Burgess Hill Town went down 1-0 away in Kent on Saturday as Ashford United made a winning return to their Homelands ground.
The ‘Nuts & Bolts’ had been playing their home games so far this season at Chatham due to a new pitch being laid.
Dean Cox made two changes to his starting XI with Nic D’Arienzo coming in for the injured Martyn Box whilst Marcel Powell came in for Kieron Pamment. Jack Taylor kept his place after seeing his loan extended with the Hillians from Sutton United until 1st January.
United had the first chance early as James Shaw saved an effort as a long throw had got them in behind and at the other end after eight minutes Mo Jammeh smashed an effort high and wide after being found from a corner.
Jacob Russell then made a fantastic save to deny Jammeh three minutes later saving Jammeh’s volley from Reggie Wards excellent delivery.
There followed a period of very few chances as the rain lashed down in Ashford but seven minutes before half time D’Arienzo whipped in a cross which Jammeh flicked on at the near post and Rob O’Toole is a centimetre away from tapping home at the far post.
Two minutes later veteran forward Ian Draycott tried to catch Shaw out from 40 yards but Shaw caught it comfortably.
Despite Hill going close again, skipper Marcus Allen flicking just over Jammeh’s corner, it was the hosts that took the lead on the stroke of half time.
Hill had dominated the last 10-15 minutes but it mattered not as Vance Bola scored from absolutely nothing to open the scoring to give them a half time lead which was harsh on the Hillians.
Three minutes after the restart and the Hillians were so close to levelling as Powell breaks from an Ashford corner, he runs the length of the pitch before crossing, O’Toole flicks it on to Jammeh who unfortunately couldn’t finish a brilliant move.
Soon after Dan Perry takes aim after a mistake at the back, Russell drops it but regains it before Powell can react.
The visiting Hill continued to be create but not convert chances as Powell whipped a great corner in, Allen has a free run, a free jump and a free header but it flew over.
The hosts nearly doubled their lead as the game went end to end and they smashed the bar on 63 minutes
Hillians made a double change with Curtis Gayler and Finn Daniels Yeoman coming on for Jammeh and Taylor and soon after impressive Under 18’s player Joe Overy came on for Powell.
With eight minutes remaining Shaw made a decent save to stop Ashford killing the game off whilst at the other end Gayler finds Perry who brings it down, his shot is blocked and the rebound doesn’t fall to a Hillian as the hosts see the game out largely untroubled.
Although Hillians deserved a point from the game we left the Homelands with nothing and will now turn our focus onto next weekends game at home to Chichester City at the Home Call Carpets Community Stadium as we look to return to winning ways.