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We have been advised by Kempston Rovers that Tuesday's match may be in doubt due to a waterlogged pitch.  An inspection is planned for 1.00 p.m. and as soon as we have further information it will be put on here.

UPDATE:  Pitch inspection delayed until 2.00 p.m. but very doubtful,

Further update:

This evening’s match is postponed, pitch waterlogged

Some impressive football at times on Saturday eventually saw Ashford complete their first double of the season as they beat Arlesey Town by two goals to one.

The match saw the debut of central defender Davente McGain, signed on loan from Staines Town, and who  looks a player who certainly doesn’t mess about at the back which, given Ashford’s propensity for conceding daft goals at times may be just what was needed.

Arlesey looked a considerably better side than they had when Ashford played at their ground near the start of the season but the Tangerines were generally playing it around well.  Bart Pedrycz in the Arlesey goal was proving a tough nut to crack though and after several near things one wondered if it was going to be one of those days again.  On 36 minutes though, it was Bailey Mummery who broke the deadlock with a crisp finish having been put through by Dan Fleming.

As always, Kam English popping up on either flank was his usual nuisance but it was not all one way traffic and both full backs, Samad Kazi and Max Herbert, the latter stepping in for Alex Fisher, whose operation we understand has been a success, were highly prominent at times.

There was little controversy in the match with neither side picking up so much as a caution but Ashford were aggrieved when the visitors equalised on 55 minutes when seconds earlier English had looked to be quite deliberately  baulked as he threatened down the left flank.  It wasn’t given though and within seconds the ballw as switched to the other end and Ariel Amu equalised.

There was no panic though and although it took a while, Ashford restored their lead on 73 minutes when a deft through ball from Herbert found Tommy Brunton in the clear and he smashed it home with considerable aplomb, to seal a much needed victory.  That said the three points were almost squandered late on when a decent effort was certainly going in but skipper Russell Canderton was on hand to clear it from the line.

There was more than one candidate for “Ashford man of the match” but in a very close vote it was won by Max Herbert who was almost neck and neck with Samad Kazi.  The lean patch in terms of goal scoring by Mark Bitmead and Dan Fleming went on but it was not for the sake of hard work, with both players and indeed the whole team giving their all to ensure the win against tricky opponents.

The next match is tomorrow evening (Tuesday) when we travel to Kempston Rovers, the original game having been postponed due to a frozen pitch.  The address of the ground is Hillgrounds Leisure, Hillgrounds Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK42 8SZ and kick-off is 7.45 p.m.  It is a trip up the M1 to Junction 13 and then the A421 to the destination, about 60 miles all told.

Most of the junior sides were in action on Sunday and here are their results.  Particular congratulations go to Paul’s Under-13’s who beat Old Isleworthians by two goals to nil, to reach the semi-final of their County Cup

Michael U7s 3-4 Corinthian Casuals

Andy U9s 3-3 CB Hounslow

Matt U10s 8-0 Kew Park Rangers

Graham U11s 0-0 Doverhouse

Nelson U11s 5-0 Sutton United

Joe U12s 1-6 Doverhouse

Larry U13s 4-2 Surrey Predators

John U13s 1-6 Raynes Park

Paul U13s 2-0 Old Isworthian (county cup)

Craig U14s 2-4 Kew Park Rangers

Fin U14s 1-3 Worcester Park

Martin U15s 4-3 Ewell Saxons

Ben U16s 4-3 Dorking

Conor U16s 1-4 Worplesdon

Simon U16s 0-7 Hanworth  

 

Ashford Ladies were back to their usual form, beating Colne Valley Res by ten goals to nil and here is Will Boyes’s report:

Holly Isaacs put the Tangerines ahead with a trademark strike in the first minute of the game. Lavana Neufville doubled the lead soon after when she flicked in Laura Huse's volley from a Vicky James corner.

 

Sequoia Belworthy joined in on the action after great play from Neufville on the right who produced a pinpoint cross for Belworthy to virtually run the ball into the net.

 

Charmaine Benham along with the her central teammates always looked a threat when driving forward so when Benham delivered a cross from deep for Isaacs running in from the left, it was inevitable she was to get her second of the game.

 

Belworthy popped up again in the box to score the fifth goal of the game.

 

H/T: 5-0

 

Colne Valley came out in the second half a rejuvenated side and began to take the game to the home side forcing saves from Lauren Restel in the Ashford goal.

 

Restel's distribution continued to impress and when she found Benham who combined with James and Mills before playing through Belworthy the young striker maintained her composure to score her first ever hatrick in Ashford colours.

 

Neufville scored a delightful goal after rolling her marker before smashing home another, the excellent Benham drove through the Valley Reserves defence to grab another before Neufville completed her hatrick.

Samara Phillips-Hines scored late on to round off a comfortable victory for Ashford Ladies.

 

Ashford's dominance this season has been almost total, with only four points dropped in the entire league campaign to date.

 

F/T: 10-0

 

LINEUP: L Restel, J Boye, B Sheehan, N Jacobs, L Huse, V James, S Phillips-Hines, C Benham, H Isaacs, L Neufville, S Belworthy  SUBS: T Mills

 

The Sunday Men’s Social team lost 2-5 to Armenian Youth FC.

 

Finally the Under-18’s are away this evening (Monday) to Hayes & Yeading

 

With the cold snap hopefully gone or going, football should be able to take place once more at Short Lane on Saturday when the visitors will be Arlesey Town from Bedfordshire.

Our opponents will arrive in 19th place in the table.  Their last outing was on 10th January when they drew one apiece at Kempston.  The two league matches before that saw them suffer 0-2 defeats at the hands of Uxbridge and Royston respectfully.  We travelled to Arlesey in the early part of the season and managed to win by three goals to nil, our scorers being Scott Weight, Jack Beadle and Mark Bitmead.

Kick-off tomorrow is 3.00 p.m.

There will be more on the web site tomorrow morning about our other teams in action this weekend.

This evening's Ryman Youth League match at home to Aldershot Town U18 has been postponed due to the ongoing frozen pitch.

With the weather due to warm up a bit towards the weekend, we anticipate that Saturday's match at home to Arlesey Town will go ahead as normal.

A live band Purple#9 will be performing at the club on Friday evening from 8.00 p.m. on in what we hope will become a regular feature.  They are a local band with an excellent reputation and all members and guests are welcome.  Entry is entirely FREE and there will be some bar deals on the night.

Please come down and enjoy yourself.

 

Three of our junior sides have made excellent progress in their various County Cups, with two having reached the semi-finals and one the quarter finals.

Andy Ollerenshaw has kindly produced a summary as the matches they face as shown below:

Paul's under U13s 

They play Old Isworthians away in the quarter final on Sunday 29th, this is the third attempt to play this match, each time getting postponed due to the weather and pitch condition - we hope that on Sunday the lads can finally put this match to bed.  The winners will play Parkfield Youth away on the 12th Feb and if they come through these two games they could face a possible final against Hanwell, Wheatstone or Brookhouse on the 2nd April. 

Fin & Lees U14s

They are through to the semifinal after an impressive 4-2 away win to Pinner United,  their opposition in the semi final are Ruislip Rangers who they will play away on the 12th Feb.  If they are successful in that match their opposition for the final will be Sandgate or Hampton youth - again on the 2nd April. 

Ben's U16s 

After winning their quarter final against Teddington they will now face the winners of the match between CB Hounslow or Conquest in the semi final, with this match  scheduled to be played on the 12th Feb at home.  If they are successful in this semi final match they will face the winners of the other semi final (Bedfont or Acton) - game scheduled for a 19:30KO on the 30th March.

At 3.00 p.m. this afternoon the pitch remained frozen and as a precaution we have arranged for an official inspection on Saturday morning.  A further message will be put out once there has been a decision.

Ashford look forward to the visit of league leaders Royston Town to Short Lane on Saturday.

Our opponents enjoyed an impressive sounding victory over 2nd placed Farnborough on Tuesday evening but not very long ago we came close at Royston, hauling ourselves back from three down to make it three apiece, only to concede two more in the closing minutes.

Past form against our opponents does not make great reading for Ashford supporters as we have yet to win in five previous encounters, the two previous home matches resulting in a 1-1 draw in the 2012-2013 season, our goal coming from Kofi Lockhart-Adams, and a 0-2 defeat in season 2013-2014.

The squad has been boosted this week by the signing of two players on loan from Barnet FC, namely Theo Alexis and Nathan Dennis.  Theo is a physical central midfielder whilst Dennis is a pacey full back.  We welcome them both to Short Lane.

Kick-off is at 3.00 p.m. as usual and here are all the junior fixtures on Sunday:

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

Martin U15s v Epsom & Ewell 10am

John U13s v Kew Park Rangers 11.30am

Fin U14s v Kings Park 1pm

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Simon U16s v Ashtead 10am

Ben U16s v Croygas 11.30am

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 1

Cass U8s v Walton & Hersham 10am

Michael U7s v CB Hounslow 11am

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 2

Steve U8s v CB Hounslow 11am

Neil U8s v Esher Wizards 12pm

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Andy U9s v Mitcham Park 10am

Chris U8s v Walton & Hersham 11am

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch

Joe U12s v Corinthian 10am

Graham U11s v AFC Walcountians 11am

Kirk U11s v Halliford 12pm

Ashford Town – Outfield

Larry U13s v Spelthorne 12.30

Away Games

Bill U8s v Sutton United

Matt U9s v FC Sunbury

Rhys U9s v Kew Association

Ryan U9s v Sheen Lions

Nelson U11s v Molesey

Paul U13s v Old Isworthians (County Cup)

Craig U14s v Stoneleigh

 

In addition, the Ladies will be at home on Sunday afternoon to Putney Vale in the Greater London Women’s League, kick-off 2.00 p.m. whilst the Sunday men are due to be away to NLO FC at Northwick Park

 

Ashford departed this season’s Middlesex Senior Cup competition on Tuesday evening, losing 2-3 to Hanworth Villa.

On an unexpectedly frosty surface, given that the thermometer was not due to hit zero until 4.00 in the morning, Ashford and Villa fought out what could reasonably be deemed an end to end contest, a penalty kick for Villa shortly after the resumption effectively clinching victory for the away side, who will now meet Hampton in the semi-final.

Max Webb and Tommy Brunton were given a rest, no doubt with Saturday’s big match at home to Royston in mind.  The early play was frantic and it was a surprise that nobody was able to break the deadlock until the 31st minute, when Villa’s Jesse Atiase took full advantage of a void at the back to put his side ahead.  Within minutes though, Kam English had equalised and well done to him for his persistence.  Put through by Dan Fleming, he went round the keeper but then stumbled over the ball and it looked as if the chance had gone but Kam recovered well, got back on his feet and slammed home.

