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It is a bonus to complete the season with a Cup Final and, following the win over Hampton & Richmond last Tuesday, Ashford now look forward to the Middlesex Charity Cup Final against Wealdstone on Bank Holiday Monday, to be played at Hanwell Town FC, kick-off 7.30 p.m. 

Following a 1-1 draw on Saturday, away to East Thurrock, Wealdstone have just finished in 8th place in the National League South, so we are very much underdogs, as, of course, we were in the last two rounds against Wingate & Finchley and Hampton & Richmond Borough.  We have the bonus though of coming into the match full of confidence with three consecutive victories behind us, no injuries and just one defeat in the last nine competitive games.

One former player we may come up against in the Wealdstone squad is Ricky Wellard, who left us for AFC Wimbledon, for whom he played in the Football League and is now at Wealdstone.  Ricky left us at the end of the 2008-2009 season, with 190 appearances for the club under his belt and 25 goals.  This will be the first occasion we have come across him since then as a direct rival.

We have actually come up against Wealdstone in competitive games on 12 previous occasions, the most recent being in December 2012, when, after a nil-nil draw we managed to win the penalty shoot out by 5 goals to 4 in the Senior Cup, our penalty scorers on that night being Mark Bitmead, Joe Bennett, Kofi Lockhart-Adams, Jack Mullan and Perry Luckins.  We were competitors for three seasons in the Ryman Premier, until they went one way and we went the other, and we actually managed to complete a double over them in the 2007-2008 season.  All in the past, of course, and we congratulate Wealdstone and long serving manager Gordon Bartlett upon reaching their current level and having a good season that saw them on the edge of the play-offs.

Don’t forget that Ashford Ladies have two cup finals still to play, the details being as follows:

Sunday 7th May 2017 Capital Womens Cup
Fixture: Whyteleafe Ladies v Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies FC
Venue: Bedfont Sports Football Club (3G Pitch) TW14 9JR
Kick Off: 14:00

Sunday 21st May 2017 GLWFL Trophy
Fixture: Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies FC v Battersea & Hammersmith
Venue: Hampton & Richmond Borough FC (Grass Pitch) TW12 2BX
Kick Off: 13:15

Also a reminder that we have the annual presentation evening on Friday 12 May at the Meadhurst Club.  If you are coming and have not yet paid, please see Graham Cooley asap as places are limited.  We shall certainly have one cup to re-present, that being the County Cup won by one of our Under-13 sides a few weeks.

The Club AGM is the evening before, on 11 May at the Club (8.00 p.m.) when everyone with an interest in the club is very welcome to attend

We now have absolute confirmation from Middx. County FA that the Charity Cup Final against Wealdstone will be on Monday 1 May at Hanwell Town, kick-off 7.30 p.m.

Well done to the Under-18's including several younger players who won their home game against Camberley Town U18 4-3 lat night in the Ryman Youth Match.

Farnborough and Barton Rovers won their respective play-off matches yesterday evening against Egham and Marlow, so will meet in the play-off Final on Saturday, at Farnborough.

Ashford reached the Final of the Middesex Charity Cup on Tuesday evening with a win that was more convincing than the eventual scoreline suggests, beating Hampton & Richmond Borough by 2 goals to 1, Hampton’s goal being the last kick of the match.

With one eye on the possibility of reaching the play-offs, Hampton clearly fielded something of a mixed side but one that was never good enough to trouble the Tangerines, currently on top form and full of confidence. 

The surface is clearly showing signs of strain after a long hard season and the quicker work starts on it, the better, but both sides did their best to play good football in the opening period, which was relatively even.  It did not take too long though for Ashford to take the initiative and on 9 minutes they went one up.  The excellent Samad Kazi somehow retrieved the ball wide on the right, went past a defender before sending in a perfect cross to the far post leaving the unmarked Dan Fleming to plant his header firmly into the back of the net.

There was no further scoring before the break although both sides went close.  Ashford had cause to be grateful to Tyler Tobin twice in succession but it was still mainly the Tangerines after the break even though Hampton reverted to generally playing it long.  That was meat and drink for Russ Canderton and Romario Jonas, who have now forged an excellent partnership and it was not really a surprise when Jack Beadle doubled the lead on 61 minutes, thanks to a pin point through ball from Tommy Brunton.  Jack still had plenty to do but was calmness personified as he controlled the ball and knocked it home for the winning goal for the third time in as many matches.

A third goal should have come but somehow the visiting keeper stopped a point blank header from Fleming but as the match went into stoppage time it looked game over.  Then in the third minute added on by the referee, Hampton pulled one back following a free kick and a nervy last few minutes looked on the clock.  There had been a number of stoppages and six minutes extra could not have been argued with but Mr. Richardson blew his whistle immediately the ball went in, just short of three minutes and Ashford were in the Final.  The Ashford “man of the match” could have been just about anyone but Max Webb shaded it in a close vote.

To the best of our knowledge the Final will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 1 May, at Hanwell Town, kick-off 7.30 p.m.  So far though nobody from Middlesex has come back to confirm this information, especially the kick-off time, which may have been because there was a possibility that Wealdstone could have been involved in a play-off situation.  That is no longer the case (see statement on the Wealdstone web site) so we should have full confirmation very shortly which will appear on here as soon as possible.

Report from Will Boye

Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies sealed promotion after beating Surrey Eagles to wrap up the league title.

Lauren Richardson put in a player of the match performance which included her first ever hatrick in Ashford colours, all goals being contenders for goal of the season.  Lavana Neufville and Sequoia Belworthy caused havoc all game with their combinations and pace in the final third. It was no surprise that Belworthy grabbed a hatrick and Neufville notched five goals.  Neufville turned provider for Amber Luzar, who scored her first goal of the season.  The former Fulham player Chloe Dalrymple was introduced to the game for Ashford and the youngster found her feet very quickly as she played a through pass for skipper Vicky James, who comfortably found the net to end the game 14-1.

With nearest challengers Godalming Town having drawn their final game at home to Ashford Ladies last week, the Tangerines cannot be caught with one league game remaining.

It’s the final home game of this season next week at home to Greenhuse Sports, in 4th place, so let's get the biggest support possible to celebrate this achievement of league champions and back to back promotions.

A big well done also to Martin’s Under-15s who yesterday were confirmed as the league champions, Congratulations to the whole squad who have worked so hard to be where they are today, a great bunch of players well lead by Martin and Glenn.  Well done also to Larry's Under-13's who, although beaten in their Final yesterday, represented the club well, never one letting their heads go down.  Congratulations to Mitcham Park upon their victory.

 

If you are coming to the Presentation Evening, Graham (Cooley) has asked that as many people as possible pay him their money (£20 a head) on Tuesday evening at the Hampton match.

Ashford maintained their recent excellent form with another away win in their final league match on Saturday, returning from Kidlington with a 2-1 win, which sees the Tangerines achieving a top half finish (10th) in their first season back at Step 4.

As often happens at the end of the season, the squad was a little depleted including the non-availability of Mark Bitmead, who was called into work at the last moment.  Other absences meant that we only had one effective substitute on the bench, namely Dylan Duby.

Kidlington had been doing well recently, having completely recovered from their poor start to the season and went into the match with a 3 point lead over Ashford.  The first half though had an end of season feel to it.  Ashford possibly had more of it overall but it was fairly even with no-one really looking as if they would break the deadlock.  That is until Kidlington opened the scoring with what has to be said was an excellent break from an Ashford corner that broke down.  The ball was rapidly moved upfield and, from an acute angle, Kidlington’s Callum Harvey, who had been a menace throughout the half, put his side ahead from an acute angle.

Apart from the goal, the only other talking point was the referee’s insistence that Dan Fleming left the field after receiving treatment for a knock, even though the other player was shown a yellow card.  There was a general view that an injured player is allowed to stay on if the offender has been cautioned but it didn’t happen on this occasion, despite manager Murray’s very clear advice to the official.

The second half, played in warm sunshine did not look as if it would produce many goals if any, despite everyone’s best endeavours and it started to look as if Ashford would return empty handed.  On 80 minutes though in an attack down the right, a Kidlington defender handled in the area.  It was one of those that might or might not have been given but on this occasion the referee was clear in his decision and in the absence of Mark Bitmead, Alex Fisher stepped up and duly levelled the score.

Kidlington felt aggrieved and suddenly there was a greater intensity and passion about the match which worked in Ashford’s favour as with five minutes on the clock, Jack Beadle pounced and rifled home after a rebound, thus scoring the winning goal for the second match in a row.

Kidlington were unable to come back and the points were on their way to Middlesex.  The match was an opportunity for Dylan Duby to come on early in the second half and he showed that he can play, with the benefit of plenty of game time.  In the writer’s view though, Max Webb was Ashford’s stand out player with his aggressive running but Max Herbert and others were not far behind.

