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Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow sets sights on FA Trophy run after losing unbeaten league record

Tommy Warrilow says Ashford United will learn from their first league defeat as they target a run in the FA Trophy.

The Nuts & Bolts’ unbeaten start in Isthmian South East is over after Haywards Heath won a scrappy clash 2-1 last weekend to leapfrog Warrilow’s side into top spot.

Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Ian Scammell

It was a frustrating afternoon for the visitors, who gifted Heath their two goals before Tariq Ossai replied in the last 20 minutes.

But they’re ready to put that behind them when they meet Isthmian South Central side Chalfont St Peter in the FA Trophy first qualifying round at Homelands this Saturday.

“The Trophy is the equivalent to our FA Cup,” said boss Warrilow.

“I’d love to go on a run and stay in it as long as possible.

“We’re playing a team at the same level and I’ve spoken to a manager I know who’s played them.

“They’ve had a bit of an iffy start but I don’t care if we’re playing a team at the bottom of the Kent League or the top of the National League, we treat them all the same and show them respect.

“Top, middle or bottom, it doesn’t matter to us, we do our homework and try to address where we’ve gone wrong in the previous game.

“I’m not being disrespectful to Haywards Heath but we gifted them their two goals.

“They didn’t open us up or a work a good area to score their goals, they were just mistakes but we can work on that on the training ground.

“You’re not going to go 40-odd games without a few poor performances.

“The most important thing is you learn from them.

“When you gift two goals it doesn’t take Einstein to work out why you’ve lost.

“We had the better chances but it wasn’t to be and we have to accept that.

“We’ve lost a game and we’re going to lose another one somewhere along the line but, as a manager, you learn things in defeat.

“We’ll get on the training ground and try to get it right for Saturday.”

Ashford went top after beating Herne Bay last week but while Warrilow stressed the need to enjoy wins, he was never getting carried away with the table.

Defeat highlighted why, with the Nuts & Bolts dropping to fifth.

“The season’s six games old, it’s so early,” said Warrilow.

“Haywards Heath are top with 16, we’re joint-third on 13 but down to ninth the teams have got games in hand.

“It’s so tight, you can’t start analysing everything at this stage.

“Our aim is to be up there around it and, come February, you want to start hitting form. That’s when it counts.

“Even if we were mid-table now, you wouldn’t panic.”

Ashford return to league action at Hastings on Tuesday night.

It will be just their second visit since winning a play-off semi-final thriller 3-2 in the last minute of extra time in the 2018/19 season.

Warrilow said: “It’s not ideal going there on a Tuesday night but hopefully the traffic isn’t too bad.

“There’s always a good atmosphere at Hastings but I’m not thinking about that game until we’ve got Saturday out the way.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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