Just two minutes later though Tom Neale put his side ahead for the second time but with barely time to breathe Ashford equalised again, a short corner kick leading to a cross to the far post, powerfully headed in by Scott Weight for his first goal of the season.

One hoped that Ashford might now go on to take the initiative, especially as some of their approach play was impressive but the Villains, who are a strong outfit this season, had other ideas and took the lead for the third time on 52 minutes, from the spot, scorer Jack Buckle.  It was impossible to see from the far end why the penalty was awarded but it was telling that there seemed to be very few arguments.

The remainder of the match saw Ashford frantically trying to notch a third equaliser which on the balance of possession they probably deserved, but chances that were flying in earlier in the season now seem to be flying just over or wide instead, or the opposition keeper makes a great save, or, as in this case, the referee points to the spot and then changes his mind and gives the foul outside the area which it probably was.

Let it also be stated that Villa, although under the cosh at times, still made chances of their own, one header in particular bringing a wonder save from Tyler Tobin in goal.  Indeed whether it was the need to push forward that caused it but there was a point where it seemed that whenever the visitors broke they were getting through the home defence with alarming ease at times.

It would be hard to criticise anyone for effort on a very cold evening but for the writer, the stand-out Ashford player was Bayley Mummery who showed both tenacity and no little skill throughout the match, whilst Kam English also produced some telling runs at times.

Ashford are something of an enigma at the moment, still producing some excellent football at times but without getting the results.  They certainly made enough chances last night, but are just not making them count at the moment.  Bad luck and some poor refereeing decisions have not always helped but the earlier part of this season amply demonstrated that Ashford can compete well at Step 4 and it is time to re-prove it with the opportunity to do so on Saturday when league leaders Royston Town come to Short Lane.  They enjoyed an emphatic win (5-0) over Farnborough yesterday evening and will be perhaps the toughest competitors that we will face over the remainder of this season.  It will obviously be a tall order against a powerful side at this level but It does not need saying that a win for the Tangerines would lift any despondency and without doubt, would be a springboard for the remainder of the season.

The Under-18’s are due to travel to meet Hendon U18 this evening (Wednesday) at Silver Jubilee Park in the Ryman Youth League unless the weather steps in.

Other news is that we now lose Alex Fisher for a while as he has to undergo an operation not connected with football and we wish him well and hope to see him back as soon as possible.  We also extend huge thanks to Ginge from the Juniors whose latest contribution has seen a third television put up in the bar.  His next self-stated task is to build a new trophy cabinet, just in case!

There is a break from league action on Tuesday evening when Ashford will entertain Hanworth Villa in the Quarter-Final of the Middlesex Senior Cup.

The postponement of Saturday’s league encounter at AFC Kempston will mean that Ashford will be ready and raring to go and the writer is advised that Romario Jonas will be back from injury and in the squad which is great news.  Villa, under the control of Rufus Brevett, will be no push overs, that’s for certain, standing as they do, in 3rd place in the CCL and fresh from a solitary goal victory over Epsom & Ewell on Saturday.  That goal was scored by Cyril Ocansey who had a spell at Short Lane, playing in 21 matches for us in the 13-14 season.

We have some pedigree in the Middlesex Senior Cup, our best run coming in the 2012-2013 season when we reached the Final, losing 0-2 to Staines Town at Uxbridge, whereas last season an epic battle away to Enfield Town eventually saw us going out by 6 goals to 4 after extra time.

The match kicks off at 7.45 p.m. and if the scores are level after 90 minutes, we go straight to penalties as there is no longer any extra time in this competition.

Two of our junior sides reached the semi-finals of their respective County Cups yesterday, namely Ben’s Under-16’s who will now play at home to CB Hounslow U16 or Conquest U16 in the semi-final on 12 February, and Fin’s U-14’s whose 4-2 win at Pinner will see them making a similar journey in their semi-final away to Ruislip Rangers on the same day.

Fin’s Under-13’s Quarter Final match is now next Sunday away to Old Isleworthians. 

All of yesterday’s junior results are shown below:

Michael U7s 7-2 Bedfont Eagles

Cass U8s 5-5 Bedfont Eagles

Bill U8s 3-1 Hampton Youth

Neil U8s 7-2 Claygate

Andy U9s 0-6 Kew Association

Matt U10s 1-2 Halliford

Graham U11s 4-3 CB Hounslow

Fin U14s 4-2 Pinner (County Cup)

Martin U15s 3-2 Victoria

Ben U16s 1-0 Teddington (County Cup) 

The Sunday Social side sustained a heavy defeat 3-11 away to Heston Celtic whilst the Ladies’ match away to Greenhouse Sports was postponed.  They are due to be back at Short Lane next Sunday (22 Jan) at home to Putney Vale Ladies.  A belated well done to Ashley Cheatley and Lavana Neufvill who were selected to represent the Middlesex FA Rep Squad in their recent Southern Counties Cup Tie against Kent FA, which Kent won 4-3 after being three down.  Needless to mention, Ashley was on the scorers’ sheet, notching two of the three Middlesex goals.

A new innovation will see music at Ashford one Friday evening every month.  More information to follow shortly.

There is to be a pitch inspection at Kempston at 10.15 a.m. to see if the game can go ahead

The toughest looking away trips, judging by league positions, are all coming at once and on Saturday, Ashford visit Kempston Rovers, currently in 5th place.

The address of the ground is Hillgrounds Leisure, Hillgrounds Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK42 8SZ.  It is a journey of 60 miles up the M1, leaving the motorway at Junction 13 on to the A421.  Given the current weather, there may be a doubt about the match but the local forecast suggests that it will hover close to freezing overnight or just below, rising to 4 degrees by kick-off time, 3.00 p.m., so hopefully the match will go ahead.  If you want to check, best phone the club beforehand as it may not be possible to update the website.  Ashford’s clubhouse number is 01784 245908 whilst Kempston’s is 01234 852346.

We have only played Kempston once before, which was last season when we enjoyed a narrow victory by a goal to nil in the FA Cup.  They were then known as AFC Kempston but have now dropped the AFC tag.  Mark Bitmead scored the vital goal in that match and both of us were then promoted at the end of last season.  Kempston have done very well this campaign but like ourselves they have not enjoyed the best of results in January, a defeat at home to Barton (0-2) followed by two 1-1 draws, away to Hanwell Town and at home to Arlesey Town on Tuesday.   

Congratulations go to Alex Fisher who made his 150th competitive appearance for Ashford on Tuesday at Marlow, just 7 days after his 21st birthday.

There is the usual host of junior fixtures on Sunday with three of our sides playing in the quarter finals of their various County Cups, so we wish them particular good luck.  All the junior games are below and please note that kick-off time for Ben’s Under-16’s at home to Teddington in the County Cup is now 11.30 a.m. and not 10.30 as previously advised.

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

John U13s v Worcester Park 10am

Conor U16s v Camberley Town 11.30am

Martin U15s v Victoria 1pm

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Ben U16s v Teddington 10.30 (County Cup)

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 2

Cass U8s v Bedfont Eagles 10am

Bill U8s v Hampton Youth 11am

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Matt U10s v Barnes Eagles 10.30am 

Ryan U9s v Bracknell Town 12pm

Ashford Town – Outfield

Simon U16s v Waddon Wanderers 10am

Craig U14s v Hampton Youth 11.30am

Away Games

Michael U7s v Bedfont Eagles

Chris U8s v Bedfont Eagles

Neil U8s v Claygate

Steve U8s v Bedfont Eagles

Andy U9s v Kew Association

Matt U9s v Raynes Park

Rhys U9s v SCR Colts

Matt U10s v Halliford

Graham U11s v CB Hounslow

Kirk U11s v Carshalton

Nelson U11s v Claygate

Joe U12s v Chertsey Town

Larry U13s v Kingstonian

Paul U13s v Old Isworthians (County Cup)

Fin U14s v Pinner United (County Cup)

The Ladies are back to league action on Sunday and will play away to Greenhouse Sports in the Greater London Women’s League, kick-off 2.00 p.m.  The Sunday Men’s team play away to Heston Celtic at Cranford School, kick-off 10.30 a.m.

 

 

 

This evening's Ryman Youth League match away to Wealdstone has been postponed as the pitch is waterlogged.

The League Cup semi-final, 1st leg, Southampton  v  Liverpool will be showing at the club

On the balance of possession Ashford were unlucky to sustain a 0-1 defeat at Marlow on Tuesday evening.

The match was effectively won by the home side by a whirlwind start, during which they forced a number of early corners and from one of them Ashford conceded to go one down within two minutes of the kick-off.  Inevitably the match evened up but real opportunities for either side were at a premium.  Kam English in particular looked dangerous at times but the final ball against a ruggedly efficient Marlow defence was just not quite there.

The second half saw Max Webb off the field with a knock and Mark Bitmead also had to be substituted soon afterwards.  Hopefully both will be OK for the weekend.  Harry Herdman and Max Herbert were their capable deputies and the longer the match wore on, the greater possession Ashford enjoyed but the goal would not come as Marlow continued to defend capably.  There was any amount of time wasting but Ashford’s main chance came when Bailey Mummery appeared to be blatantly tripped in the penalty area but the appeals were waived away.  You sometimes wonder just what officials think they see, this being a raw subject for Ashford at the moment following the huge refereeing howler at Farnborough.

Ashford piled more and more men forward at the end leaving them vulnerable to the counter attack but Marlow stood solid and a match that had one or two unpleasant overtones ended with some handbags that threatened to overspill.

This has been a frustrating period for the Tangerines recently with big decisions going against them, not helped by the fixture list which has seen us playing away to the top three clubs in succession.  That sequence rather continues on Saturday when we visit 5th placed Kempston Rovers for the first time ever.  More on that one later in the week.

Against a good team, Ashford fought out a 1-1 draw at home to Bedford Town on Saturday.

Ashford looked very lively at the start and went ahead on just five minutes when Mark Bitmead and Dan Fleming combined to send Kam English in.  Kam still had plenty to do but Ashford’s on-form player made light of it as he planted the ball firmly in the net.

The visitors started to come into the match but had hardly threatened until they levelled the scores on 18 minutes.  Ashford conceded a daft free kick wide on the right and a fairly straightforward cross allowed Bedford’s unmarked Lee Roache to  head home from close range.  From Ashford’s point of view it was a poor goal to concede although a good enough header.

After that the match was fairly even for the rest of the half with plenty of effort but definite goal scoring opportunities were relatively limited.  The second half continued in much the same vein although Ashford certainly improved their possession percentage.  As the game drew to a close, a fairly soft foul on Scott Weight saw the Tangerines awarded a penalty but unfortunately Dan Fleming, after two impressive penalties in recent weeks, got underneath the ball and it went over the top.