The league season is over but we play at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup on Tuesday evening at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 p.m., with the winners playing Wealdstone in the Final on Bank Holiday 1 May.

Larry’s Under-23’s lost their Final to Mitcham Park on Sunday morning, 0-2, but put up a good show and did the club proud.

 

It doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago that we were off to Northwood for the opening league match of the season but on Saturday, we close the League season with a trip to Kidlington FC.

Ashford are currently in 12th place and mathematically, could achieve 9th depending upon this result and others.  Anything from 11th upwards would be pleasing as that would mean a top half place.  Kidlington, after an unexpectedly slow start, found their form and are currently in 10th position, also with 9th as their possible highest.  Thus there is not too much hanging on the result but the usual competitive match can be expected.

Kidlington play at Yarnton Road, Kidlington, Oxford, OX6 1AT and from ground to ground it is a journey of just under 51 miles, via the M40, to Junction 8.  Supporters may recall that we went there early last season in the FA Vase and rather scraped a draw courtesy of Max Webb, only to lose at Short Lane in the replay.

It is not the final match of the season as next Tuesday we entertain Hampton in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m. to see who will meet Wealdstone in the Final on Bank Holiday 1 May.

Easter Monday was a "big" day for the club with the visit of all the lovely ladies from the HASAG Charity and the official “retirement” day of physio and erstwhile goalkeeper Pat Munns.

Some incredible generosity from both Ashford and Farnborough supporters raised several hundred pounds for their valuable work and we thank everyone who contributed.  Hopefully the ladies had an enjoyable afternoon in our company.

Pat, in the meantime, had decided to give up active service with the club after starting as a goalkeeper with Ashford back in 1967, when we were still in the Hounslow and District League.  Fulsome praise has already been given for his exploits as a keeper but since retiring he has been kept busy on the bench in the physio role and deserves a rest after 50 years!  It was great to see so many old faces come along to join in the celebrations as Pat received a medal to commemorate his long service and also a framed and signed goalkeeper shirt with “No. 1 Munns” on the back.

As to the match against Farnborough, it was probably a good time to play them as they cannot now finish anywhere other than second place and, even if their players didn’t, their management certainly had a big eye on the play-offs to come next week and were very keen to avoid injuries.  We hope the two players who did sustain knocks regain their fitness in time.

As far as Ashford were concerned, there wasn’t anything special to play for but the squad were certainly motivated sufficiently enough.  The pitch was not at its best unfortunately and we badly need the remedial work in the summer to start immediately it closes down on 8 May, which has been duly planned.

Inevitably Farnham looked dangerous when in possession, given the reputation of some of their players, but Ashford held their own and were not without chances of their own.  The only goal of the game was scored by the Tangerines on 66 minutes through Jack Beadle, his first since returning to the Club from Egham and it was a goal to remember.  Jack had already seen two meaningful efforts either go just wide or saved but there was no stopping this one as he unleashed a tremendous effort from some 25 yards that just flew into the net.

After that it was largely a case of backs to the wall, really for the first time in the game, as Farnborough intensified their efforts.  Keeper Tobin was in inspired form though, with two stunning stops while the woodwork also intervened on Ashford’s behalf, with two other efforts cleared from the line.  Despite all that it was not all one way and Ashford could have scored again themselves but found Farnborough keeper Aaron Bufton equally adept.

The match was witnessed by a healthy 217 spectators and well refereed by Connor Griffin, handling his first match at this level.  The "Ashford man of the match" award was won narrowly by Romario Jonas, immense at the heart of the defence.

The final league match of the season is next Saturday when we travel to Oxfordshire to meet up with Kidlington FC again.  More on that one later in the week.

 

Ashford are delighted to announce that Paul Blair has agreed to take up the post of Football Secretary for next season, following the decision of Geoff Knock to stand down at the end of the season, although he will be remaining with the Club as a member of the Committee.

Director Alan Constable said “it happened by chance really, I was with Paul at a match and mentioned that we were looking for a new Football Secretary, and half-jokingly I asked him if he fancied the job.  He did not turn it down though and after attending last week’s committee meeting he has agreed to take it up”.

Paul was previously the very competent Secretary of Ash United in the CCL and is also a member of Surrey County FA, with specialist knowledge of Chartered Standard matters.  He is also highly competent in IT matters and a member of the CCL Management Committee.

We are also pleased to be able to announce that Steve Clark, a long time club servant, has agreed to take up the post of Finance Director, following the resignation of Jason Brown, who will also be staying with the club.  Steve will hopefully have the expertise of Sue Cox and Jamie Brunton to steer him though, although he is well versed in the way the club works and is well prepared for the job, with an economics degree and a background in pub administration and finance along with his own recruitment business.

Subject to being voted in by members at the AGM on 11 May, both Paul and Steve will take over from that date.

Following yesterday’s win over Farnborough (summary to follow shortly), the club looks to be in a good position as the end of the season approaches and will look forward to season 17-18 with great anticipation.

Following last Saturday’s impressive victory over Kempston Rovers, Ashford travelled to Aylesbury on Saturday and came away with a point in a 2-2 draw.

The fixture list has been such that most of the clubs we have played in recent games have either been fighting for their lives to avoid relegation or to get into the play-offs.  With the possible exception of the match against Histon, it is of great credit to the Ashford squad that they have shown every bit as much determination as any of their opponents in those games.

The match on Saturday was played on a typical end of season pitch, which had plenty of grass but was bumpy, no doubt due to the recent lack of rainfall.  The strong breeze also played a major part with players needing to take two or three touches before they could bring the ball under control.  As a result it was never going to be a spectacle.  The Tangerines started well enough but Aylesbury, as they had to be with relegation still a possibility, were in determined mood, and drew first blood when they went ahead through Alex O’Brien on 21 minutes.

Aylesbury looked stronger after this and deserved their half-time lead but Ashford came out in determined mode in the second period and were instantly rewarded when Mark Bitmead restored parity.  It was so quick that many of us missed the goal.  Within three minutes though Aylesbury re-took the lead through ex-Ashford player Brian Haule after a poor defensive error led to a failure to make a simple clearance.

It is morale sapping to get an equaliser only to give another goal away immediately afterwards but Ashford, boosted by the entry of subs Tommy Brunton and Max Webb, kept plugging away and Dan Fleming hit the bar.  The momentum was now largely with the visitors but not too many clear chances were being created and it looked as if it would be a disappointing defeat but on 89 minutes, Ashford forced a corner and Max Herbert was in a good position to notch a deserved equaliser.  Referee Cox didn’t play anywhere near the amount of additional time there should have been but with the realisation that Aylesbury had secured their place at Step 4 once again and Ashford happy enough with a point, nobody was too unhappy.

As a footnote Aylesbury’s hospitality was superb but it was strange to be there without ex-Chairman Danny Martone who we know is ill and we take this opportunity to send him our best wishes and hope to see him next season.

 

Ashford begin their Easter weekend with a visit to Aylesbury on Saturday, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

The address of the ground is the SRD Stadium, Haywood Way, Aylesbury, HP19 9WZ.  Ground to ground it is a journey of 44 miles, using the M25 to Junction 20 and then the A41 to Aylesbury, where there are plenty of roundabouts to navigate!

Sitting in 19th place, our opponents cannot yet be sure of avoiding relegation, although with a six point gap between them and Histon, and just three matches each left to play, they look fairly safe now, especially with Northwood also in dire straits just above Histon.  For their part, Ashford have achieved the 50 point target set at the start of the season and but for something of a mid-season slump would have done better.  As it is, an 8th place finish could still be achieved, although that would require maximum points over the last three games with other clubs needing to drop points.  A more realistic target at this stage would be to achieve a top half finish, i.e. 11th or better.

Aylesbury are currently managed by ex-Ashford player Davis Haule and in previous matches against them, the record is fairly even with Ashford slightly ahead with 4 wins against 3 defeats, with 3 draws.  Earlier this season we managed to take the points with a solitary goal from Alex Fisher, now back and playing after his operation had threatened to keep him out until next season.

On Monday we will be entertaining Farnborough FC, as well as nurses from the HASAG charity, which has been of immense help to Chairman Dave Baker in recent months.  They do a marvellous job and we hope you will be able to find a few pennies to make a donation for their excellent and specialised charity, which helps people who have diagnosed with cancer arising from exposure to asbestos.

