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Ashford United 2 Hollands & Blair 0 - match report

Two-goal Shaun Welford scored for a club record eighth successive game as Ashford United beat Southern Counties East League title-contenders Hollands & Blair 2-0 at Homelands.

Welford beat the mark set last season by former marksman Stuart Zanone, as Blair missed out on a chance to regain top spot with leaders Greenwich Borough's home game against Rochester United called off 45 minutes before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch at Princes Park.

A month ago, this second v third meeting might have had more depending on the outcome, but United's 10-point deduction due to off-the-field financial issues put them out of the running.

Ashford United manager Danny Lye Picture: Rebecca Holliday
Ashford United manager Danny Lye Picture: Rebecca Holliday

The game was delayed for 15 minutes by the non arrival of one of the assistant referees with local man Glen Childs answering the late SOS.

Welford continued his impressive scoring streak, putting United in front after 14 minutes, breaking towards the box before firing a left foot shot wide of Blair goalkeeper Dan Ellis.

Blair, who drew 0-0 with Borough on Saturday, responded with top scorer James McDonald seeing his point-blank header pushed away by George Kamurasi.

The United keeper had a busy first half, making two more important stops as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.

Welford doubled United's lead two minutes after the restart, climbing above Blair defender Lewis Taylor to nod home Ryan Palmer's right foot cross from the left.

Blair made a double change bringing on Luke Fewsdale and Jordan Gallagher - but the former didn't last long - looking groggy as he was replaced 14 minutes later by George Blake.

Referee Harry Wager booked Ashford trio Charlie Dickens, player-boss Danny Lye and Welford inside the first half hour, adding to his card-count in the second half.

Palmer was booked for continuing to shoot after being caught offside, and it proved costly when he was sent off with seven minutes left for fouling Gallagher.

Blair's Brett Ince joined the list of cautions for a heavy challenge on Ben Davisson, Kamurasi joining him for getting involved as well.

The keeper then did well to push away Rob Denness' low cross - before Welford missed out on a hat-trick, lifting his effort over the bar 90 seconds into stoppage time.

The victory completed the double for United, over long-time front-runners Blair, having won 1-0 at Gillingham in August

Ashford United: Kamurasi, Savage, Dickens. L. Cuthbert, Lye, Kingwell, Palmer, Saunders, Welford, Davisson, Hassan (Booth 62mins)

Subs: Woolley, Dalton, Fagg.

Hollands & Blair: Ellis, Welch, Greenfield (Fewsdale 62 mins, Blake 76mins), Valencia, Taylor, Dampier, Ascheri (Gallagher 64mins), Michelson, McDonald. Denness, Ince

Subs not used: Guteridge, Hafner, Blake

Att: 263

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