There were further scares and opportunities at both ends, with Tyler Tobin excelling on more than one occasion, whilst his counterpart in goal for the Eagles looked equally solid.  In the boardroom at least, both sides agreed that it was a fair result overall.

The vote for “Ashford man of the match” went to Samad Kazi by a significant margin, for an immaculate display at the back bot others also played well, not least Mark Bitmead, who has suffered something of a slump in the goal scoring stakes recently by his own standards but he worked his socks off for the team, popping up at left back on one occasion to clear a dangerous situation.

Player news is that goalkeeper Kav Keadall has gone to Spelthorne Sports to ensure he remains active but by agreement we have retained his registration.  Also it is understood that Romario Jonas is back in training after dislocating his shoulder two months ago.  Max Herbert was unwell on Saturday.

Ashford now face two very tough away matches, firstly at Marlow on Tuesday evening and then Kempston Rovers on Saturday.  The address of the Marlow ground is The Alfred Davies Ground, Oak Tree Road, Marlow, SL7 3ED.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m. and hopefully the traffic will be less severe than it was when we went there shortly before Christmas only for the referee to postpone the match due to a frozen surface.  Marlow have done well in recent months despite losing at home to Egham on Saturday and currently sit in 5th place in the table.  We did enjoy a fairly convincing win against them at Short Lane early in the season though.

The Under-18's are in action this midweek and will be playing at Wealdstone on Wednesday evening in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

The majority of our junior sides are also continuing to do well and here are yesterday’s results:

Chris U8s 4-2 Manorcroft

Andy U9s 3-1 Walton

Joe U12s 1-6 Caterham Pumas

Larry U13s 4-1 Halliford

John U13s 4-3 AFC Ewell

Paul U13s 0-1 Caterham

Fin U14s 5-2 Shelton Athletic

Martin U15s 2-1 SCR Colts

Ben U16s 6-2 Barnes Eagles

Conor U16s 1-2 Binfield

Simon U16s 1-12 NPL 

Next Sunday no less than three of our sides have reached the quarter finals of their County Cup.  Paul’s Under-13’s will be away to Old Isleworthians, whilst Fin’s Under-14’s will be away to Pinner United.  Ben’s Under-16’s though will be playing at home to Teddington with the match taking place at the Cricket Club, kicking off at 10.30 a.m.

The Ladies suffered a rare defeat yesterday losing 3-4 to Hemel Hempstead in the John Greenacre Trophy.  Ashford’s scorers were Laura Huse, Vicky James and Irisha Smith. Next Sunday the Ladies play away to Greenhouse Sports in the Greater London Women’s League.

 

 

The sending-off suffered by Will Boye at Farnborough on Monday, and which changed the game, has been rescinded by the FA and he will not now have to serve a suspension.  We don’t get another chance at the match itself of course and Will would have missed just one game but at least the injustice of the dismissal has been righted to an extent.

The referee claimed that Will tripped his opponent  but a crystal clear video of the incident shows without a shadow of doubt that Will never even got close to the player he allegedly tripped.

 

Please note that this evening's Ryman Youth match at home to Camberley Town U18 has been postponed.

The club though will be open as usual, with the Tottenham v Chelsea match showing on TV.

Ten man Ashford sustained a narrow defeat at Farnborough on Monday, losing by 2 goals to 1.

Unlike the match at Royston recently when Ashford could just not get themselves going in the first half, this game was entirely different as the Tangerines looked every bit as decent as their top of the table opponents.  Sadly though referee Desborough took a hand in the proceedings quite early on, an unusual incident resulting in central defender Will Boye being sent off for something he didn’t do.

There was a mix-up between Boye and keeper Tyler Tobin which looked initially as if would result in ex-Camberley player Perry Coles putting the ball into an empty net.  As Tobin came rushing out though, there was a collision between him and Coles, who had slipped, on the edge of the area but Boye had absolutely nothing to do with it.  He made no contact with either player and Ashford have appealed against the referee’s decision to the FA.  The collision was as a result of Coles slipping and there is irrefutable evidence.

The reduction to ten men did not initially trouble Ashford.  The whole side were fired up with the injustice of what had occurred and for quite some time they took the game to Farnborough and took the lead when Mark Bitmead found Kam English who strode forward and hit a rocket past Aaron Bufton in the Farnborough goal.

The Tangerines remained comfortable at half-time and could have doubled their advantage immediately after the resumption, when Bitmead beat the advancing Bufton and lobbed him only to see the ball go tantalisingly wide of the goal.

However, it was inevitable that a talented side like Farnborough would make their advantage tell and so it proved with an equaliser soon afterwards when in a messy goalmouth scramble Dan Fleming ended up putting the ball into his own net.  For the remainder of the match, it was a case of repelling boarders as Farnborough pushed hard for a second goal and it arrived on 72 minutes when Nic Ciardini headed home.

Farnborough were able to relax and Ashford pushed forward in a desperate attempt to equalise but it was not to be.  At the conclusion, it was another “magnificent” defeat but a loss nonetheless and Ashford really do need to turn their generally decent football into points.   The effort from the squad though in this match was superb and cannot be faulted and Ashford will hope to take this into the home match on Saturday against Bedford Town.

In the meantime, Ashford U18’s entertain Camberley Town U18 this evening (Wednesday) in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.45 p.m. whilst at the same time the big Premiership match between Tottenham and Chelsea will be on in the clubhouse.

 

In all the four previous encounters between the clubs, Ashford have won the lot but a rare off day coupled with a determined display from the visitors saw the points shared on this occasion and nobody could complain about the result overall.

Indeed the visitors, after taking a 14th minute lead from the spot courtesy of Dan Harding, following a clumsy tackle by Samad Kazi, should have really capitalised upon any number of chances in the first half, many created by the fleet footed Elijah Ogunseye, a thorn in the side of Ashford’s defenders all afternoon.  That said, it was not complete domination by any means and when they got free both Mark Bitmead and Perry Luckins, standing in up front for the unavailable Dan Fleming, caused some problems but it was not the sparkling display from Ashford that supporters had got used to in recent weeks.

The second half though saw Ashford re-asserting themselves to some extent and it took just five minutes for Luckins to drill home following a good move.  The hope was that the Tangerines would now go on to score a few more and for a while it looked as if they might do just that.  Chances weren’t going in though as they have been in recent weeks and Colliers Wood, always a threat up front, were no spent force and Ashford also had to do some serious defending of their own at times.  In the end though there were no further goals and a point apiece was probably the fairest result.

Talking points were the continuing excellence of Ashford’s pitch, when all around are suffering yet more postponements which are threatening to turn the League into something of a farce if things don’t turn round soon.

Referee  Jacquart, after a good first half, seemed to get very fussy in the second period which caused some frustration at times.  Kazi’s first half foul which led to the penalty which some queried certainly didn’t seem to merit the yellow card he picked up and maybe the referee was conscious of that a bit later when the same player was again a bit clumsy and could easily have picked up a second one, which he avoided, so some credit goes to the official for common sense on that occasion, as it wasn’t the sort of match where anyone needed to be dismissed.  The usual supporters’ “Ashford Man of the Match” went to Scott Weight, who received most of the votes.

No club wins every match they play but Ashford’s long unbeaten run in league matches now stretches to eleven games, nine of which have been won, so one slightly below par performance will not dent the ever growing “good” feeling around the club.

Neither will the unwelcome draw we received from Middlesex FA for the semi-final of the Senior Cup, in which we have to travel to Enfield Town, the highest placed club left in the competition, instead of the game we wanted, at home to neighbours Staines Town.  We understand that the match will be on Tuesday 23 February and if that is the case our 1st Team match away to Sutton Common Rovers on Monday 22 February will have to be further re-arranged, but more of that once we know for certain.

There are no midweek matches this week for either the 1st Team or the Under-18’s so the next Ashford outing is not until Saturday when we travel to meet Badshot Lea FC at Ash United, where they ground share.  More on that one later in the week.

Finally, huge congratulations to our Ladies’ side who last week clinched their Divisional title in the Greater London Women’s League last week with a 7-1 win over London Phoenix Ladies.  Earlier today they shared a 3-3 draw with second placed Hammersmith Starz.  The writer is not sure what happens now as they have completed their league fixtures:  hopefully there is some form of supplementary competition.  They also still have the Middlesex Junior Women’s Cup left in which they have reached the quarter finals but don’t know yet who they will be playing.

Good also to see a number of our ladies at the Race Night on Friday and huge thanks to Korea Foods for such great sponsorship of the evening including their delicious food.  Thanks also to Ben Murray and Nick Bailey for organising the event and to everyone who attended and helped us make a few pennies.

Just in case of any doubt, the pitch is in excellent condition for this afternoon’s match and the game is definitely ON

It’s back to the League today after the excitement of Tuesday’s win over Harrow Borough and there can be no room for complacency against a Colliers Wood side who have generally been in very good form recently, until spoilt by Camberley last Saturday, who left Wibbandune with a 4-1 victory.  Prior to that though our visitors this afternoon had won five matches in succession.  That run has seen them up to 7th place in the table, albeit that they have played more games than others around them.

We visited Colliers Wood in October and won a very tight match, riding our luck at times, by two goals to one, courtesy of Max Webb and a penalty from Alex Fisher, although we can point to a refereeing error that might otherwise have seen us score a third goal, when the official pulled play back for a free kick to us in the centre circle, with Jack Beadle in possession with only the keeper to beat, which he may or may not have done, of course.

We have a good recent record against our opponents but we have rarely met over the years, last season being the first time we locked horns in a league match.

The draw for the semi-final of the Middlesex Senior Cup is being broadcast live on radio this evening, at approximately 5.30 p.m. from Crystal Palace soon after the end of their match.  It will be on  94.9 FM. 

Like our opponents, we are reasonably well up with our fixtures and there is no midweek match for the 1st Team this coming week.  Next Saturday though we travel to Badshot Lea, who play at Ash United, and those who were there last season will remember the rather heavy condition of the pitch on the day.  There have been plenty of postponements at the ground this season so hopefully the wet weather will relent a little as we go into February.  We are not so badly off but some clubs are still a long way from completing even half their fixtures so they face a busy March and April, that’s for sure.

This evening’s Ryman Youth League match away to Northwood U18 has been postponed, due to their pitch being waterlogged.

With all games passed fit to play after a dreadful two weeks of weather we were finally able to get some games on at the club last Sunday.

Nelsons under 10s put on a fine display by beating local lads Hanworth in a convincing 8-1 win, very proud of the lads as they were newly formed this season and are now starting to click.

Next up Matts under 8s gave all supporters a fantastic match to watch beating Sheen Lions 10-8, after going behind by 2 quick goals the lads found their feet and quickly regained the lead and eventually took control, 18 goals in 40 minutes of football see our lads take all three points.