Also, it is a special day for our own Pat Munns, who is retiring from active duties with the club after 50 years service going back to 1967, when he was a young goalkeeper.  Pat proved his worth as a keeper over many seasons with only his loyalty to this club keeping him at Ashford's then level.  He played his final match competitive match well into his 50's albeit a one-off but he didn't let anyone down.  In more recent seasons Pat has been on the bench in the physio role and what player wouldn't get up when they saw Pat racing out to treat them!  Pat will have members of his family here this afternoon, to see him receive a presentation from club chairman Dave Baker, including two of his youngest grand children, Alfie and Hope, both aged 5.  Pat, thank you for all your hard work over many years on behalf of this football club.

We congratulate Farnborough who will now finish in 2nd place no matter what, so with the pressure off, both sides can concentrate on their football and give us a game worthy of the occasion.  The writer cannot quite resist referring again to the match at Farnborough when we had Will Boye sent off when he was nowhere near the ball, as Farnborough’s Perry Coles slipped and collided with the advancing Tyler Tobin.  Will showed incredible self control that afternoon, a fact that was largely overlooked, as he made his way off totally bemused.  An apology afterwards from the referee once he had seen the video was welcome but it was a horrendous error, even more so as one of the assistants was equally close to the incident and either had his eyes closed or decided not to intervene.  We can take this opportunity to thank Farnborough for helping us with the video evidence that the FA used to clear Will in just about the fastest appeal hearing ever!

Lots of dates are coming up in the next few weeks.  One is the club AGM to be held on Thursday 11 May at 8.00 p.m. when all club members are very welcome to attend.  The following evening we have our Presentation Evening at the Meadhurst Club.  Another is Saturday 20 May when we have the Michael Buble and Neil Dymond tribute act.  Tickets are just £10 each but selling out fast.

On the field, Larry’s Under-13’s have their League Cup Final on Sunday 23 April, kicking off at 10.00 a.m., at Met. Police FC, Imber Court.  The other side is Mitcham Park Stripes who play two divisions higher so the lads need your support.  There will be a barbecue and party back here at the club afterwards.

Looking ahead, next season will start competitively on Saturday 12 August when we can expect to see some different clubs lining up against us, possibly including:  Thame United, London Colney, Hartley Wintney, Hayes & Yeading and Cambridge City, although all such movements are under the control of the FA, who usually manage to spring a few surprises.

There are no junior fixtures on Sunday due to the Easter Holidays but the Club will be open as usual.

 

Friday 12th May - Meadhurst Club, Chertsey Road, Sunbury, TW16 7LN. 

 

7.00pm - 12.00am. 

 

Ticket only. Price is £20 per ticket. 

 

Smart dress code. 

 

This Year’s Annual Presentation Evening will take place at the Meadhurst Club, Chertsey Road, Sunbury, TW16 7LN

 

We are indebted to Graham Cooley who has taken on the organisation of the event and he’s done a superb job already securing the venue at a cheap price.  A DJ and food have already been arranged and we understand that the bar prices are extremely reasonable.

 

The absolute maximum number of tickets available is 140 and more information upon who and how to pay will be publicised after this Thursday’s committee meeting.

Ashford bounced back to form on Saturday beating promotion chasing Kempston Rovers, who had been on a long unbeaten run, by 3 goals to 1 at Short Lane.

Ashford were expecting a tough match and with the visitors starting strongly, it looked as if it would materialise exactly as envisaged, especially as they almost scored in their very first attack when Jake Newman hit the post.  That set the tone for the opening 20 minutes, with Kempston having more of it.  Ashford were gradually getting into the match though and on 23 minutes took the lead following a well worked move which culminated with a superb through ball from Tommy Brunton to Mark Bitmead who lobbed the keeper with some precision.

The goal seemed to change the direction of the match as Ashford generally remained on top from then until the last 15 minutes.  That is not to say Kempston were out of it by any means at this stage and Tyler Tobin in goal had to be at his most alert soon after the goal.  Dan Fleming twice went close at the other end but the lead was eventually doubled on 54 minutes when Bailey Mummery took advantage of a poor clearance, picking up the ball and finding Jack Beadle who moved forward in his usual industrious manner before sending in a cross for Bitmead who made no mistake.

It was by no means over but Kempston’s attacks seemed to lack a little belief and Ashford coped fairly well with everything thrown at them and then effectively sealed the result on 75 minutes when Fleming was put through by the hard working Beadle and poked the ball past the keeper as he came out.

It could have been four soon afterwards when Fleming seemed to be blatantly pushed just inside the area but the referee waved play on.  We then had a fairly curious incident as an assistant put his flag up as Kempston attacked and everyone stopped only for realisation to dawn that the referee had not blown his whistle.  Somehow Ashford scrambled it away but there were repercussions as Kempston claimed that the player in the offside position was not involved in the play.  This led to a member of the visiting bench being removed, after the referee decided it should be a free kick to Ashford after all, although it was not clear from the other end whether it was for the offside or another offence. 

As the moments ticked away, a rare clean sheet looked on the cards but Kempston had the last word as, under pressure, skipper Russ Canderton conceded an own goal.  This was on 86 minutes and as the referee played a full ten minutes stoppage time, which even allowing for some time wasting, was a bit over the top, there were a few uncomfortable moments before the final whistle went and Ashford could reflect upon another three points, this time against one of the best sides in the Division who had beaten the Tangerines comfortably at their own ground just a few weeks previously.

Being Easter, it’s a double bubble next week, with Ashford travelling to Aylesbury next Saturday and then entertaining Farnborough on Easter Monday, both matches kicking off at 3.00 p.m.

The Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough has been arranged for Tuesday 25 April

No details are available yet but we understand that the Ladies came though their latest semi-final against New London Lionesses winning 4-2 on penalties for a second cup final. 

Ashford are at home again on Saturday when Kempston Rovers will be the visitors to Short Lane.  It will be as tough a match as last week’s albeit for a different reason as Kempston have their sights on a play-off place by the end of the season.  They are currently just one point away with a match in hand over Marlow, who currently occupy the final play-off place.

It was only recently that we visited Kempston, on a Tuesday evening, when we lost 0-2, both goals coming in the second half.  We can point to a little bit of a patched up side on the night but we defended well in the first half.  Kempston scored though, soon after half-time and were deserved winners on the night.  Last week’s defeat has seen us drop back to 13th place but a win today could see us back to 11th.

We now know that we will be entertaining Hampton & Richmond in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup on Tuesday 25 April, as they beat Spelthorne with some ease earlier this week by 5 goals to nil.  The Final will be between ourselves or Hampton against Wealdstone or Uxbridge and is to be played on Bank Holiday Monday, 1 May, at Hanwell Town. 

Next Saturday we go to Aylesbury in what will be another important match for the opposition with them trying to stave off the challenge of Histon at the bottom of the League and we then play Farnborough here on Easter Monday, kick-off 3.00 p.m.  Farnborough will almost certainly have clinched 2nd place in the Division by then but it will be a big day for us, with it having been designated “Charity Day” when members from the HASAG charity who have given great help to our Chairman Dave Baker, will be present.  We hope that your generosity will help us to swell their coffers in a very worthwhile cause. 

We shall also be saying goodbye as far as the Physio role is concerned to Pat Munns, who has now given this club 50 years’ service, both on and off the field.  Take the writer’s word, Pat was as good a keeper as we have ever had at Ashford, which is saying a huge amount, and it was only his loyalty that prevented him playing at a far higher level.  Pat will have two of his grandchildren, Alfie and Hope, here on the day, to act as mascots.

As most will be aware, Royston have now clinched the divisional title and we send them our congratulations.

There are myriad junior fixtures on Sunday including our County Cup winning Under-13’s who will be gracing the main pitch tomorrow as a reward for their efforts

These are the games:

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 1

Chris U8s v Bedfont Eagles 10am

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 2

Neil U8s v Whitton 10am

Steve U8s v CB Hounslow 11am

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Ryan U9s v Hampton Youth 10am

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch

Graham U11s v Kingston Town 11am

Ashford Town – Outfield

Simon U16s v Ashtead 10am

Ben U16s v Sheen Lions 11.30

Conor U16s v Ashtead 1pm (double header)

Ashford Town Stadium

Paul U13s v Woodmansterne 10am

Ladies v New London Lionesses 2pm

Away Games

Cass U8s v Manorcroft

Matt U10s v Sandgate

Kirk U11s v Met Police

Larry U13s v Corinthian

Fin U14s v Shelton Athletic

 

The Ladies’ match is in the semi-final of the GLWFL Trophy against New London Lionesses, kicking off at 2.00 p.m.

 

 

Ashford are at home again on Saturday when Kempston Rovers will be the visitors to Short Lane.  It will be as tough a match as last week’s albeit for a different reason as Kempston have their sights on a play-off place by the end of the season.  They are currently just one point away with a match in hand over Marlow, who currently occupy the final play-off place.

