Dean Ashton comments on spectacular goal in Mark Noble's testimonial

Dean Ashton

The former West Ham striker scored twice in Monday's charity match, including a spectacular acrobatic effort.

Former West Ham United striker Dean Ashton has told the club's official website that he felt as if he was in his prime again after scoring a spectacular overhead kick during Mark Noble's testimonial at Upton Park on Monday.

Ashton was named as part of a squad of former Hammers players to face a current XI to honour Noble's 16-year association with the club, and played a starring role in a tremendous charity match which finished 6-5 to the current XI.

The 32-year-old had a hampered four-year spell at Upton Park after leaving Norwich City, scoring 19 goals in 56 matches before being forced into retirement at the age of just 26 at the end of 2009 after failing to recover from long-term ankle problems.

However, he rolled back the years on Monday afternoon with a two-goal display, netting a superb acrobatic effort before adding a second strike just minutes later.

The former England striker admitted that he could not believe he had managed such a spectacular strike, which was reminiscent of similar goal he scored against Manchester United at Old Trafford eight years ago.

Ashton told the club's website: "It was like I was 23 years old again, I don’t know what I was doing! To be able to play here again, in front of a full stadium and be able to score a goal like that means so much to me.

"Now that we’re leaving; if that’s my last ever goal at Upton Park, what a goal to finish on. It was just one of those instincts. Ian Bishop dinked a lovely little ball over and it was pure instinct really, I’ve done that in the past. Now the only problem is how much that’ll hurt tomorrow!

"[Monday's] goal was up there with the scissor kick at Old Trafford, obviously a different occasion but in some ways just as special."

Ashton's playing career was a hugely promising one before he started to be hampered by recurring injury issues in his time with the Irons.

The then-22-year-old scored six goals in his first half-season in London, including a strike in the FA Cup final of 2006 as the Hammers eventually lost out to Liverpool on penalties.

He initially recovered from a broken ankle sustained on England duty which saw him miss the entire 2006-07 season, returning to hit 10 goals in 31 Premier League matches the following campaign, but was forced into retirement after suffering a recurrence of the problem and failing to return to fitness.

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