Matts under 9s was for me the game of the day, end to end stuff with some real quality football on display, we were all on the edge of our seat throughout the match as this could have gone either way, such a tight and nervous game which eventually see us take all three points after scoring a late goal to make the game finish 4-3, credit to both sides for putting on such an entertaining match.

On the same pitch see Grahams under 10s progress into the semi-final of the league cup by beating local side Spelthorne Sports by the same score line 4-3, fantastic advert once again for junior football, well done to Graham and his boys.

Tommy’s under 7s entertained Bedfont Eagles in another fast paced entertaining game, Bedfont came away with the win, at under 7s the score line is the least important thing, progression, enjoyment and development is what we look at, and watching our young lads play I can see that the team and Tommy as a young coach is improving week by week.

Conors under 15s were knocked out of the county cup at the quarter final stage by 3 goals to 1. After the match was abandoned last week due to an unplayable pitch the team made their way to Wembley again to get the fixture played, with 8 minutes on the clock the score was 1-1 but after conceding two late goals we were eventually knocked out. It was a fantastic achievement from our lads to reach this stage of the competition and as a club we are very proud of them, we wish Wembley all the luck in the semi-final. 

A huge congratulations to Will and our Ladies side who have been confirmed champions of their league, well done to all involved, we also welcome Neil and his new under 7s to our club who will be playing their first fixture this Sunday as young Tangerines. 

Fixtures Sunday 31 January

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

Conor U15s v Leatherhead 11.30

Carl U17s v Lyne 1pm

 

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Ben U15s v Met Police 11.30

Fin U13s v Meadow Sports 1pm

 

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

No fixtures  

 

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Bill U7s v NPL Youth 10am

Neil U7s v Taplow Youth 11.15

Andy U8s v Hampton Rangers 12.30

 

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Graham U10s v Whitton Wanderers 12pm

 

Ashford Town – Outfield

Sunday Men v Bedfont & Feltham 10.30  

 

Ashford Town Stadium

Ladies v Hammersmith 2pm

 

Away Games

Tommy U7s v CB Hounslow

Matt U8s v Halliford Colts

Matt U9s v Carshalton

Nelson U10s v Spelthorne

Larry U12s v FC Sunbury

Craig U13s v Croygas

Martin U14s v SCR Colts

Marco U15s v Rushmoor 

 

 

 

You can follow Ashford on Facebook - Ashford Town (Middlesex) Supporters and on Twitter - @ashfordtownmx

Not only have we made progress in the Middlesex Senior Cup, we have now been given a walkover into the Quarter Final of the Middlesex Charity Cup as our intended opponents North Greenford United have withdrawn from the competition due to ongoing problems with their pitch, which has seen them with a huge backlog of matches.

We shall now meet either Harrow Borough or Enfield Town on a date to be decided.

The draw for the Senior Cup is due to be made on Saturday live on BBC London, at Crystal Palace FC, immediately after their match against Stoke in the FA Cup, although this is subject to final confirmation.

A workmanlike performance from the Tangerines on Tuesday evening saw them safely into the semi-final of the Middlesex Senior Cup, with a 3-0 defeat of Harrow Borough.

The draw has yet to be made we understand, but we will be playing one of, Northwood or Spelthorne Sports, Staines Town or Enfield Town.  As soon as it is available it will be shown on here.

Manager Ben Murray gave skipper Russell Canderton a rest and re-introduced Samad Kazi, unavailable last Saturday, into the starting line up.  With Perry Luckins cup-tied, Ilia Perovic came in on the bench.  Otherwise the starting line-up was unchanged with Max Webb still nursing a niggle.

On an evening when most of the CCL programme, including all six scheduled league matches, was wiped out, Ashford’s pitch once again rose to the occasion and was in nigh perfect condition.

In the first half Harrow played with the wind largely behind them although it was swirling about at times and it was gusty rather than sustained.  With the forecast being that it would strengthen through the evening, Ashford knew that if they could negotiate the first half safely, they would be more likely to be able to exert a greater pressure in the second period.

A poor foul on Dan Fleming just three minutes in saw the offender escape with a lecture, doubtless because it was so early on, but both sides played football throughout and at times it really was a pleasure to watch.  The visitors had the greater share of possession but Tyler Tobin, whose handling of a greasy ball was impressive throughout, was not unduly troubled.  Fleming had Ashford’s first effort of note just after the 20 minute mark but the competent Harrow keeper was more than up to it.  As the match progressed, Ashford enjoyed more of the ball and the level scoreline at the break was about right.

The second period continued in the same vein but it took two special saves from the keeper to deny firstly Fleming, whose angled low curler had looked destined to go in at the far post, and then Will Boye whose header was pushed over the top.

The match remained relatively even but Ashford were more than holding their own against their Step 3 opponents and made the breakthrough on 68 minutes.  It was Bailey Mummery who scored it, being put through albeit via a slight deflection and steering the ball wide of the keeper for an exquisite finish.

Harrow went looking for an equaliser and Ashford had to defend one or two dangerous free kicks in particular around the penalty area.  That said, Murray’s men continued generally to enjoy as much possession as their visitors and as the match went into stoppage time and the tension grew, it was relieved by a Jack Beadle special.  With Borough having little option but to press forward, Ashford counter-attacked and Jack had time to look up and plant his effort into the roof of the net giving the keeper no chance.

With referee Herb’s watch seemingly having stopped, the match went on, and on, but it was to Ashford’s advantage as Mark Bitmead put the icing on the cake with an effort that matched Beadle’s all the way.

Mr. Herb, who actually had a very good game, finally blew his whistle and Ashford were in the semi-final for the first time since the 2012-2013 season when they reached the Final.  The scoreline of 3-0 was slightly flattering given the two very late goals but there was no denying that Ashford had matched a skilful side, who played good football, all the way.  It would be very difficult to pick anyone out as the whole team were as one but the supporter vote for “Ashford Man of the Match” went to the versatile Samad Kazi.

We now look forward to the visit of Colliers Wood United on Saturday.  There is no room for complacency as on their day they are an excellent side with plenty of pace, and strikers who know how to finish in Mario Embalo and Dan Harding, the latter incidentally the current top scorer in the League.  Whether our visitors can match that attacking prowess at the back is maybe less certain but it would be a foolish man who bets on a nil-nil draw on Saturday.  More on the game later in the week.

The Under-18’s are due to be in action on Thursday evening, away to Northwood in the Ryman Youth League.  Northwood’s 1st team match was postponed on Tuesday because the pitch was waterlogged so there is a doubt.  Once we know for certain, the information will be put on the web site.

Finally, don’t forget we have our Race Night on Friday evening.  With sponsors for every race and all the horses sold, it should be a good night and should raise plenty of funds.  Hope to see everyone there.     

 

As at 3.30 p.m. the pitch for this evening’s match at home to Harrow Borough is fine with very little rain falling at the moment if any.

In the event of a monsoon later on, match referee Andrew Herb is standing by to do a pitch inspection at short notice but we expect the match to go ahead.

Ashford Ladies were back to winning ways on Sunday as they put in a dominant performance to beat London Phoenix  7-1 at the John Ronan Playing Fields and in so doing, clinch the championship of their Division in the Greater London Women's League.

After experiencing defeat for the first time this season in their last outing, Ashford were determined to turn things around and did just that when Ashley Cheatley played through Charmaine Benham to open the scoring.  The front two repeated their combination minutes after however Benham could only fire over as the goalkeeper came rushing out.

London Phoenix fired back with a goal to bring the scoreline level but top goalscorer Cheatley grabbed two goals before setting up Irisha Smith for her first in as many games.

The teams returned in the second half when Frida Larsson and Lavana Neufville were introduced to the game. Neufville then grabbed her first before the player of the match achieved her milestone of 50 goals in all competitions for Ashford!

Ashford ran out 7-1 winners in this very one sided affair

The next game sees the Tangerines back at home against Hammersmith Starz which is due to be a very entertaining game.  This is on Sunday this week and should be an excellent match with the visitors in 2nd place.  Kick-off is 2.00 p.m. so why not come along (no charge) and welcome the champions home.

The Ladies have also reached the Quarter-Final of the Middlesex County Capital Womens’ Cup in which they have been drawn at home to either Greenhouse Sports Ladies or Tower Hamlets Ladies.  Assuming the previous round has been resolved, this game is due to take place on Sunday 21 February.

LINEUP: L Restel, C McGregor, L Huse, A Luzar, J Boyd, T Prior, C Samuels, A O’Sullivan, I Smith, C Benham, A Cheatley

SUBS: F Larsson, L Neufville

CAP: A Luzar

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: A Cheatley

 

Before commenting upon yesterday’s match at Short Lane, may we send our best wishes to anyone injured in the car crash which happened right outside the ground about 20 minutes before kick-off.  Our belated understanding is that a car was waiting to turn right into the stadium but that a collision ensued as another car came in the opposite direction.  We would like to hear from any  Ashford supporters who were involved just to let us know that you are OK.

The match itself kicked off six minutes late and it was the visitors who made the first impression, especially an early through ball which should have seen them take the lead but the striker failed to shoot and was crowded out.

Just eight minutes in though Ashford went ahead with a goal of stunning simplicity.  Mark Bitmead got free on the right and squared it for Dan Fleming to tap home.

That goal threatened to open the floodgates as Ashford started to look as if they might score every time they attacked.  Fleming made it two on 18 minutes and Bitmead got his first on 21, both quality goals.

The visitors were arguing amongst themselves and looked in disarray for a while.  Then Ashford decided to give them a lifeline back into the match!  Alex Fisher who has been the epitome of reliability all season, not yet missing a single match, suddenly had a most unusual rush of blood to the head and made contact with an opponent with his foot in the penalty area whilst the ball was about to be cleared by Tyler Tobin in the Ashford goal who had it in his hands.

It could easily have been a red card.  Fortunately for Alex and Ashford, the referee only showed yellow but awarded the penalty quite correctly as the ball was still in play (he had not whistled when the contact was made) and Chessington duly took the opportunity to reduce the arrears.  That gave them some heart and they nearly pulled another one back soon afterwards with the incident having seemingly rattled the Tangerines.

There was no denying Ashford’s attacking threat though and as heads cleared it was Bitmead again who restored the three goal margin, to make it 4-1, on the stroke of half-time.

Chessington held out for a further 15 minutes at the beginning of the second period but then, three goals in six minutes just after the hour mark enabled Ashford supporters to relax for the last half an hour.  Needless to say, both Bitmead and Fleming completed their hatricks, in Fleming’s case for the second time in consecutive matches, the other coming from the returning Perry Luckins, within two minutes of coming off the bench.

