a 5-4 victory to set up a 2nd Round Qualifying tie with Slough. Back to the present and back to the league as Ashford United venture through the leafy Kentish / Sussex countryside to entertain Whitehawk this coming Saturday.
Last time out
Having previously recorded two goals in the three matches this season, Ross Standen’s side fired five past Littlehampton on Sunday afternoon to reach the next round of the FA Cup, where National League South side Slough are the opponents.
Henry Muggeridge — who had been absent for a healthy majority of pre-season — scored twice in the first half. James Fraser added one from the spot to give the travelling Hawks a 3-2 lead at the interval before Callum Edwards and Omarr Lawson netted two minutes apart to secure their place in the next round.
A win, a draw and a defeat from the initial three matches find the Hawks in 14th position, but just three points off second position as the table continues to shift.
Known as ‘The Nuts and Bolts’, Tommy Warrilow’s Ashford United outfit can boast a progressive start to this new campaign. Although a mere three fixtures into proceedings, they are yet to taste defeat in the league. An opening day 3-1 win over Burgess Hill Town comprised of a Tommie Fagg second half hat-trick before an FA Cup replay defeat at the hands of Chatham Town later ensued.
And that was preceded by a goalless draw with Isthmian South-East newcomers Corinthian, whilst the Bank Holiday Monday clash with East Grinstead Town ended in climactic fashion; Luke Burdon scoring in the dying minutes to earn a 2-1 win.
Following his departure from the Sussex shore last month, Rhyle Ovenden returns to the TerraPura in the green and white of Ashford. Involved for the entire 270 minutes of league football thus far, he is likely to feature in a midfield that will be spearheaded by Fagg, the league’s joint top scorer.
These sides last met on the very first day of last season’s calendar, albeit in the FA Cup. Almost a year to the day, Ashford prevailed 2-0 through early strikes from Josh Wisson and Aaron Condon.
As the pandemic has ravished through the recent schedules, the two clubs met just once during the 2019-2020 campaign. Again at the Homelands Stadium, Rhyle Ovenden ironically struck a 90th minute winner as the Hawks departed with a memorable 3-2 victory.
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