Report from Will Boye
Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies sealed promotion after beating Surrey Eagles to wrap up the league title.
Lauren Richardson put in a player of the match performance which included her first ever hatrick in Ashford colours, all goals being contenders for goal of the season. Lavana Neufville and Sequoia Belworthy caused havoc all game with their combinations and pace in the final third. It was no surprise that Belworthy grabbed a hatrick and Neufville notched five goals. Neufville turned provider for Amber Luzar, who scored her first goal of the season. The former Fulham player Chloe Dalrymple was introduced to the game for Ashford and the youngster found her feet very quickly as she played a through pass for skipper Vicky James, who comfortably found the net to end the game 14-1.
With nearest challengers Godalming Town having drawn their final game at home to Ashford Ladies last week, the Tangerines cannot be caught with one league game remaining.
It’s the final home game of this season next week at home to Greenhuse Sports, in 4th place, so let's get the biggest support possible to celebrate this achievement of league champions and back to back promotions.
A big well done also to Martin’s Under-15s who yesterday were confirmed as the league champions, Congratulations to the whole squad who have worked so hard to be where they are today, a great bunch of players well lead by Martin and Glenn. Well done also to Larry's Under-13's who, although beaten in their Final yesterday, represented the club well, never one letting their heads go down. Congratulations to Mitcham Park upon their victory.
If you are coming to the Presentation Evening, Graham (Cooley) has asked that as many people as possible pay him their money (£20 a head) on Tuesday evening at the Hampton match.
Ashford maintained their recent excellent form with another away win in their final league match on Saturday, returning from Kidlington with a 2-1 win, which sees the Tangerines achieving a top half finish (10th) in their first season back at Step 4.
As often happens at the end of the season, the squad was a little depleted including the non-availability of Mark Bitmead, who was called into work at the last moment. Other absences meant that we only had one effective substitute on the bench, namely Dylan Duby.
Kidlington had been doing well recently, having completely recovered from their poor start to the season and went into the match with a 3 point lead over Ashford. The first half though had an end of season feel to it. Ashford possibly had more of it overall but it was fairly even with no-one really looking as if they would break the deadlock. That is until Kidlington opened the scoring with what has to be said was an excellent break from an Ashford corner that broke down. The ball was rapidly moved upfield and, from an acute angle, Kidlington’s Callum Harvey, who had been a menace throughout the half, put his side ahead from an acute angle.
Apart from the goal, the only other talking point was the referee’s insistence that Dan Fleming left the field after receiving treatment for a knock, even though the other player was shown a yellow card. There was a general view that an injured player is allowed to stay on if the offender has been cautioned but it didn’t happen on this occasion, despite manager Murray’s very clear advice to the official.
The second half, played in warm sunshine did not look as if it would produce many goals if any, despite everyone’s best endeavours and it started to look as if Ashford would return empty handed. On 80 minutes though in an attack down the right, a Kidlington defender handled in the area. It was one of those that might or might not have been given but on this occasion the referee was clear in his decision and in the absence of Mark Bitmead, Alex Fisher stepped up and duly levelled the score.
Kidlington felt aggrieved and suddenly there was a greater intensity and passion about the match which worked in Ashford’s favour as with five minutes on the clock, Jack Beadle pounced and rifled home after a rebound, thus scoring the winning goal for the second match in a row.
Kidlington were unable to come back and the points were on their way to Middlesex. The match was an opportunity for Dylan Duby to come on early in the second half and he showed that he can play, with the benefit of plenty of game time. In the writer’s view though, Max Webb was Ashford’s stand out player with his aggressive running but Max Herbert and others were not far behind.
The league season is over but we play at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup on Tuesday evening at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 p.m., with the winners playing Wealdstone in the Final on Bank Holiday 1 May.
Larry’s Under-23’s lost their Final to Mitcham Park on Sunday morning, 0-2, but put up a good show and did the club proud.
It doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago that we were off to Northwood for the opening league match of the season but on Saturday, we close the League season with a trip to Kidlington FC.
Ashford are currently in 12th place and mathematically, could achieve 9th depending upon this result and others. Anything from 11th upwards would be pleasing as that would mean a top half place. Kidlington, after an unexpectedly slow start, found their form and are currently in 10th position, also with 9th as their possible highest. Thus there is not too much hanging on the result but the usual competitive match can be expected.
Kidlington play at Yarnton Road, Kidlington, Oxford, OX6 1AT and from ground to ground it is a journey of just under 51 miles, via the M40, to Junction 8. Supporters may recall that we went there early last season in the FA Vase and rather scraped a draw courtesy of Max Webb, only to lose at Short Lane in the replay.
It is not the final match of the season as next Tuesday we entertain Hampton in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m. to see who will meet Wealdstone in the Final on Bank Holiday 1 May.