It was only recently that we visited Kempston, on a Tuesday evening, when we lost 0-2, both goals coming in the second half.  We can point to a little bit of a patched up side on the night but we defended well in the first half.  Kempston scored though, soon after half-time and were deserved winners on the night.  Last week’s defeat has seen us drop back to 13th place but a win today could see us back to 11th.

We now know that we will be entertaining Hampton & Richmond in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup on Tuesday 25 April, as they beat Spelthorne with some ease earlier this week by 5 goals to nil.  The Final will be between ourselves or Hampton against Wealdstone or Uxbridge and is to be played on Bank Holiday Monday, 1 May, at Hanwell Town. 

Next Saturday we go to Aylesbury in what will be another important match for the opposition with them trying to stave off the challenge of Histon at the bottom of the League and we then play Farnborough here on Easter Monday, kick-off 3.00 p.m.  Farnborough will almost certainly have clinched 2nd place in the Division by then but it will be a big day for us, with it having been designated “Charity Day” when members from the HASAG charity who have given great help to our Chairman Dave Baker, will be present.  We hope that your generosity will help us to swell their coffers in a very worthwhile cause. 

We shall also be saying goodbye as far as the Physio role is concerned to Pat Munns, who has now given this club 50 years’ service, both on and off the field.  Take the writer’s word, Pat was as good a keeper as we have ever had at Ashford, which is saying a huge amount, and it was only his loyalty that prevented him playing at a far higher level.  Pat will have two of his grandchildren, Alfie and Hope, here on the day, to act as mascots.

As most will be aware, Royston have now clinched the divisional title and we send them our congratulations.

There are myriad junior fixtures on Sunday including our County Cup winning Under-13’s who will be gracing the main pitch tomorrow as a reward for their efforts

These are the games:

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 1

Chris U8s v Bedfont Eagles 10am

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 2

Neil U8s v Whitton 10am

Steve U8s v CB Hounslow 11am

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Ryan U9s v Hampton Youth 10am

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch

Graham U11s v Kingston Town 11am

Ashford Town – Outfield

Simon U16s v Ashtead 10am

Ben U16s v Sheen Lions 11.30

Conor U16s v Ashtead 1pm (double header)

Ashford Town Stadium

Paul U13s v Woodmansterne 10am

Ladies v New London Lionesses 2pm

Away Games

Cass U8s v Manorcroft

Matt U10s v Sandgate

Kirk U11s v Met Police

Larry U13s v Corinthian

Fin U14s v Shelton Athletic

 

The Ladies’ match is in the semi-final of the GLWFL Trophy against New London Lionesses, kicking off at 2.00 p.m.

 

 

Following two successive wins on the road, Ashford suffered a disappointing loss on Saturday, conceding victory to Histon Town by 2 goals to 1 at Short Lane.

The visitors, deep in relegation trouble, but sniffing a possible escape, showed their intentions right from that start and in the first half Ashford failed to cope, conceding two goals within the opening 20 minutes.  Inconsistent refereeing did not help and the match threatened to get out of control at times but that is a smokescreen as the defending was just not good enough.

Matters improved in the second half as Ashford finally got to grips with what they were facing and eventually pulled one back through Romario Jonas, whose deft header from Mark Bitmead’s free kick gave the keeper little chance.  At that point there was still 30 minutes left and with Ashford having far more possession, it seemed that an equaliser would not be too long in coming.  It just didn’t happen though despite everyone’s best efforts and another home match was lost.  Credit must go to Histon for their determined defending and they certainly didn't have the look of a side facing relegation.

There is no midweek 1st Team match so the next game is on Saturday at home to Kempston Rovers.

It was a better story on Sunday as Paul’s Under-13’s put the icing on a fine season winning their County Cup Final against Hanwell by 6 goals to nil, five of them coming in the first half.  Played at Northwood, Hanwell looked a very decent side in possession but they had no answer to the more physical play of the Tangerines whose finishing was an example to any side.

Sunday was a good day all round, duly celebrated under the big new marquee, with the Ladies obtaining a vital draw at closest rivals Godalming Town, thanks to a last minute goal from Sequoia Belworthy.  Ashford “Lady of the Match was Lauren Restel.  The ladies now need just a point to be crowned champions of their division with two games still to play.  Not to be outdone the Sunday social side celebrated a rare win as well

We have received a copy of the details and excellent report from the recent Ladies' Cup Final, written by County President Jim Taylor, who is a frequent and very welcome visitor to Short Lane.  Here it is:

This is the third season of the Capital Women’s Cup, which is a joint venture, involving The Amateur Football Alliance, London FA and Middlesex FA.   It replaces the separate Associations’ Cups with the purpose of increasing the level of competitiveness.   The competition is divided into 3 sections, Junior, Intermediate and Senior.

The Middlesex FA was responsible for organising the Junior Cup final this season, between University  College London Women’s FC and Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies FC.   The match was hosted for us by Wealdstone FC at their excellent Grosvenor Vale HQ.   It was an exhilarating and enjoyable encounter played in a very good spirit.

The UCL starting line up was Pauline Borel-Charlet, Jessica Wadey, Kiah Rutz, Christina Sofianos (capt), Emily Sprake, Sophie Britton, Tara Mathias, Andrea Silksoset, Kirsten Walker, Natalie Faktor and Danika Bethune.

Substitutes (the repeat substitution rule applies in this competition): Fareeha Khan, Myra Adra, Meghan Root, Layla Zahawi and Ariane Maharaj.

Ashford Town (Middlesex) started with Lauren Restel, Laura Huse, Amber Luzar, Jess Boyd, Tia Prior, Lavana Neufville, Irisha Smith, Vicky James (capt), Claire Samuels, Ashley Cheatley and Charmaine Benham.

Substitutes: Jade Harker, Charlotte McGregor and Amy O’Sullivan.

Ashley Cheatley opened the scoring for Ashford Town in the 3rd minute, when she volleyed home Charmaine Benham’s cross.

Play then moved from end to end in an entertaining manner.   However, although both goalkeepers were kept busy neither was severely tested at this early stage.   After 25 minutes, UCL keeper Pauline Borel-Charlet, was adjudged to have picked up a back pass.   Skipper Vicky James received the resultant indirect free kick from Lavana Neufville and cleared the defensive wall with her shot but couldn’t make it dip sufficiently and it passed narrowly over the cross bar.

UCL equalised in the 29th minute.   Jess Wadey put Californian striker, Danika Bethune, clear and Danika took the ball around keeper, Lauren Restel before slotting the ball home.   Then, within a minute, UCL were ahead.   Danika was again the scorer, this time with the assistance of Natalie Faktor.   Soon after this, Lauren Restel made a good save from Natalie at the expense of a corner.

Ashford Town got back on equal terms in the 40th minute, when Ashley Cheatley netted, following a corner taken by Vicky James.   Then, they almost took the lead, when a well struck low shot by Lavana Neufville, from another Vicky James corner flew narrowly wide.

Half time score: UCL 2   Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2

In the opening minutes of the second half UCL’s French goalkeeper, Pauline Borel-Charlet, was hurt in a collision with Ashford Town’s Irisha Smith.   Both players were going for the ball, which had run loose, after Pauline had made a diving save.   Pauline recovered after treatment and continued to enjoy an outstanding match.

After 55 minutes, Ashley Cheatley hit the UCL post, after being released through the middle by Vicky James.   However, 3 minutes later, Ashley completed her hat trick and put Ashford Town ahead again.   Irisha passed to Charmaine Benham, who worked her way through the UCL defence to enable Ashley to flick the ball into the net from close range.

The excitement continued and play flowed up and down the pitch.   A long free kick from UCL’s Jess Wadey skimmed the cross bar.   Ashley Cheatley robbed a defender but her fierce drive was turned over the bar by the excellent Pauline Borel-Charlet.   Danika Bethune worked clear but her well struck shot was efficiently dealt with by Lauren Restel.   Charmaine Benham fed Amber Luzar whose shot was headed off of the goal line by UCL skipper Christina Sofianos.

In the 73rd minute, Danika penetrated the Ashford Town defence and netted to complete her hat trick and level the scores again.

Pauline Borel-Charlet made 2 brave saves at the feet of Lavana Neufville and Ashley Cheatley respectively.   Both keepers distinguished themselves in this match.

Charmaine Benham had a good chance to win the match for Ashford Town, after being put through by Vicky James but she hit her shot over the bar from close range.

Score at full time: UCL 3   Ashford Town (Middlesex) 3

After 3 minutes of extra time, a long ball by Vicky was taken on by Ashley and converted to make the score 4-3 to Ashford Town.   Up to now all the goals in this game had been scored by players wearing number 16 (4 by Ashley Cheatley and 3 by Danika Bethune).