With well over 20 minutes left, one wondered if Ashford might actually hit double figures but, doubtless with Tuesday’s Middlesex Senior Cup match in mind, manager Ben Murray withdrew both Fleming and Bitmead in favour of Bradley Wainwright and Joe Green.  Wainwright was his customary energetic self and had one great opportunity to score but his fierce effort was well saved and, to be fair to the visitors, they battled to the end, leaving 7-1 as the final score.

In the poll amongst supporters, the vote for “Ashford man of the match” went narrowly to Tommy Brunton, supreme in midfield yet again, but the award could have been shared amongst just about everyone, especially Dan Fleming, who may well be the first ever Ashford player to score hatricks in successive matches, (to be checked) and Mark Bitmead who actually had a hand in six of the seven goals.  At the back, Will Boye returned with a dominant performance and one could go on to mention just about everyone.

Our main rivals are showing similar consistency at the moment, with Hartley Wintney recording a 3-0 home win over AFC Hayes and Camberley enjoying  4-1 victory at Colliers Wood.  Epsom & Ewell though lost to a late goal at Windsor.

We now entertain Harrow Borough on Tuesday evening in the Quarter Final of the Middlesex Senior Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m. and whilst it is fair to say that we have proved ourselves to be a useful outfit at Step 5, it will be interesting to see how we stack up against a mid-table Step 3 side who enjoyed a good win on Saturday against promotion chasing Billericay Town.

Ashford Town Football Club are pleased to announce that we are holding our 10th annual tournament and we would be proud for you to be a part of its success. We anticipate after last years intake of 160 teams entered that you should book early to avoid disappointment.   

Car Parking will be available first come first served inside the ground, outside thereafter. Entry is £2.50 per adult payable at the gate, free entry for children. BBQ together with hot and cold beverages, etc will be available throughout the day. 

Registration: ALL teams to arrives 45 Minutes before the start of games.

Morning Sessions Kick off 9am both Saturday / Sunday ( Managers check in 8.15am )

Afternoon Sessions Kick off 14.00pm both Saturday / Sunday ( Managers check in 13.15pm ) 

Under 7's - Saturday 11-6-2016 AM ( 5 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 8's - Sunday 12-6-2016 AM ( 5 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 9's - Saturday 11-6-2016 AM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 10's - Sunday 12-6-2016 AM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 11's - Sunday 12-6-2016 PM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad 

Under 12's - Saturday 11-6-2016 PM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 13's - Sunday 12-6-2016 PM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 14's - Sunday 12-6-2016 PM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

Under 15's - Saturday 11-6-2016 PM ( 6 a-side ) Maximum 8 players per squad

All players MUST have ID card or Passport / Birth Certificate to confirm age for playing season 2015 / 2016.

No Academy teams ( Purely based on grass roots. All league teams welcome ) 

General Info :

Confirmation email will be sent on receipt of application.

Managers Packs will be sent to teams by 31st May. Clubs cancelling after 1st May will NOT be eligible for a refund but please bear in mind administration cost.

Entrance fee is £35.00 per team.

TOURNAMENT RULES FOR UNDER 7 TO UNDER 15

1. Managers should report to the control point with their team list at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the tournament. all players in a team must have been under the age of the relevant age group on 31st August 2016.

 2. Each team shall consist of up to 8 named players, not more than 6 of which are to be allowed on the pitch at any time. (Under 7 / 8 not more than 5 will be allowed on pitch) 

 3. “Roll on roll off” substitutions will apply throughout the event. A player may not play for more than one team in a particular age group. A player sent off during a game shall take no further part in the event. Bookings do not count in future games.

 4. A match ball (size 3) will be provided by the first named team for u7’s to u9’s. A match ball (size 4) will be provided by the first named team for u10’s to u14’s. A match ball (size 5) will be provided by the first named team for u15’s.  If in the referee’s opinion there is a strip clash, the second named team will change. Results of the games should be reported to the control point by the winning team or in the event of a draw, the first named team.

 5. Normal time for games will be made clear in the managers meeting. There will be no offside. Opposing team members shall retire at least 6 yards from any dead ball situation. Goal kicks shall be taken from the goal line, goalkeepers CANNOT score direct from a goal kick. Goalkeepers can NOT fly kick in normal play ( Under 7/8 fly kicks allowed ) .  All goal kicks will be taken from the goal line within the penalty area, with the exception of under 7’s + 8’s, where goal kicks will be taken from the edge of the penalty area. Goalkeepers are not permitted to kick the ball from their hands or by use of a drop kick, with the exception of U7’s + U8’s, where the goalkeepers can kick from their hands and by use of a drop kick. 

 6. Under 7’s + 8’s are non-competitive with no knockout as per the FA rules. Medals will be awarded to all participants. Unless otherwise stated in these Rules & Regulations, normal FA Mini Soccer Rules or FA Small Sided Football Laws (as appropriate to the age group) will apply. Under 7’s + 8’s will be in groups of six, playing a round robin with no knockout as per the FA rules

 7. In group games, 3 points are awarded for a win and 1 point is awarded for a draw. Should teams be equal on points in the group section, then the highest placed team is decided, in order of priority, by:

7a. Goal difference,

7b. Goals scored,

7c. Result between the equal teams

7d. A penalty shoot out, using any five players from each team. Should this still result in a draw, there will be sudden death penalties.

 8. Other than in the group games, a game which ends with the scores level at the end of normal time will play extra time in which Golden Goal will decide the winner. This will play for 5 minutes. Should this produce no goals, a penalty shoot out, in 6d above, will decide the result. The six players left on the field after extra time are the only players eligible to play in the Golden Goal extra time and penalty shootout.

 9. Except as above, normal FA laws apply and the decision of the referee on all points of play shall be final. Any disputed point, other than that of play, must be lodged with Control tent within 10 minutes of the game ending and shall be decided by the Tournament Supervisor, whose decision shall be final.

WHEN
Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM - Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 6:00 PM (BST) 
WHERE
Ashford Town Football Club - Short Lane Stanwell, Middlesex TW19 7BH

Ashford Town Tournament Commitee

Organizer of Ashford Town Football Club Grass Roots Tournament

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 07581 796462

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ashford are at home on Saturday to Chessington & Hook United in a CCL Premier Division match, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

The visitors on paper have endured something of a torrid time recently, having lost nine league matches in succession, their last win coming back on 27 October.  A closer look though reveals that several of those games were only settled by a one goal margin and the writer can report that Chessington looked fine at Chertsey last Saturday until they had their keeper sent off shortly before half-time.  In addition, when Ashford managed to just win a close encounter at Chalky Lane soon after the start of the season, the general view then was that we had managed to beat a very decent side indeed.  Ben Murray and his squad, therefore, will know better than to under-estimate their opponents in any way.

Murray should though have a full squad to pick from including the returning Perry Luckins and Ashford will go into the match with all the confidence that comes from only one defeat in eleven games.

We should like to congratulate Hartley Wintney upon joining Camberley Town in the 5th Round of the FA Vase last week with their victory over Bradford Town from the Western League, and also send our best wishes to Sutton Common Rovers who will hopefully be able to play their 4th Round tie away to Bowers & Pitsea from the Essex League tomorrow.

Hartley Wintney have arguably the toughest tie of all in the 5th Round, being drawn at home to favourites Hereford FC in their first season as a reformed club but if they can get over that hurdle, who knows how far they can go.  Camberley are still waiting to see which of two Northern League sides they will face but will also be at home.

In the League on Saturday Hartley Wintney are at home to AFC Hayes, whilst Camberley have possibly a tougher challenge being away at Colliers Wood United, who have been bang in form recently.  Epsom & Ewell are away to Windsor.

On Tuesday evening we will once again attempt to stage the home Middlesex Senior Cup match at home to Harrow Borough, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  Some rain is currently forecast for Tuesday evening, but thankfully no frost.

 

Junior Chairman Nick Bailey has provided a list of this coming Sunday’s junior fixtures as below, and we hope that with the thaw coming, all the matches will be played

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

FC Hatton 10.30

Craig U13s v Mitcham Park 12.30

 

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Conor U15s v Croygas 10.30

Ben U15s v Barnes Eagles 12.00

 

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

Larry U12s v Kingstonian 10.30 

 

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Matt U8s v Claygate 10.30

Tommy U7s v Bedfont Eagles 11.45

 

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Graham U10s v Spelthorne Sports 10am

Matt U9s v Sheen Lions 11.15

Nelson U10s v Hanworth Sports 12.30

 

Ashford Town – Outfield

Tim U16s v Abbey Rangers 10.30

Carl U17s v Burpham 12.30

 

Ashford Town Stadium

No Fixture  

 

Away Games

Billy U7s v Kingstonian

Andy U8s v Sheen Lions

Fin U13s v Manorcroft

Martin U14s v Epsom & Ewell

Gary Sunday Men v Bedfont & Feltham

 

No Games

Marco U15s

Ladies

 

Results from last Sunday

Billy U7s 4-7 Rocks Lane

Graham U10s 0-2 Kew Association 

 

With all our home Junior matches called off on Sunday I made my way to Wembley to watch Conors 15s play AFC Wembley in the quarter final of the county cup, I have to be honest and admit that I was very surprised that the match was still going ahead as the conditions were dreadful and I was sure that the pitch wouldn’t be playable for such an important cup tie.

When I arrived at the ground our 15s were already warming up, I could see that my concerns were valid as the pitch was in an awful state, after speaking to the ref along with our Manager and Wembley’s Manager both sides agreed that the game would start and leave the decision up to the refs discretion.

The first half was very entertaining, the pitch made it almost imposable to play the passing game, twice we went in the lead and twice Wembley responded with an equaliser, the half finished 2-2.

The ref was obviously concerned and he pulled everyone in and said he would give it 10 minutes to see how the pitch stood up, I think everyone knew that it wasn’t going to be good as by now the pitch was boggy and slippery and becoming very dangerous.

Into the second half the conditions were as bad as they could be, Wembley scored their third as we struggled to clear our lines and stay on our feet, 8 minutes in and the ref called for the game to be abandoned, the decision was a correct one and full credit goes to the young ref for making the call.

The sides meet again this coming Sunday and we hope that the pitch is better and football can be played because at this stage of the competition it’s unfair for both set of players to be asked to play on a surface like that.

A final mention goes to Bills under 7s who informed me that three of our lads have been asked in for a trial at AFC Wimbledon, Bill is doing a fantastic job with these boys and they are a real pleasure to watch, good luck to Harry/Mathew and Max, that’s why we do what we do, progression and development is our number one priority, the work and training sessions that Bill does with these lads is why the squad is improving week by week, well done all. 

