The Hillians got back on track with a near faultless display against title favourites Ashford United.
- Taylor (73')
- Uwezu (87')
The Hill welcomed Ashford United to the More Than Tyres Stadium in what was the third meeting between the sides this season. Ashford had triumphed in the previous 2 games, once on the opening day and once in the Velocity Trophy, both at the Homelands Stadium. Jay Lovett was looking for a big reaction from his players after last weekend’s disappointing defeat at home to Corinthian, and he certainly got it.
It was the visitors who had the opening chance within seconds of the whistle being blowed; a very cleverly worked routine almost undone the sleeping Hillians but luckily Taylor Seymour was alert to the danger to notch his first save of the afternoon. From the resulting corner, Ashford planted a header into the arms of the stopper, with their intentions made very clear from the outset. Hill’s first opening came down the right, as a Leon Moore cross found its way to Hayden Skerry who tested Tyler McCarthy early. The early flurry of chances was met by the game quieting down a touch until Jack Steventon met Bradley Simms’ cross to volley inches over Taylor Seymour’s crossbar. The Hillians struggled to create anything clear cut in the opening half hour, this being said, Tom Chalaye did whip a delicious cross aimed at Michael Uwezu but it was a fraction ahead of the number 9. A really good chance came and went in the 41st minute. A mistake from Ashford stopper McCarthy allowed Lewis Finney to set up Tom Chalaye but the striker blazed over from 10 yards out when he really should have hit the target. Heading into the final few minutes of the first half, the Hillians seemed to come to life. A lovely touch and turn from Chalaye saw him set up Michael Uwezu but from the edge of the area his effort flew narrowly wide. In almost identical fashion, just minutes later, Reggie Ward got to the same blade of grass and unleashed but unfortunately his shot also flew just wide of the post..
The Hillians started the second half excellently, as Lewis Finney jinked past a couple of players but his effort was no bother for Tyler McCarthy. Hayden Skerry was next to try his luck, utilising his twinkle toes as he slalomed his way past players before dragging his shot wide. After a flurry of Hillians chances it was almost Ashford who took the lead. Nic D’Arienzo misjudged a bouncing ball and Roberto Ratti pounced, driving at the defence before laying it off to Jack Steventon to try his luck, which was dipping under the bar until Seymour got a vital fingertip. Owing to their lofty table position, you always thought Ashford would be desperate to get a winning goal which might play in the Hill’s hands, and it almost happened. It was a 3 man attack, Uwezu finding Taylor who put it on a plate for Chalaye but the feet of McCarthy came up trumps as another good chance went begging. Back came Ashford, their skipper Liam Friend really ought to have put them ahead. A long raking free kick by Bradley Simms was nodded down to Friend but he got his feet tangled up when in front of goal and the chance went begging. Right place, wrong man. In the 68th minute, the Nuts and Bolts must have thought they had taken the lead when Tashi-Jay Kwayie danced inside Leon Moore and set up Jack Steventon but for all he try, he could not beat Taylor Seymour as the young stopper tipped his fierce goal bound effort over the bar. That save proved to be even more vital, when 4 minutes later the Hill had a penalty. Hayden Skerry, who was brilliant throughout, led a counter on his own bursting away down the left, he danced his way into the box and as he cut back onto his right foot was brought down by Tariq Ossai – with the referee in no doubt. Captain fantastic Lewis Taylor stepped up to roll the ball past Tyler McCarthy and give Jay Lovett’s men the lead. As the game began to stretch, Ashford simply couldn’t deal with Hayden Skerry who almost created a 2nd moments later. Once again he led a counter, hurtling challenges left right and centre before trying to square the ball unselfishly for Michael Uwezu to tap in, unfortunately, Daniel Hull just got a toe on it in the nick of time to deny a certain goal. He, nor anyone else in yellow, could deny Uwezu 10 minutes later. Substitute Martyn Box, making his return from injury, charged down the left and crossed for Trey Masikini who somehow misjudged the bounce from a yard out, but Michael Uwezu was on hand to eventually tuck home the rebound. Jubilation around the More Than Tyres Stadium. With time running out for the away side they almost grabbed one back, a long throw wasn’t dealt with, but Nic D’Arienzo managed to superbly clear off the line. The referee’s full time whistle sounded, met by rapturous applause around the ground.
Jay Lovett’s merry men muster up some magic as a wonderful display sees them come away with a valuable 3 points against a very strong Ashford United side.
Yesterday’s Man of the Match was awarded to Hayden Skerry, who quite frankly was unplayable throughout.
Next up, it’s a long Tuesday night trip to the Hythe!