Pauline punched away a cross shot from Claire Samuels.   A penetrating run by Amber Luzar, during which she lost and regained possession, ended with her shot testing the keeper from a narrow angle.   Ashley made a run down the left and cut in to provide Claire Samuels with an opportunity.   However, In the Pauline saved Claire’s shot.  

UCL equalised in the 22nd minute of extra time.   Kirsten Walker (number 13) stopped the trend of Number 16s scoring by netting from close range, following a corner taken by Jess Wadey.

Ashley Cheatley worked her way through the UCL defence yet again and fired narrowly over the bar with the very last kick of the match.

Score after extra time: UCL 4   Ashford Town (Middlesex) 4

Vicky James took the first penalty of the shoot out for Ashford Town but her shot was saved by Pauline, diving to her left.

The next 3 kickers, Jess Wadey (UCL), Laura Huse (Ashford Town) and then Kirsten Walker (UCL) all scored, making the score 2-1 to UCL.

In the 3rd set of kicks Lavana’s shot crashed against the cross bar and bounced down onto the goal line and Meghan Root scored for UCL.  (3-1 to UCL).

The 4th set saw Pauline get her hands to Ashley’s penalty without being able to prevent it crossing the line and Tara Mathias hitting the bar.   (3-2 to UCL).

Then Charmaine Benham scored with a shot which Pauline touched and Sophie Britton converted her kick to win the match for UCL.

Penalty shoot-out score: UCL 4   Ashford Town 3

The Middlesex quartet of match officials, Referee Chris Fernandes, Assistant Referees, Leah Ambridge and Steven Simpson and Fourth Official Dario Zavagno controlled proceedings admirably and contributed to the excellent entertainment.

The Guest of Honour, John Taylor, Chairman of Middlesex FA presented the trophy and mementoes after the game and selected Ashley Cheatley as Player of the Match.   John said that this was a very closely fought battle between several outstanding candidates.

The attendance was 57.

This match was followed by the Capital Women’s Intermediate Cup Final, which was organised by London FA.   Charlton Athletic Women Reserves beat AFC Wimbledon Ladies Development 3-0 with 2 goals from Kylie Manktelow and 1 from Darcy Wells.

Our thanks are given to Wealdstone FC for the use of their facilities and to James Klarfeld and Paul Fruin for looking after us so well on the day.

Those attending Alan Pincham’s funeral on Friday are advised that drinks and refreshments are being provided at Staines Town FC afterwards.

We understand that Staines is only available for a while due to another function, so anyone who might like to migrate to Ashford afterwards is very welcome.  The bar at Ashford will be open from 5.00 p.m.

A powerhouse performance from the Tangerines in the second half ensured another emphatic win last night, at Chertsey Town, by five goals to nil, with four goal hero Mark Bitmead deservedly taking the “Ashford man of the match” award as voted by supporters, of whom there were plenty at Alwyns Lane for the game.

In their previous home game Chertsey had actually beaten league champions Hartley Wintney but Ashford were on the front foot from the start as Ben Murray fielded exactly the same team as in the two previous games, with possibly the strongest bench all season.  It took just ten minutes to open the scoring, Mark Bitmead hammering home as the ball fell nicely for him.

Ashford could have scored more goals in that first period but Chertsey were not a beaten side at this stage and managed to cause one or two uncomfortable moments as the game progressed.  On a difficult surface, crisp passing football was inevitably limited but Ashford might have had a second goal with Bitmead being held back by a Chertsey defender who did not receive what surely should have been a yellow card.  Ashford’s indignation increased as Scott Weight did receive a card moments later, albeit fully deserved.

All was forgotten though as the second half got under way and possibly one of Ashford’s best performances over a long season ensued.  Five minutes in, Bitmead smacked home his second goal and just four minutes later, soon after ex-Ashford Keeper George Armstrong had been lucky to escape sanction for hauling down Bradley Wainwright, Ashford were awarded a penalty for a fairly blatant handball and Bitmead duly completed his hatrick.

Chertsey resistance rather fell away from this point on, even though they stuck to their task defensively.  They were unable though to prevent Wainwright from scoring the fourth goal and several near misses later Bitmead crowned a triumphant performance with his fourth goal, and Ashford’s fifth, on the night.

Whether Ashford can overhaul Camberley for the coveted promotion place remains to be seen but all they can do is to try to win at Epsom & Ewell on Saturday in their final league match and see what happens after that. Epsom are a very good side though, who were very much in the promotion hunt themselves until recently and will have other ideas but we shall see.  We need the same type of support at Epsom (Chipstead) on Saturday as we had last night, so Ashford supporters, please try and get there if you can.

Prior to the match at home to Sutton Common Rovers on Saturday, a minutes applause took place following the death of long time supporter Alan Pincham.  It was immaculately observed by both sides and we thank our visitors accordingly.

Playing their third match in five days, manager Ben Murray resisted the temptation to change the team that had won so well at Redhill 48 hours earlier and his decision was vindicated with a further three points in a 2-0 victory.  It is fair to say that the match itself was relatively mundane but there was a solidity about the Tangerines that got the job done, and thus prolong the promotion race for another week, with just Camberley and Ashford now involved, Epsom now unable to catch up.

Mark Bitmead hit an early free kick narrowly over the bar but SCR almost opened the scoring on 6 minutes in, when an excellent header from Phil Page was ruled out by an offside decision, which was certainly unfortunate for the visitors in that it was probably the best move of the match.

Although SCR were well in the match at this point, Ashford gradually asserted themselves and just prior to the half-mark, some desperate defending from the visitors, during which the ball was cleared off the line twice in rapid succession kept the scoreline blank.  Ashford finally got their noses in front in stoppage time in the first period, when Bradley Wainwright went down under a challenge in the area, leaving Alex Fisher to step up and direct his penalty low into the corner.  Ashford almost had another one immediately when SCR gave the ball away from the re-start and Jack Beadle sensing the keeper was off his line sent in an audacious effort which hit the bar.

On the hour mark Ashford doubled the lead.  Wainwright, later named “Ashford man of the match”  was involved again, dummying the ball to give Bitmead his opportunity to crash home his 37th goal of the season.  Max Webb came close to scoring soon afterwards as did skipper Russell Canderton.  SCR also had their moments but generally Ashford looked comfortable and, as an added bonus, Murray was able to give some game time to Perry Luckins and Dan Fleming, both returning from injury.  Fleming looked keen to make up for lost time and he could have had two goals in the final few moments, one effort being well saved and the other coming back from the cross bar.

It’s just a little less hectic this week, with two away matches to complete the season.  On Tuesday evening, the Tangerines go to Chertsey Town, who managed to beat Hartley Wintney in their last home game only to succumb 1-3 to Redhill on Saturday.  We know it will be tough though but we need to grind out another win if we can and we then go to Epsom & Ewell on Saturday.  They blew their big chance by losing at home to Camberley two weeks ago and are now out of the race but will doubtless be keen to beat us and they can play with no pressure.  Camberley are away to Chessington & Hook on Tuesday, although it may be played away from Chessington, and away to SCR on Saturday, before they play their match in hand, away to Hartley Wintney, on Bank Holiday Monday (kick-off 1.00 p.m.)

On to the Ladies, who recorded what is probably the highest winning score in a semi-final of all time, on Sunday, when they beat London Bari Ladies by 22 goals to 1 in the Sue Sharples Memorial Trophy.  The Final will take place against New London Lionesses on 15th May 2016 at Hampton & Richmond Borough FC.

 

Ashford faced a tough match at Redhill on Thursday evening, just 48 hours after the Middlesex Charity Cup match at Hanworth Villa. 

Redhill had to win, as a draw or defeat would condemn them to a relegation finish and given their recent vastly improved form, a hard and difficult match was anticipated.  The pitch was not the easiest to play on either but in one of their most dogged and impressive performances of the season, the Tangerines gave an impressive display over much of the match, eventually finishing 4-0 winners to prolong the promotion race.

Although the home side had the first real opportunity, following a slip by Josh Andrew, Ashford started like a train and should have gone ahead rather earlier than they actually did, with Mark Bitmead unable to get sufficient power into his effort.  Bitmead, full of running, then almost put Jack Beadle in but an excellent interception probably prevented a certain goal.  Ashford were not to be denied though and on 18 minutes Bailey Mummery turned and hammered the ball home after being played in by Bitmead.

Despite any number of chances Ashford were unable to increase their lead by the break and it was Redhill who came out firing at the start of the second half and they were unlucky just four minutes in when a snapshot hit the bar and rebounded out with some ferocity.  The game slowly turned again and in the 70th minute Bradley Wainwright, arguably enjoying his finest ever game in Ashford colours, scored from wide, with the keeper caught out.