Please note that this evening's Ryman Youth League match at home to Bedfont Sports U18 has been POSTPONED

Ashford were thwarted on Tuesday evening at the last minute in trying to get their Middlesex Senior Cup match played at Short Lane against Harrow Borough.  If the writer’s understanding is correct, the referee declared the pitch fit for play upon arrival, whereupon preparations were made to open the turnstiles, cook the burgers, etc., only for him to change his mind and call it off half an hour later.  Opinions are always divided as to whether pitches are suitable for play in such circumstances and given the all persuasive doctrine of health and safety, prevalent with most referees, maybe in future, in similar conditions, we will just call games off early.  Ashford’s view remained that, although hard, the pitch was perfectly flat and that the match could have been played. 

It’s gone now though and the match will now be played next Tuesday, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

A similar decision will be required for this evening’s scheduled Under-18 match against Bedfont Sports but one would suspect that this will also fall prey to the weather.  As and when there is news it will be put on here.

If it is off, it means that the next match will be on Saturday when the 1st Team will entertain Chessington & Hook United, kick-off 3.00 p.m.  A contingent from Ashford watched the Chertsey Town v Chessington clash last Saturday, when the Chessington chairman advised us that no less than eight of their regular players were missing, due to a stag weekend.  Nevertheless, they played fairly well until a crucial moment when a critical offside decision went against Chessington, leaving their keeper one on one, only to be sent off as he fouled the attacker.  After that there was only going to be one winner as Chertsey scored from the penalty, despite Chessington’s determined defending and it took two late goals before Chertsey could record a 3-0 victory.

Although the small area in front of the stand is inevitably a little harder than the rest of the playing area, at this moment, in mid afternoon, Ashford’s pitch is fit for play and there is little point in any formal inspection. 

This evening’s match remains ON, therefore.  The BBC local forecast has actually improved a little in that it is not now forecast to go below freezing until 11.00 pm this evening so hopefully the game will go ahead.

With both clubs seeing their matches postponed on Saturday, albeit for different reasons, both Ashford and Harrow Borough will be hoping that Tuesday evening’s match in the Quarter Final of the Middlesex Senior Cup can go ahead.  A cautionary note has to be sounded though.  Although the pitch is in excellent condition the current weather forecast for Tuesday suggests that the temperature will not rise above 2 degrees all day and that it will be below freezing by 6.00 p.m.  We shall just have to wait and see.

Let’s not jump the gun but if it did have to be called off, it would seem that it will be next Tuesday as the County Cup has precedence over league fixtures.  One person who will be hoping we are OK tomorrow evening is Gareth Coates (Beano to you and me) who will be taking the tannoy for the last time for the moment pending his move to Liverpool.  That has not stopped him though taking on the role of Company Secretary for the Club, following Keith Balmer’s resignation.  Keith sadly is still in hospital, now transferred to West Middlesex and hopefully there will be better news soon.  Better news from Larry our U12 manager who is now back home after his recent heart attack and hopefully recovering well.

It will be good to meet up with Harrow again after a number of clashes in the past in both the Ryman League and in various cup competitions.  It will be interesting to see how our squad competes against a side two levels above them as we have certainly been doing well at our current level recently, with just one defeat in eleven matches and that was in the Surrey Senior Cup when arguably we did not have our full squad available.

Our visitors do not appear to have actually played a competitive match since Boxing Day when they drew five apiece against local rivals Hendon, which sounds some match.  They were due to travel to Suffolk based Leiston on Saturday but that was postponed so they now face a 230 mile round trip on a Tuesday later in the season.  They currently sit in 16th place in the Ryman table with 36 points from their 26 games played.

To get to this point in the Senior Cup they had to overcome Wealdstone which they did by three goals to two.  We have also arrived at this stage thanks to two 3-2 victories, over Hanworth Villa and AFC Hayes respectfully.

Two players you may be aware of who play for Harrow are Marc Charles-Smith who previously played for Staines and is a proven goal scorer and Michael Peacock who had a loan spell with us a few seasons ago.

Of the previous matches between the clubs we have held our own managing to win four Ryman Premier matches against Harrow’s three with one draw over the four seasons in which we were in the same division.  In cups though they defeated us in the semi-final of the Ryman League Cup in season 2008-09, after we had managed to knock out Leatherhead, Kingstonian, Redbridge and Carshalton to reach that point.  Also bitterly remembered is the home defeat by 6 goals to 2 in the final league match of the 09-10 season, a result that saw us relegated.

It is now confirmed that the 1st Team do not have a match on Saturday, due to their scheduled opponents, Sutton Common Rovers playing away in the 4th Round of the FA Vase to Bowers and Pitsea FC.  Needless to say we wish them, along with Hartley Wintney and Knaphill, also in FA Vase action, the best of luck.

There is a match at Short Lane though as British Airways are due to be at home to Sporting Hackney FC, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

The next match for the 1st Team, therefore, is on Tuesday 19 January when the Tangerines will entertain Ryman side Harrow Borough in the Quarter Final of the Middlesex Senior Cup.  Ashford have been sweeping all before them in recent CCL matches but this will be an interesting test of the side’s capability against a club playing two levels higher.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.  Good luck also to Spelthorne Sports who are competing away to Northwood in the same competition on the same evening.

If anyone wants to catch a glimpse of Harrow before the game, they have a long trek as Harrow are away to East Anglian side Leiston on Saturday.  There will be a more detailed preview of Tuesday’s match on the website on Monday.

Other news is that the Under-18’s departed the Grant-McLellan Youth Cup on Wednesday evening suffering a heavy 3-8 defeat at home to Sandhurst Town U18.  Forget the relative positions of the two 1st Teams – the truth was that Sandhurst were excellent and deserved the accolade given to them by Ashford manager Nick Bailey that they were by far the best side Ashford have faced this season at Under-18 level, which given the status of some of the clubs we face every week in the Ryman Youth League is no mean praise.

That said, Ashford were not helped by an uncharacteristically dispirited performance which was disappointing.

There is good news regarding our Under-12’s manager, Larry Mansell, who is now back at home recuperating following his heart attack.  We understand he hopes to be at the Race Night on 29 January and we send him all our best wishes.  Sadly our ex-General Secretary Keith Balmer is still in hospital, although he has now been moved to West Middlesex.  Once again we hope that Keith will be back with us before too long.

In the meantime, the Club can confirm that Gareth Coates has agreed to become the new Company Secretary for the Club and he was elected on a unanimous basis at Thursday’s Committee Meeting.

Following the excellent win at Epsom & Ewell on Tuesday, the quarter final away to either Hartley Wintney or Chessington & Hook United has been scheduled for Tuesday 1 March and there are also new dates for the away matches at Sutton Common Rovers (Monday 22 February) and Raynes Park Vale (Tuesday 8 March)

If we ever get to play our Middlesex Charity Cup match away to North Greenford United, the winners have been drawn at home to either Enfield Town or Harrow Borough.

On the player front, due to long term injury and unavailability, Ben Murray has released Scott Elgar, Joey Robson and Rob Curtis for the time being and we thank them all for their services.  Perry Luckins is now back, as previously reported.

The pitch this season will close down on 8 May and it is hope that the earlier closure will allow that crucial bit of additional time to have it in tip-top condition for the start of next season.

Finally, here are this week’s junior fixtures and the few results from last Sunday.

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

Martin U14s v Oxshott Royals 10am

Tim U16s v Kew Park Rangers 11.30am

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Fin U13s v SCR Colts 12pm 

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

Larry U12s v Motspur Park 10.30

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Andy U8s v Westside 11am

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Ashford Town – Outfield

Gary Sunday Men v Bedfont & Feltham 10.30

Marco U15s v Staines Lammas 12.30

Away Games

Billy U7s v Rocks Lane

Tommy U7s v Bedfont Eagles

Matt U8s v AFC Walcountians

Matt U9s v CB Hounslow

Graham U10s v Kew Association

Nelson U10s v Hanworth Sports

Craig U13s v Croygas

Ben U15s v Leatherhead

Conor U15s COUNTY CUP QUARTER FINAL v Wembley 

Carl U16s v Claygate

Results Sunday 10 January

Billy U7s 2-3 Corinthian Casuals

Tommy U7s 7-4 Twickenham Tigers

Matt U8s 2-1 Bedfont & Feltham 

 

Ashford managed to overcome strong opponents on Tuesday evening in the shape of Epsom & Ewell, in the 3rd Round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup.  It is doubtful that Chipstead’s pitch, usually so excellent,  has ever been much heavier than it was last night but it was perfectly playable so well done to those concerned in getting the game on when once again there were multiple postponements elsewhere. 

Epsom & Ewell were welcoming hosts but within two minutes of kick-off Ashford went ahead.  A short corner routine seemed to catch the home defenders unaware and although the home keeper did well to stop the first effort, in the end Dan Fleming re-acted first and had an easy tap in.  For a while Ashford dominated proceedings, playing some quite effortless football as indeed they have been doing in recent weeks.  Inevitably though, the match evened out against a determined home side but there were no further goals before half-time.  There were some close things though, the closest probably being a goal bound effort that saw the excellent Joe Green in the right place to head off the line.

At the other end Fleming was put clean through once again but was driven wide and couldn’t turn it in.  Epsom also put in a couple of fierce unstoppable effort but both were wide.

Once again though Ashford got off to a fast start at the beginning of the second half and a good move saw them slice through the home defence as Mark Bitmead fed Fleming who calmly notched his second of the evening.

Epsom are not the type of side to lay down and die though and they exerted some strong pressure in a bid to retrieve the situation.  They did get the ball in the net once but Tyler Tobin in goal looked to have been fouled and it was disallowed although it was initially difficult to see what decision the referee had made.

The game was never out of hand but inevitably a few tasty tackles were going in from both sides and both Samad Kazi and skipper Russell Canderton picked up cautions for the Tangerines.  More to the point though free kicks conceded in one’s own half were always going to pile on the pressure but the back four stood firm and with Tobin virtually faultless behind them, the clean sheet was maintained.  In the meantime, Tommy Brunton in midfield, whilst not perhaps quite at his absolute best, was a superb outlet with his distribution and it was he who started the move which finally clinched the tie.  Once again though, it was the final combination between Bitmead and Fleming that did the trick, as the former dug out a superb cross for Fleming to head past the home keeper in the 78th minute.

Manager Murray was now able to introduce a couple of the youngsters, Mason Roseboom and Harry Herdman for the final minutes and Herdman had an excellent opportunity to notch his first senior goal close to the end but his effort was well saved.

Despite being three down, the home side never wavered in their efforts and with Mr. Kissi finding almost six minutes of stoppage time, Ashford were still relieved to hear the final whistle.  Having managed to get over one massive hurdle in this match, the draw for the quarter final will see Ashford travelling to either Hartley Wintney or Chessington & Hook United, probably on Tuesday 1 March.

