Published: 05:00, 18 November 2021
| Updated: 11:01, 18 November 2021
Tommy Warrilow reckons keeping clean sheets on a regular basis will be vital if Ashford are to earn promotion this season.
The Nuts & Bolts claimed their second successive shut-out in their 2-0 victory at Isthmian South East bottom side Phoenix Sports on Saturday.
Goals from striker Johan Ter Horst and midfielder Josh Wisson gave Ashford a half-time lead, although Warrilow felt United should have been further ahead.
After the restart, Warrilow’s men saw the game out to earn their sixth clean sheet of the season, with Phoenix having George Whitelock sent off for a second bookable offence.
The Ashford manager was keen to point out preventing the opposition from scoring is a collective effort from the whole side.
Warrilow said: “The defence is not just Tyler (McCarthy, Ashford’s keeper), the defence is all of them. We have a midfield that works well defensively.
“Clean sheets win you leagues. You can score 100 goals in a season but, if you let in 150, it’s no good. So clean sheets are what we need if we are going to get promotion.
“We are an attacking side anyway and I will take full responsibility if we get hit on the counter-attack.
“They were getting a bit excited and they were all going (forward), but now, we look more organised and a little less gung-ho.”
The Nuts & Bolts are second ahead of their Kent derby at Homelands against Sittingbourne this Saturday, three points behind league leaders Cray Valley, who play third-placed Haywards Heath.
Warrilow said: “We are up there in second but there is so much to play for.
"The only concern, when we lose a game, is if there’s a complete overreaction.
“You cannot do that. If you lose, you need to say ‘so what’ and move on from it.
"We need to get this Christmas and New Year period out of the way.
“There is a long way to go this year.
"We need to not get carried away but, at the same time, enjoy it because we are up there.”
Prolific hitman Gary Lockyer, who joined after scoring 20 goals for Southern Counties East Kennington, could be in line for his debut after missing Ashford’s win over Phoenix.
Darren Blackburn’s Brickies are just outside the play-offs in seventh and Warrilow said: “There are no easy games at this level.
“They brought another influx of players in last week. I have been to see them play this year and they work hard. They beat VCD recently.
“We played them a few years ago and won (1-0) but they absolutely dominated against us on that day, so we know it’s going to be another tough game.”
Other than full-back Tariq Ossai (collarbone), Ashford hope to have everyone to choose from against Sittingbourne with knocks due to be assessed at training today (Thursday).