Three minutes later and the game was safe as Ashford scored their third goal of the evening.  It was down to the persistence of Wainwright who robbed his opponent on the goal line, ran in towards the goal and rolled the ball across to the unmarked Jack Beadle, who made no mistake.

It was virtually all Ashford now and shortly before the end the fourth goal went in and it was the best of the night. Bitmead, running towards his own goal with the ball, turned and sent a perfect pass down the line for the marauding Andrew who slipped it across to the onrushing Wainwright who gleefully struck home his second of the night.

The “Ashford Player of the Match” award was a close vote amongst supporters but in the end it was shared between Wainwright and Scott Weight.  A big thank you goes to the sizeable number of Ashford supporters who travelled.

Had this match “gone wrong” one might have feared what could happen on Saturday when we welcome Sutton Common Rovers to Short Lane for our final home match of the season, for our third match in five days.  As it is, one would anticipate that the whole squad will be re-energised to keep fighting Camberley for that one promotion spot.

Our opponents on Saturday have had something of a mixed season in the League, but enjoyed a superb run in the FA Vase and were dumped out on an awful surface at Bowers & Pitsea after any number of postponements. 

Please note that subject to the approval of the referee and our opponents, there will be a minute’s applause prior to the match following the sad loss of long time supporter and ex-player Alan Pincham, whose funeral takes place at Hanworth Crematorium on Friday 29 April, at 2.00 p.m.

Also tomorrow, Alan Hill will be going round with forms for supporters to vote for the “Supporters Player of the Year”.  There are any number of candidates this season one would think.  Indeed, even if Ashford were to lose their three remaining matches, this will have been an excellent season with very few blips and if we do end up losing out to Camberley, who play at Guildford City tomorrow, we will be back even stronger next season and maybe even win a match in the FA Vase ourselves.

 

Here are the Junior fixtures for this coming weekend, as supplied by Junior Chairman, Nick Bailey

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

No Fixture


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

No Fixture


Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

No Fixture


Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Bill U7s v Spelthorne 11am


Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Graham U10s v Hampton 10am


Ashford Town – Outfield

Conor U15s v G4G (SATURDAY) 10am
Larry U12s v Croygas 10am (9v9)
Carl U17s v Imber Court 11:30


Ashford Town Stadium

No Fixtures


Away Games

Nelson U10s v Hanworth
Fin U13s v Meadow Sports
Ben U15s v Raynes Park
Simon U15s v Staines Lammas
Tim U16s v Corinthian Casuals

No Games

Neil U7s
Tom U7s
Matt U8s
Matt U9s
Andy U8s
Craig U13s
Martin U14s

 

Ashford must have set some kind of record by losing four semi-finals in one season, Twice in the Middlesex Charity Cup (last season’s was played at the start of this season), the Middlesex Senior Cup and the League Cup.

This latest defeat at the hands of Hanworth Villa on Tuesday evening was an odd match, with Ashford giving lots of effort, especially in the second half but rarely looking as if they could pull the game round, once Hanworth scored their second goal after 54 minutes.

Alan’s funeral will take place on FRIDAY 29 APRIL at 2.00 p.m. at Hanworth Crematorium. 

 

In their first ever Cup Final, played at Wealdstone FC, on Sunday, Ashford Ladies lost in the Final of the Capital Counties Cup by the narrowest of margins to University College London on penalties (3-4) after the match finished at 4-4 after extra time.

In a match devoid of back chat and fouls, both sides were fairly evenly matched, with Ashford going ahead iearly on, only for their opponents to score twice in a few minutes to go in front.  Ashford always looked as if they had goals in them though and made it two apiece at the interval.

Both teams continued t slug it out in the second half and there was not a lot really to choose between them the score at 90 minutes being three apiece.  After 30 minutes extra time, it had progressed to four apiece and so on to penalties.  After the rather bizarre decision to take them at the end devoid of spectators, Ashford finally succumbed, eventually losing by the odd goal, or rather penalty. 

There will doubtless be a more detailed report shortly on the Ladies site, but mention must be made of Ashford's leading scorer, Ashley Cheatley, who certainly knows where the net is, scoring all of Ashford's goals, and scoring her penalty.  Unfortunately, UCL also had an impressive goal scorer (sorry I don't have her name) who also scored her side's four goals.  The University keeper also impressed greatly and it is fair to say that, without her, Ashford may well have won this match.

Next Sunday, the Ladies will face London Bari in the Semi-Final of the Sue Sharples Memorial Trophy so they have another chance to win a cup this season.

Team yesterday was:  L Restel, A Luzar, L Huse, T Prior, J Boyd, C Samuels, V James, L Neufville, I Smith, C Benham, A Cheatley

 

WINDSOR 1  ASHFORD 2  SATURDAY 16 APRIL 2016

As predicted by manager Ben Murray, Ashford put the cup defeat against Camberley in midweek to the back of their minds, as they won a hard fought match at Windsor on Saturday by two goals to one.

Neither side did full justice to the excellent surface in the opening stages, play being quite scrappy at times.  Ashford had the greater possession and failed to take two excellent opportunities but it was the Stags who scored first on 18 minutes through Ricardo Cannon.

The second half saw Ashford step up the pressure and just after the hour mark, up popped Mark Bitmead with his 36th goal of the season.   It was mostly Ashford now but the quest for the winning goal was elusive and Windsor had chances of their own.  It was beginning to look as if the spoils would have to be shared but in the 88th minute, Samad Kazi’s pace enabled him to slot the ball home, to give the Tangerines all three points.  The goal was the 100th in the League whilst the three points gave Ashford four more points than they totalled last season with still three league matches to play.

There is now a very busy week to contend with.  On Tuesday evening, we make the short trip to play Hanworth Villa in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup.  Don’t forget that kick-off is 7.30 p.m.

We then have to travel to Redhill on Thursday evening because they had run out of available Tuesdays for re-arrangements. 

To complete a busy week, Sutton Common Rovers are the visitors for our final home match next Saturday.

Please note that there are some minor problems with the web site at present.  Gareth Coates is attempting to resolve them but until we have the all clear, further information will be placed on either or both the Ashford Facebook page or on the Ashford Pitchero site.

Our apologies for the delay in posting a match summary from Tuesday night, not helped by the very sad news of Alan Pincham’s death.  He will be greatly missed and even had Ashford won on Tuesday this news would have put a damper on it.

As it was, although perhaps the three goal difference was a little harsh, there was no doubt that Camberley deserved to win the match and we wish them well in the Final.

From an Ashford perspective, the game got off to the worst possible start, with Camberley achieving something they couldn’t manage in the recent league match between the sides, and scoring in the 4th minute following some early relentless pressure.  Indeed Ashford’s normally steady defence seemed all at sea on occasions, partly due maybe to the absence of both Will Boye and Josh Andrew, both cup-tied.

A defining moment came shortly before the half-hour mark when Dan Fleming turned and hit a drive that hit both posts without going in.  Had that resulted in a goal, the scores would have been level and who knows what might have happened but a second Camberley goal very quickly afterwards more or less sealed Ashford’s fate.

The second half saw an improvement from Ashford and in terms of possession they possibly shaded it but the experienced Camberley side absorbed any Ashford attacking moves with comparative ease and Ashford rarely looked as if they could retrieve the situation.  All hope disappeared on 73 minutes when a miscued clearance from Tyler Tobin went straight to a Camberley player, who with no further ado volleyed the ball back into the net from an acute angle to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

Given that Ashford won the equivalent league match just two weeks earlier rather more comfortably than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, this was something of a disappointment for Ashford supporters as Camberley took full revenge.  There is no time for moping about the result though as the intense battle between Ashford, Camberley and now Epsom & Ewell for promotion hots up on Saturday, especially with Camberley going to Epsom, whilst the Tangerines make the short trip to Windsor, who are as good as anyone on their day.  More on that one on Friday.

There is no news yet concerning the funeral arrangements for Alan but details will be put on the web site when we know them.

We are very sad to announce that club stalwart Alan Pincham has died today after a lengthy spell in hospital.

Our deepest sympathies to Alan's wife Vicky and daughter Sarah and all members of Alan's family.  He will be greatly missed by everyone at Ashford Town and doubtless Staines Town, being a great supporter of both clubs and of football in general.

 

It was back to the League on Saturday with a home match against Guildford City and a fairly comfortable victory ensued for the Tangerines as they won by four goals to one.

It took less than two minutes for Ashford to go in front and, with the visitors already low on confidence following five consecutive defeats, it was just the start Ashford would have wished for.  The goal was a simple one with Mark Bitmead getting free and crossing for an unmarked Bailey Mummery who made no mistake.