The usual vote amongst the Ashford supporters present (and a big thank you to those who made the trip) saw Dan Fleming given the Ashford “Man of the Match” Award and quite rightly.  Once again though there were other contenders.  For this writer, Max Webb and Scott Weight were excellent again doing so much unheralded work, along with Kazi and Canderton at the back, and if we ever have a “most improved player” award, it would surely go to Joe Green, who is now a very competent full back indeed.  There are no dunces in this current squad though and just about everyone deserved a mention really.

Following yesterday’s article on the web site, in case you were wondering where one or two of the players were, it was realised in time that both Josh Andrew and Will Boye were cup-tied, so couldn’t play.  Perry Luckins would have been OK but we understand he wasn’t feeling well.

Don’t forget that the Under-18’s are also in cup action this evening (Wednesday) when they will entertain Sandhurst Town U18 in the quarter final of the Grant-McLellan Youth Cup, at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Another new date is that the 1st Team are now scheduled to visit Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday 8 March, following last Saturday’s postponement.

 

Firstly, Epsom & Ewell FC have advised us that this evening’s match in the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup is set to go ahead, barring further heavy rainfall. 

It is a 3rd Round tie and both Epsom and ourselves will be thinking that if either of us have designs upon winning this cup, it will have to be done the hard way, with the winners of the tie, which has to be settled this evening, drawn away to either Hartley Wintney or Chessington & Hook United in the quarter-finals.

Ashford will have a full strength squad to call upon, including Will Boye, who has now completed his three match suspension but whether Ben Murray will choose to rest any of his squad remains to be seen.  It is looking increasingly unlikely that we will have a match on Saturday, for the second week in a row but we are still waiting upon information from BA, who did not play their home match last week.  If by any chance they are in that situation again this week, for whatever reason, there is the possibility of a very late re-arranged match at home but this will be resolved by tomorrow at the latest.

Hopefully the conditions will not prevent a good match this evening between two teams who have both been in superlative form recently.  The address of the ground is Chipstead FC, High Road, Chipstead, CR5 3SF.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m. and the match will go to extra time and penalties, should they be needed.

 

The club are pleased to announce the signing of Perry Luckins from neighbours Spelthorne Sports, the 22 year old midfielder trained with the group on Saturday.  He is not cup tied and will go into the match day squad for our trip to Epsom & Ewell in the League Cup on Tuesday.

Perry will be well known to supporters as he returns back to the club after a stint at Spelthorne, he had previously been part of our successful youth setup at the club and becomes the 13th current first team player to have come through the ranks and played in our youth team. He is a talented and creative player who will be a great addition to an already strong squad.

Manager Ben Murray said “I am very happy to have Perry back with me at Ashford, it was an opportunity that became available and I am extremely pleased that he has committed to Ashford again. He knows the majority of the group and has already integrated well with the team in the training that we have had this weekend.”

Murray has also hinted that he aims to have another forward added to the squad by the weekend, “we have put in a couple of offers in and hope to have one signed by the weekend, we have great depth in the squad again now, which is vital for competition. We have lost Scott Elgar and Joey Robson to injury and they look to be long term and we wish them well on their recovery. Therefore it’s important to add a few in and we are actively doing that. We are near on full fitness now within the group and we had a couple of fantastic training sessions on the 3G on Saturday with all players putting a shift in. ”

 

Report of last Thursday's Ryman Youth Match, from Nick Bailey

After a late 17:15 inspection the pitch was passed fit to play we made our way down the M3 to Camberley to play a very strong side who in their last 5 league games have won 4 and drew 1. On arrival I could see why the inspection was necessary, it was very wet and boggy, heavy with no by-line down one side, but credit must go to Camberley for getting the game on where others would have called it off.

Camberley’s first attack on goal lead to an Ashford defender giving away a cheap penalty inside 2 minutes which was saved by Nick Bennett, but that was as good as it got in the first half.

Camberley scored 3 goals inside 25 mad minutes, all soft and all from set pieces. The first was direct from an in swinging corner that went straight in, the second was another corner and their third was a free kick that looked a routine save but our keeper misjudged the flight and it went straight in.  All in all, this could have been a very long and painful evening.

However, we pulled one back just before half time, Harry Herdman whipped in a wonderful ball which met the rising head of Isaac Mplane and the half finished 3-1.

The message in the dressing room was simple, we had to go against everything that we work on and go route one, the pitch by this time being very heavy and every player on the park was slipping and struggling to play their normal game. A slight change to personnel saw Isaac come off and Harry go up top to hold any long balls that were pumped up to him, Keegan was introduced down the right and it wasn’t long before the change worked and we scored from a goal by Jacob Bennett 3-2.

The game had swung and playing down the slope we had another chance to even it up but didn’t take advantage, the killer blow from Camberley came in the 60th minute where another poor clearance lead to their 4th goal and a mountain to climb for our young lads 4-2.

On summary the 3 goals that we conceded in the first 25 minutes is what eventually killed us.  We were playing a very well organised side who on paper will be right up the table come the end of the season and we just can’t afford to gift goals the way we did.  We showed real character to get back into the match but on the night it wasn’t enough.

Ashford "Man of the match" was Harry who was superb all game, holding up play and causing Camberley’s defence numerous problems.

We have to report that our Under-12 Manager, Larry Mansell suffered a heart attack at his match yesterday morning.

Fortunately, the NHS were superb in getting Larry to hospital where he underwent an immediate operation and has been fitted with a stent.  We understand that he is now stable in hospital and will hopefully make a full recovery.

We would like to thank Bedfont Eagles for their best wishes and everyone who has sent messages.  Hopefully we can bring better news when we are able to update the situation.

Get well soon Larry

LATEST INFORMATION

Match at Raynes Park Vale is now officially POSTPONED

We do not have the final word yet but the information coming from Raynes Park Vale yesterday was that their pitch resembles a lake and that today’s match is highly unlikely to go ahead.

As soon as the information is confirmed, it will be put on the web site.

If that turns out to be the case, the next match will be away to Epsom & Ewell in the 3rd Round of the Premier Challenge Cup on Tuesday evening at Chipstead FC.  Fortunately Chipstead’s pitch is usually very good and with the anticipated and long awaited rainfall reduction next week, the match will hopefully go ahead.  Again there will be more on the web site in due course.

An extra piece of fixture information has been received today from Middlesex County FA, to the effect that whoever wins out of North Greenford United and ourselves in the 2nd Round of the Middlesex Charity Cup, will be at home in the 3rd Round (Quarter Finals) to either Harrow Borough or Enfield Town.

We still do not have a date for the tie against North Greenford United and it does seem that they have suffered a number of postponements at their ground recently but as soon as there is news, we will place it on the web site.  The County has asked that the match be played by 27 February 2016.

In the meantime here are the Juniors' fixtures for this coming Sunday as kindly advised by Junior Chairman, Nick Bailey, plus just the two results from last Sunday.  Our Ladies’ side are also due to be at home this week, kicking off at 2.00 p.m. against Orpington Ladies.

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

FC Hatton 10.30

Martin U14s v Guildford Saints 12.30

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Craig U13s v Kew Park Rangers 10am

Ben U15s v Ascot United 11.30

Fin U13s v Hook Youth 1pm

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

Larry U12s v Bedfont Eagles 10.30

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Billy U7s v Corinthian Casuals 10am

Tommy U7s v Twickenham Tigers 11.15

Matt U8s v Bedfont & Feltham 12.30

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Graham U10s v Byfleet Village 10am

Matt U9s v Barnes Eagles 11.15am

Ashford Town – Outfield

Marco U15s v Guildford Saints 12.30

Ashford Town Stadium

Ladies v Orpington 2pm

 

Away Games

Andy U8s v Woking Town

Nelson Us v Walton Casuals

Conor Us v Wandgas

Tim U16s v Wallington

Carl U17s v Horsley Youth

Gary Men v Fulwell City

Results last week 

Graham U10s 2-0 Esher Colts 

Nelson U10s 4-2 Spelthorne 

 

You can follow Ashford on Facebook - Ashford Town (Middlesex) Supporters and on Twitter - @ashfordtownmx

There are various fixture changes and additions.

In date order, firstly the Under-18’s will be away on Thursday evening, 7 January, to Camberley Town in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

The Under-18’s will then go on to entertain Sandhurst Town U18’s in the Quarter-Final of the CCL Grant-McLellan Youth Cup on Wednesday 13 January, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Our 1st Team match away to Sutton Common Rovers, scheduled for Saturday 16 January has been postponed for two reasons.  Firstly Sutton United, who actually lost in the FA Trophy sometime ago, were re-instated when it was discovered their opponents had fielded an ineligible player.  Sutton then went on to win in the next round last night, and have been drawn at home in the next round to Curzon Ashton and this tie will take place on 16 January, and will have precedence.

Also Sutton Common Rovers are still waiting to find out who their opponents will be in the 4th Round of the FA Vase as numerous postponements have held up the 3rd Round match between AFC Broxbourne Borough and Bowers & Pitsea.  The latest information is that they will try again this Saturday, 9 January, leaving Sutton Common Rovers to play the winners on 16 January, a week later than scheduled.

Happy New Year to everyone, the club will be putting on a Race Night at the club on Friday 29th January and would like to publicise it as much as possible and make it the best one we have ever had.

To sponsor a race it will cost £20, the sponsor will have naming rights to the race itself, an advert in the race night programme and also present the winning owner with their prize on the evening.

To own a race horse it will cost just £5, the owner will get to name the horse and if it wins, be the recipient of the winning owner’s prize.

If you would like to sponsor a race or own a horse then please email or text me ASAP and I will add them to the race card. 

It would be great to see the club buzzing on a Friday night and these events have always been well supported. We ALL need to do our bit to get this event up and running and well supported. If anyone has any prizes that they can donate then please also let me know, no matter how big or small, they can range from anything from a bottle of spirit to a company related prize. It would be great to also do a raffle on the evening itself as well to gain more income.

The evening will begin at 7.00pm with the first race at approximately 7.50pm.

I would like to let Ashford supporters know of some changes to the Manageemnt Staff.

Firstly Terry O’Sullivan joins the club as an additional first team coach.  He brings a wealth of experience and joins from Bedfont Sports, previously he spent two years coaching at Watford before landing a full-time role as the Head of Recruitment at QPR, a role he held for eight years. He joins my existing coaching staff of Mark Green, David Gully and Pat Munns.

I have also added Jack Bailey to the management team as First Team Kitman, a position previously held by his older brother Charlie, who now takes up the role of Head of Social Media within the club.

