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Ashford United boss Tommy Warrilow on the 2-0 defeat to Hastings United

By Steve Tervet

Tommy Warrilow has called for calm following his first defeat as Ashford manager.

The Nuts & Bolts lost 2-0 at home to Hastings on New Year's Day but they're only two points outside the Bostik South East play-offs.

United had won six out of seven games before that - including Gary Alexander's final three games in charge - and Warrilow is happy with their overall progress.

Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Wayne McCabe
Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Wayne McCabe

He said: "We're halfway through the season now and we're sitting in a nice position.

"We do need to strengthen still but there's no need to go overboard about one loss.

"If someone said 'would you take a play-off spot now?' of course I would. You want to keep your season going as long as you can but we know there's still work to do with our shape. We're still finding our way.

"We looked lethargic on New Year's Day and we got caught dwelling on the ball. We got in some really good areas at times but we never tested their keeper.

"We could have come out with something but we didn't really deserve it. We just weren't ourselves."

On Saturday, Ashford travel to face a VCD side just two points behind them with a game in hand.

Things are so tight a win could catapult them to third, although defeat would see them leapfrogged by the Vickers.

Warrilow said: "They play with purpose on the break and they've got Charlie MacDonald up front, who's brilliant at bringing people into the game as well as being a goal threat.

Ashford try to make headway against Hastings Picture: Wayne McCabe
Ashford try to make headway against Hastings Picture: Wayne McCabe

"We know about them but we've got to get ourselves organised and hopefully put right what went wrong on New Year's Day and get the three points to break us into the play-off barrier.

"Since December 15 we've had two games. We've been kicking our heels for two Saturdays and you want to keep playing regularly. It's been stop-start and even now, there's not an abundance of games with the way the league have been restructured.

"What doesn't help is when you get suspensions because they're going to last a long time now."

Lea Dawson and Bode Anidugbe's suspensions for being sent off against Hastings don't kick in until next week but Stefan Cox is banned this weekend.

Tom Carlse (ankle) should be fit to face VCD but Joe Bingham is struggling with a back injury.

Warrilow added: "We're looking to bring a few more in but you're not going to see me jumping up and down, panicking over the loss on New Year's Day. We know the reasons why and it's a slow process.

"We've lost our first one in five so we've got to make sure we don't start going downhill because there's no need for it."

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