Report: Whyteleafe 1-1 Ashford United
With neither side still harbouring playoff ambitions, nor relegation fears, it was a matter of playing for pride at a dry but overcast Church Road. The visitors, backed by an impressively vocal band of followers will have left frustrated that a largely dominant display did not yield the full three points on offer.
Ashford took the lead after just 30 seconds when the very first pass of the game found striker Dean Grant in space, with time to coolly lob the stranded Leafe stopper Sheikh Ceesay from 30 yards. Ceesay, standing in for the absent Kyle Merson between the sticks, made amends with a magnificent save seven minutes later, diving full stretch to his left to palm a blistering drive from 25 yeards around his post.
The visitors dominated possession, with Grant very close to doubling his tally on 33 minutes, another fine drive from 20 yards out flashing inches wide of the upright. With no meaningful shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes, Leafe certainly needed to raise their game in the second half.
Ashford continued to press and on 54 minutes Siao Blackwood met a fine cross from the left with a half-volley that flew just the wrong side of Ceesay's left-hand post.
On the hour Leafe at last found some rhythm and urgency with influential skipper Sam Clayton forcing a fine low save from giant Ashford keeper George Kamurasi.
On 73 minutes Vance Bola skipped through the Ashford defence, his shot blocked by the alert Kamurasi who gathered at the second attempt.
With 12 minutes remaining the hosts levelled the score when Clayton, on a trademark mazy run, was scythed down in the penalty area. It was Clayton himself who duly dispatched the spot-kick with a no-nonsense smash high into the net.
With both sides now chasing the win, Ceesay was forced into another fine save at one end before a Clayton free-kick was denied by Kamurasi at the other.
In a final push, the visitors hit the crossbar during stoppage time with a Pat Kingwell header and Leafe right-back Bradley Simms blocked a late goalbound drive to ensure honours were even at the full-time whistle.
Leafe: Ceesay, Simms, Hegarty, Graham, Scarborough, Douglas, Pearson (Clothier 65), Hutton, Bola, Hutchings (Taylor 48), Clayton. Subs Unused: Eze, Brown, Okorogheye