It was a very even first 20 minutes at the Homelands Stadium, with both sides feeling each other out. Ashford had a noticeable height advantage to the Hillians so set pieces were causing a few problems, nothing to trouble Taylor Seymour though. The first big chance of the first half came in the 29th minute. Jordi Ndozid lost the ball in midfield and that allowed Ex-Hull City man Johan Ter Horst to burst through one-on-one but he couldn’t beat Seymour with a rather tame effort in the end. Just moments later, more sloppy possession from the Hillians allowed Tariq Ossai a shot on goal but from a tight angle he was denied by Seymour. The lively Ter Horst then got in behind Josh Luther but he flashed an effort across the face of goal rather than finding the target. Chances were few and far between for the Hill in the opening 45, our best move of the half was down the left hand side as Martyn Box curled a wicked delivery into the box and it was just headed away from Max Miller by a covering Ashford defender. As the half was just coming to a close, Max Miller raced onto a long ball and got into a tangle with an Ashford defender, he went down in the box and huge cries for a penalty went up but the referee waved it away.
The Hillians started the second 45 much livelier, Lewis Taylor broke forward well from midfield but saw his effort blocked and the follow up lashed just over the crossbar. Eight minutes into the second half, the other Lewis, Lewis Finney stung the palms of Jordan Carey with a fierce effort from outside the box. Unfortunately, for the bright second half start, it was the hosts who opened the deadlock. The ball went out for a throw in on the far side, the linesman gave it the Hillians way but he was overturned by the referee, Ashford caught the Hill out cold and Tom Fagg capitalised to nutmeg Taylor Seymour from close range. The old saying of when you get one you get more rang true as just 4 minutes later, that man Fagg headed home Ossai’s free kick to double the lead. The Hill were determined to get back in the game and should have been awarded a penalty when George Brown was fouled in the area, instead the referee chose to book him for diving, much to everyone’s disbelief. The men in yellow didn’t give up and were back in the game thanks to a Pat Harding special. The forward, starting his 11th season with the club, marked it with his 129th goal as he collected Max Miller’s bouncing pass and lashed a volley off the underside of the bar and in to spark the comeback into life. With 6 minutes to go, the hopes of a comeback almost evaporated as Jay May curled an effort wide when he should of done a lot better with his finish. The equaliser so almost came through the most unlikely source as brilliant work down the right from Max Miller set up Reggie Ward who got infront of his man but headed the ball millimetres wide. That proved to be our final chance and as we pushed higher up the pitch and sent more men forward in hopes of an equaliser, Tommy Fagg seized his opportunity to score his hat-trick and finish off the game.
A defeat on the opening day but by no means disgraced.
Thank you to the all the travelling fans who made the journey to support the club!
Next up it’s Emirates FA Cup action, where we travel to either Banstead or Bearstead!