Guildford were offering little resistance in the early stages and the lead was doubled soon after the quarter of an hour mark, when the purposeful Max Webb laid on a goal for the in-form Dan Fleming to stroke home.  There were clear signs at this point of Ashford might knock in plenty more but the visitors rallied and just three minutes later Darren Ceasar pulled one back and it was a good goal.  Ashford had been giving too many free kicks away in their own half and the goal came from another one.  It was an excellent header from the kick which gave Tyler Tobin in goal little chance.

Guildford though were unable to capitalise and the two goal margin was restored on 38 minutes when Fleming  put his effort back past the keeper for a well crafted goal, although the keeper may have felt he could have done better on this occasion although he made plenty of other decent stops.

The second half meandered along with no great excitement although Ashford had good chances to increase the lead, all rather squandered, whilst the visitors occasionally looked dangerous but without seeming to show any concerted desire to get back in the game.  With just a few minutes left though Ashford did score again when Bitmead sent in a low effort which deceived a defender who got the final touch and that was that.

Ashford now move on to Tuesday evening when Camberley Town are the visitors once again, this time in the semi-final of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, to see who will meet either Farnham Town or Cobham in the Final on Saturday 7 May at Windsor FC.  Doubtless both Ashford and Camberley would have preferred to have avoided each other at this stage but it was not to be, and a close match can be expected, with a win apiece this season in the League.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.

Ashford take on Guildford City this afternoon at Short Lane.

Guildford are currently in mid-table sitting in 11th place but have suffered something of a slump, losing all their last four matches, the most recent being a 1-5 reverse at home to Epsom & Ewell.  In an extraordinary game at The Spectrum earlier in the season, Ashford came from behind when very late goals gave us a 3-1 victory right at the death and something very similar happened the previous season, which does at least illustrate that the lads never give up.

It is now pointless to go on about last week’s injustice but two wins in midweek have enabled Camberley to go above us on goal difference with a game in hand.  They are at home to Raynes Park Vale today when one would expect them to win so today’s match assumes significant importance for us.

Camberley visit us, of course, in the semi-final of the League Cup on Tuesday evening, whilst the Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final at Hanworth Villa will take place on Tuesday 19 April, kick-off 7.30 p.m.

Ashford were close to their best on Tuesday evening when they took on and beat Ryman Premier Division club Enfield Town in the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup, winning by two goals to nil.  Enfield fielded a comparatively young side which nevertheless was both competitive and pacey, and it made for an enjoyable encounter.  Ashford also made some rotation changes.

The visitors started at a frantic pace and Ashford were grateful to Tyler Tobin who had to be on his toes almost at once.  It did not take the Tangerines too long though to get into the game and they scored with just about their first attack with less than three minutes on the clock.  Dan Fleming robbed a defender on the edge of the penalty area and crossed it for an unmarked Mark Bitmead to control and score with aplomb.

It was impressive stuff and there was more to follow on 22 minutes when Perry Luckins made no mistake to double the lead, with Fleming once again the provider.  In truth it could have been more as Ashford played some good stuff all round but the tables were turned to an extent in the second half as Enfield visibly improved, threatening on several occasions.  With Tobin in top form though, ably supported by the back four, in which Samad Kazi impressed, as always, they were unable to retrieve the situation and as the half progressed, the play became ever more even.

Bradley Wainwright was desperately unlucky when he unleashed a powerful effort from some 30 yards after a clever dummy by Bitmead, only to see his effort ruled out for what must have been a tight offside decision.  Overall though referee Paul Andrews and his assistants were excellent, with neither side incurring so much as a caution.  Ashford supporters voted Bailey Mummery as the “Ashford Man of the Match” and few could argue with that given Bailey’s incredible energy throughout but Tyler Tobin, who was at his absolute best, along with others, certainly ran him close.

Ashford will now make the short journey to our friends and rivals Hanworth Villa in the semi-final on Tuesday 19 April, with the winners taking on either Cockfosters or Rayners Lane in the Final on Monday 2 May, at Northwood FC.

In the meantime Ashford look forward to the visit of Guildford City on Saturday of which there will be more in due course.

The Under-18’s are also in action this week, albeit with a very tough encounter this evening (Wednesday) when they entertain Hayes & Yeading U18.

 

Ashford now have to put the injustice of Saturday’s result behind them as they face Enfield Town at Short Lane on Tuesday evening in the Quarter Final of the Middlesex Charity Cup, with the winners drawn away to Hanworth Villa in the semi-final.

It wasn’t too long ago that we travelled to Enfield in the Middlesex Senior Cup and against one of the leading Ryman Premier Division sides, we took them to extra time, only tiring late on, when, following a 4-4 draw after 90 minutes, we succumbed 4-6 after extra time.  Enfield are, of course, intent upon pursuing a play-off spot to get into the Conference South next season (or maybe the North as you never know these days!) and this competition may not be foremost in their mind.  Nevertheless even though we matched them for most of the previous game, we know that they are a quality side requiring the Tangerines to be at their very best if they are to have a chance of making progress.  That said, this is exactly the sort of game that they do tend to be at their best and it could be a superb evening’s entertainment tomorrow evening.  Kick-off at Short Lane is 7.45 p.m.

There’s no denying the truth which is that Ashford were robbed of three points at Horley on Saturday.  Thanks to totally incompetent officiating Ashford may well end up being denied promotion because of this result.

With the score at two apiece and following an Ashford corner, the ball was forced over the goal line for what would surely have been a winning goal.  The ball was in the net without a shadow of doubt and Ashford supporters and players were celebrating a last minute win only for the sudden realisation that the referee had not given the goal.  Horley went straight down the other end and with half the Ashford side still celebrating the “goal”, they scored themselves which gave them a 3-2 victory.  It was unbelievable and the incompetence of the officials dwarfed everything that had gone before.

For what it’s worth Ashford went ahead through Bailey Mummery after good work by Mark Bitmead.  Horley scored twice to go ahead leaving Dan Fleming to equalise and then we had the above mentioned saga.

Unbelievable and a total farce.

With the official news coming that Hartley Wintney have pulled out of the promotion race, the quest for 2nd place has hotted up and would appear now to be between just three clubs, Ashford being one, along with Camberley and Epsom. 

Ashford had to put up with a draw last Saturday when Hartley Wintney salvaged a point at the death but generally have been in great form lately and they will hope to carry that on at Horley Town on Saturday.  It will not be easy as Horley have an astute young manager and an excellent young side who have shown they can beat the best on their day.  They had actually experienced quite a lean patch but turned things round with a comprehensive 4-0 victory at home to neighbours Redhill on Easter Monday, in one of only two matches to go ahead.

Last season, soon after the start, Ashford excelled at Horley, winning by four goals to nil but two matches at Short Lane since have seen the Tangerines scrambling to salvage a point, both matches ending in 3-3 draws. 

The address of the ground is The New Defence, Anderson Way, Court Lodge Road, Horley, RH6 8SP and there is ample parking.  The ground itself is immediately behind the fairly new Horley Leisure Centre.

Here are this week’s junior fixtures, along with the results from 20 March.

Ashford Town – Outfield

Graham U10s v Friendly (9v9) 9:30am  

Carl U17s v Sunday Men 11am

Ashford Town Stadium

Under 15s County Cup Final 10:30

Ladies v Regents Park Ladies 2pm 

Away Games

Larry U12s v Spelthorne Sports

Craig U13s v Stoneleigh

Fin U13s v Sheen Lions

Conor U15s v Epsom & Ewell 

No Games

Bill U7s

Neil U7s

Tommy U7s

Matt U8s

Andy U8s

Nelson U10s

Martin U14s

Ben U15s

Jordan U15s

Tim U16s 

Results Sunday 20 March

Neil U7s 2-0 CB Hounslow 3/1Twickenham Tigers

Matt U8s 0-3 Walton & Hersham

Andy U8s 4-8 Corinthian Casuals

Matt U9s 2-3 Manorcroft

Graham U10s 10-0 Kew Association

Nelson U10s 5-2 Molesey

Larry U12s 3-4 Bedfont Eagles

Fin U13s 2-0 Met Police

Craig U13s 7-0 Meadow Sports

Martin U14s 5-2 Victoria

Jordan U15s 1-6 Guildford Saints

Ben U15s 2-0 Royals Elite

Carl U17s 2-3 Staines ­­­­­

Ashford’s Ladies’ side continued on their merry way last week with a 6-1 semi-final win over hitherto unbeaten Clapham United Ladies to reach the Final of the Capital Women’s Cup in which they will play University College Ladies in the Final at Wealdstone FC on SUNDAY 17 APRIL, kick-off 11.00 a.m. (Info from MCFA web site)

Here is the report on the match:

Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies put an end to the Division 2 champions’ unbeaten run this season to earn a place in their first Capital Women’s Cup Final by beating Clapham United by six goals to one.