I am very happy to have Terry join the club as his experience and knowledge of the game will be invaluable as we go into the second half of the season. He has been in with us for a week or two now and he already has a good connection with the lads. He understands the style and philosophy that I look for and it is important to have coaches around me that I can trust. I like to be hands-on with coaching sessions but I am also adamant that you have to have coaches in the set-up who can coach both team and player specific themes, something we have worked hard on this season. He will join Dave Gully in doing exactly that, it is extremely encouraging for the team and the club.

I am also very pleased to have Jack within my set-up as well, he is great with the lads and is already popular around the first team lads and ensures that match day runs smoothly. It was the right move for Charlie, who has been an invaluable asset to the club, as he needs to focus on his own football as a 1st year youth player and be part of what is an exciting squad full of prospects, of which he is one. He has made the Ashford Twitter account one of the best in non-league football”.

 

 

Just three CCL matches survived the rain on Saturday and whilst the other two games, at Camberley and Sutton Common Rovers may have been equally good, all the excitement, goals, etc. were at Short Lane as Ashford and Knaphill put on a superb show of entertainment for the crowd, swelled to 220, no doubt due to all the other local matches, including that at Staines Town, falling foul to the weather.

Yet again the surface, seemingly untroubled by the heavy rain, remained reasonably firm throughout and barely cut up throughout to the point where, had there been a further match scheduled immediately after this one, it would have gone ahead with no hesitation, so take a bow Steve Honey and Liam Balmer.

Ashford found themselves without Dan Fleming (unavailable) but were able to field a highly suitable deputy in Scott Harris, signed on dual forms with Slough Town.  With Joe Green also missing, Josh Andrew went across to right back, allowing club skipper Russ Canderton to return following injury.

It did not take long for the entertainment to get going.  Knaphill could have gone ahead in the first minute but play went straight down the other end, when ex-Ashford and Knaphill defender Arafat Kabuye under hit a back-pass, allowing Jack Beadle to sweep in and beat Richard Shelley with a powerful effort.

Knaphill though did not lose their composure in any way and two goals in six minutes saw them turn things round to go 2-1 up.  The first came from Charlie Postance as he out muscled the returning Russ Canderton and the second from Robbie Kersley.

It was fairly clear that this was never going to be anything other than a game with plenty of goals and on 34 minutes it was Canderton who pulled Ashford level with a powerful strike from close range.  Two minutes from half-time, with Ashford starting to get a grip on their opponents, Bailey Mummery put Ashford ahead when he almost lost the ball but recovered to send a fierce strike into the goal off the underside of the bar.  In the meantime, Tyler Tobin in the Ashford goal found himself called into action more than once, responding with some fine saves.

The match had been fairly contested but the drama of the afternoon arrived very shortly after half-time when Knaphill keeper Shelley brought down Mark Bitmead in the penalty area.  As Mr. Coen put whistle to mouth to award the penalty, the ball was driven into goal and how he must have wished he had just held the whistle for a few seconds longer as he would then have avoided the controversy that followed.  Shelley was sent off, although it took a long time for the player to actually leave the field, leaving the sub keeper to pick Mark Bitmead’s  penalty out of the net.

That made it 4-2 to the Tangerines and with Ashford now more or less totally dominant, Harris made it five with a deft effort and then, on 78 minutes it was Bitmead again who put the scoreline at 6-2.  Game over, it seemed especially as Beadle and Josh Andrew had hit the bar.   Manager Ben Murray introduced his subs, including young Isaac Mplana, who has been scoring well in the Under-18’s for his first taste of senior football.  He did not look out of place by any means.

Suddenly Knaphill, who never stopped trying to play football, pulled one back through Danny Taylor with arguably the best goal of the match, or certainly the best finish.  6-3 now, but Ashford rarely do things the easy way and when the visitors scored again two minutes later with the clock on 84 minutes, to make it 6-4, Ashford suddenly needed to find an extra degree of resilience which they did despite a long six minutes of stoppage time played by Mr. Coen.

And so it finished, with Ashford claiming a further three points that actually sent them back to the top of the table with Hartley Wintney’s match at home to Farnham Town falling foul of the weather.

There is no midweek match, so Ashford will next be in action next Saturday, away to Raynes Park Vale but more on that later in the week.  There is a Ryman Youth Under-18 match scheduled for this coming week and that is on Monday, when the lads will be away to Camberley Town U18.

Tomorrow we will also be printing a major article from manager Ben Murray in which he will be outlining changes to his management structure.

This afternoon's match at home to Colliers Wood United is ON.  There is no standing water on the pitch.

Ashford return to Short Lane on Saturday and welcome Colliers Wood United for their first ever visit for a league match.  The game kicks off at 3.00 p.m. as usual.

Our visitors sit in 12th place in the table with 10 wins and 12 defeats from their 24 league matches to date.  They will possibly remember this season though more for their cup exploits as they were the last CCL club to remain in the FA Vase, going right through to the 4th Round, where a fortnight ago they lost 2-4 after extra time to Ascot United, after having keeper Lee Pearce sent off in controversial fashion for allegedly handling outside his area, which he denied.  It must have been disappointing to have gone out of the competition in that way but they certainly did the League proud.  Sadly it also means that we won’t see Lee, who played a few matches for Ashford a few seasons ago, in action today, as he will be serving a one match suspension.

Colliers Wood are also still in the Surrey Senior Cup and like ourselves have a home 4th Round tie.  On paper they face a very tough tie against Merstham if they are to reach the semi-final but cup matches often bring out the best in clubs and we could yet have an all-CCL Final which would be unprecedented.

Our own 4th Round match will see us entertaining Westfield, now fixed for Tuesday 17 February, and an opportunity for revenge following the recent league defeat.

Our league form has continued to be patchy although last week’s match in terms of possession etc. hardly merited a 0-3 defeat, individual errors costing us badly.  That’s gone now and we need to put recent results behind us and play as we did earlier in the season.  Windsor and Cove, like ourselves, have suffered from inconsistency recently but both Molesey and Camberley are going great guns so they are the ones to beat.  There is still almost half the season to go in terms of matches played and there is plenty of water to go under the bridge this campaign.

The Football Association has concluded its inspection of our ground today and whilst we are more or less cleared for promotion were that to happen, we will retain our C grade if we carry out the following:  complete the fence repairs (this is also needed for next season), set up a separate 1st Aid Room and put in two extra press seats.  We are relying upon our own ground force to get the fences (all paid for) in and up by 31 March, the deadline date, whilst the other two items are relatively straightforward.  Although we are not looking to end our current groundshare arrangements with Lammas, were they to move out and we were looking for alternative tenants, it would mean that any club from Step 3 (Ryman or Southern Prem) would be able to play here if we have a C grade.

One problem we have suffered from in recent weeks has been the absence of our two main strikers, Dan Fleming and Mark Bitmead.  When you take a total of 42 goals out of the team at a stroke, you are bound to suffer but tomorrow both are fully back, and will hopefully be looking to assuage their frustrations.  We also welcome Sam Baffour, who most recently played for Chelmsford City before sustaining an injury that has kept him out all season.  Having been released he is now raring to go, and a cameo appearance last Saturday suggested he may well become a supporters’ favourite very quickly given his obvious pace and ability to go past defenders.

Colliers Wood have some pacey players themselves not least their top scorer over several seasons, Mario Embalo and we may also be able to welcome back to Short Lane Quaseem Sotonla (spelling might not be correct) who played a number of matches for us last season and is another excellent player.  All in all it should be a great game and don’t forget that the Chelsea v Manchester City clash will be on in the club after the match when everyone is most welcome to stay on and watch it.

Finally, a last reminder that Ben Murray is putting on a Race Night this evening (Friday) as from 7.30 pm.  Come along and have a flutter but please ensure that when you leave the club you do so quietly.

Great news this week!  Liam (Balmer) and his partner Chloe are expecting a baby girl on 28 March (presumably she’s not aware it’s a match day?)  Also brother Luke and his partner are expecting a baby boy on 9 June 2015, which is a fitting date as it will be grandad Keith’s birthday on the same day.

Keith will become a grandfather twice over for the first time!

Congratulations to everyone concerned.

This was Ashford’s heaviest defeat of the season in terms of goals but not in terms of the performance.  On a difficult surface (to say the least) that gave neither side the opportunity to play any form of cultured football, Ashford resorted largely to a long ball game and were on top for long periods in the first half, despite missing key personnel once again.

Badshot Lea though are high on confidence at the moment and try as they might, Ashford were unable to break them down.  Dan Fleming was back in the starting line up and he was at the forefront of any chances carved out by the visitors but he was maybe rusty and twice it was the cars in the car park at most risk of damage as he struggled to find his range.

Just after the half hour mark, the home side scored the important first goal or were rather presented with it.  Mitchal Gough, filling in at centre-half had looked imperious to that point but an attempt to head the ball back to Tyler Tobin in goal fell short and Badshot’s Gavin Muir made no mistake.

Within 15 seconds of the second half starting, came probably the defining moment of the match when Fleming finally hit a screamer of shot that looked a goal all the way but ended up just off target, brushing the woodwork on its way.

It could have been all square and game on but within three minutes Badshot doubled their lead with Gough once again the culprit as another misplaced header found its way to the dangerous Dan Turner and he accepted the gift with alacrity.

Ashford looked stunned having generally played well with no reward but the bottom line was that, unlike the home side, they failed to take what chances they had and a third goal deep in stoppage time, scored by ex-Ashford favourite Jon Palmer only deepened the frustration of the day.

There were though positives to the day for Ashford.  Max Webb, once again, was voted “Ashford Man of the Match” by the visiting supporters whilst debutant Sam Balfour looked lively when he came on.  Gough is not the type of player to allow a mistake or two to affect his performance and he certainly didn’t do that.  Leading scorer Mark Bitmead will be back for next Saturday’s match at home to Colliers Wood United and there is the possibility of two significant new signings before that.

After a poor start to the season, Badshot Lea, despite their recent excellent form are unlikely to challenge at the end of the season being too far behind but they still have to play most of the other top challengers and are certainly capable of taking points from any or all of them if they maintain their current momentum.

There is no midweek 1st Team match this week but Ashford will entertain Colliers Wood next Saturday, as mentioned.  Colliers Wood themselves have an interesting home game against Camberley Town on Wednesday should anyone fancy a sneak peak!

Also this week, Molesey entertain Windsor on Tuesday in what will be a highly intriguing match.

Back to Ashford and don’t forget we have a Race Night at the Club on Friday evening when everyone is very welcome.  Please come and spend a few pennies as January and February are always difficult in income terms and you may go away with a good win.

A look at the Badshot Lea web site shows that Ashford have effectively been cast in the role of underdogs by their opponents tomorrow.  It is not a situation that Ashford have generally found themselves in this season but is possibly justified by recent form which has seen Badshot Lea on a long unbeaten run in recent months, after a terrible start to the seas