Published: 00:00, 17 January 2002
Ashford 3, Tonbridge 2
NEW Signing Gavin Tomlin proved an instant hit with the Ashford Town fans after scoring a 90th minute winner for Town over old rivals Tonbridge Angels at Homelands last night.
Tomlin, who signed from Tooting and Mitcham on the day of the game, was in the right place at the right time to steer home the lay back from Stuart White after a cross by Aaron O'Leary. It ensured the right result for Town who dominated this game for long periods but looked like paying the price for not taking their chances.
For the first 20 minutes of this game Angels did not have a shot while Adrian Stone will not know how he missed from two yards after a great cross by White in the opening minutes. Having not made the most of their incessant pressure, Town were then given two warnings as John Whitehouse saved superbly from Mark Greatorex and former Folkestone man Richard Ponsford headed wide.
Tonbridge took the lead on 29 minutes when Greatorex was given the freedom of the park to pick his spot but Ashford raised it again and after terrific saves by stand-in keeper Chris Connelly from Dave Hassett, Stone and Ian Ross Town drew level on 37 minutes with a crisp turn and finish from Stone.
More chances came and went early in the second half before Hassett found his range with a fine strike on 56 minutes to give Town the lead.. With Hassett and Stone giving the Angels back line plenty of problems it seemed Town would go on to a comfortable win but having survived a Colin Blewden shot against the post, Tonbridge drew level on 77 minutes when substitute Steffan Ball drove home a rebound after a great save by Whitehouse from Greg Howell.
Tonbridge then had their best spell of the game and might have snatched it but Tomlin, on for John Nolan, started to show what he could do setting up a good chance for White and heading wide before his dramatic last minute winner.
It was a good display by Town in difficult conditions with Peter Mortley leading by example against his old side and Ian Ross magnificent in midfield.