Clapham were favourites heading into this game, having boasted an impressive 100 per cent win record this season and comfortably lifting the Division 2 title last weekend.

Ashford began the game dominating possession and created plenty of chances that saw them hit the post, have two goals ruled out for offside before a thunderous free kick from Vicky James hit the cross bar.

It was the visitors however who took the lead from a corner in the nineteenth minute

Lauren Restel was called into action a few times producing a string of fine saves but five minutes later it was the in-form Ashley Cheatley who rounded the goalkeeper to send the sides in level at half time.

Ashford returned from the break and were determined to make their missed opportunities count.

Five minutes into the second half Cheatley latched onto a corner to put Ashford ahead for the first time in the game.

James and Claire Samuels were brilliant in the middle of the pitch and James got her reward shortly after, having missed opportunities by very thin margins.  She latched onto a through pass form Samuels before driving forward and firing in shot, which took a slight deflection to wrong foot the goalkeeper.

If anyone thought there was a touch of misfortune for the third goal, there was no arguments with the one that came next. A free kick struck from distance by James looped over the goalkeeper to put Ashford 4-1 up.

Amy O’Sullivan came on to the field to the grab her first goal of the game before Cheatley got her hatrick to take her tally to 60 goals for the season.

The next Cup adventure for Ashford Ladies sees the tangerines face Regents Park at The Robert Parker Stadium on 3rd April 2016 – we look forward to your support again!

LINE UP: L Restel, J Boyd, A Luzar, J Harker, L Huse, I Smith, T Prior, V James, C Samuels, A Cheatley, L Neufville

SUBS: P Pantlin, A O’Sullivan, C McGregor, B Sheehan

Player of the Match – V James

 

Ashford’s competitive season ended on Monday evening with the Under-18’s drawing their final match at home to Bedfont Sports, one goal apiece.

With the match looking as if it would end scoreless, Ashford finally took the lead some three minutes from the end through Otman Trad, only for Bedfont to equalise less than a minute later.

Ashford are looking to recruit players for their new ladies’ team, due to start up next season and the first open trial sessions will take place shortly, more details to follow.  In the meantime you can follow the new Ladies’ team on Twitter at @AshfordMiddxLFC

 

 

 
 

ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDLESEX)
FOOTBALL CLUB LIMITED
Robert Parker Stadium, Short Lane, Stanwell, Middx. TW19 7BH
Tel: 01784 245908  Fax: 01784 253913 Web: www.ashfordtownmiddlesexfc.com

37TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE CLUB AND THE 4TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE COMPANY, TO BE HELD 14th MAY 2015 (commencing at 8pm)

AGENDA

1.         MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (15TH MAY, 2014)

2.         CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

3.         GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT

4.         FOOTBALL SECRETARY’S REPORT

5.         FINANCIAL REPORT

6.         FOOTBALL MANAGER’S REPORT

7.         FACILITIES REPORT

8.         MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT

9.         BAR MANAGER’S REPORT

10.       ELECTION OF DIRECTORS

11.       ELECTION OF GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND OTHER OFFICERS

12.       ANY OTHER BUSINESS (AS ALLOWED BY THE CHAIRMAN)

Important:

Directors and Committee Members currently in post shall retire and automatically nominated for

re-election unless that have indicated they do not wish to stand.

 

Only Full Members are eligible to be elected to the Board, unless approved by the existing Directors.

 

NOMINATIONS should be submitted in writing to the General Secretary. Any such correspondence must be received no later than 1st May, and may be sent by post to 36 Imperial Road, Bedfont, Middlesex, TW14 8AG, or passed to him in person. The List of Nominations will be published on the Club’s website and displayed in the clubhouse prior to the meeting.

This evening (Monday) Ashford’s Under-18 side, now bolstered by many of Nick Bailey’s U16 side, will stage their final home match of the season at Short Lane against neighbours Bedfont Sports, who have enjoyed a fantastic season, finishing in 2nd spot in the Ryman Youth League and winning the County Senior Youth Cup

For Ashford it is now very much a case of starting to prepare for the future.  Although those involved obviously want to win, the main purpose of the Under-18’s and indeed, every other team in the club, is to prepare and ultimately bring on players to play in the 1st Team.  Over many years now, this has been a highly successful policy at Ashford and even this season, when the Under-18’s have generally not performed as we would have hoped, we have still seen players gradually coming through into 1st Team football.  The most obvious one recently has been Ilia Petrovic, who has been quietly impressive and with his massive frame he certainly has the physique to adapt to 1st Team football.  Another player to have made it into the 1st Team squad in April was Mason Roseboom.

Kick-off tonight is 7.45 pm as usual and the match will also mark the final “official” appearance of manager Sean Coldwell who is leaving us shortly to take up a coaching position in Austria.  Sean has been instrumental in various improvements at the Club and has played a full part in developing players.  We shall miss him and wish him every success in his new job.

With this season almost concluded, we now wait to see who will be coming into and who may be leaving the CCL next season.  We won’t find out until at least the third week of May when the FA usually make their decisions known as they affect Steps 5 and 6.  It is certain that champions Molesey will be promoted, although to which League is yet to be known.  Also definite, as far as anything can be in football, is the relegation of bottom club Frimley Green and possibly Chertsey Town.  Coming up from Division One will be AFC Croydon Athletic and possibly Chessington & Hook United, where a magnificent run in recent weeks has seen them needing to beat Alton Town next Saturday to clinch 3rd place and with it, promotion.  We hope that this season, the FA will not use the CCL as a supply chain for other leagues, with any number of clubs playing outside the CCL when their natural geographical area is within this league but, as all clubs have been warned, anyone can be moved if it is so deemed.

Coming down from Step 4 should be, inter alia, AFC Hayes, North Greenford United, Redhill, Horsham and East Grinstead, all of whom the CCL would see as potential “joinees”.  It won’t happen in every case though, as various clubs who were at higher levels have folded, creating reprieves.  There is a rule now requiring the bottom club in each division to be relegated whatever happens, so that should ensure both AFC Hayes and Horsham (surprisingly) come down, but both are on the fringes as far as the CCL is concerned.  All that can be reasonably asked though is that, at the very least, the League gets at least one club back in place of Molesey.

In Division One, a big well done to Abbey Rangers, who have finished in a promotion position in the Surrey Elite League and, having achieved the grade required to join the CCL, will be with us next season.

Other news is that we will be returning to Sutton United next season, not to play them, but to meet Mole Valley SCR, soon to be known as Sutton Common Rovers, who have secured a ground share at Gander Green Lane, a highly enterprising move indeed.

More news as we get it.

This is to give notice that the Club's AGM will take place on Thursday 14 May, commencing at 8.00 p.m. in the Clubhouse.  

General Secretary Balmer will put up the agenda at the Club very shortly and all people with an interest in the Club are invited to attend.

Firstly we can bring you the good news that, following Cove’s 2-4 defeat at Guildford City on Wednesday evening, we are now virtually assured of 3rd place in the final table.  (Cove would have to beat Hanworth Villa by a 13 goal margin or better on Saturday to top us).  It is important not only because of possible prize money, although the League has not issued any details but also because it should guarantee an exemption to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Vase next season.  Once again, well done to all our players and management for turning the club around following relegation last season.

Secondly male members enter the club at your own peril on Friday evening from 7.00 p.m. onwards as there is a Ladies’ evening taking place, the details of which are shrouded in secrecy, although we understand that the event is something along the likes of an Anne Summers party.  In seriousness, all ladies are warmly invited to attend (there is no entry fee) but just on this one night we would ask our male members not to come along after 7.00 p.m.  Thanks for your co-operation.

Next our Under-18’s have their final match on Monday 27 April when they will entertain Bedfont Sports in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  It has been a difficult season for the Under-18’s but they have rallied somewhat recently and in their last match pulled off a magnificent 4-0 win away at Aldershot.  Bedfont Sports have had an excellent season at U18 level and it should be a good match.  Also it is manager Sean Caldwell’s last match in charge before he takes up a new coaching job in Austria.  He has been tireless in his efforts for the Club in recent seasons and we wish Sean all the best.  He wil be delighted to see you on Monday if you can make it.

We next come to report upon the magnificent effort last weekend by Pat Munns, along with Anne and others who embarked upon a 26 mile walk to London for charity.  Pat has been with our club since 1967 I believe and this was a superb effort which should be properly lauded.  The party left Hampton Court at just after 8.00 a.m. arriving at the London Eye at 3.45 p.m.  The walk has already raised £800+ for the two charities being supported and there is still the opportunity of making a donation to these worthy causes.  Please leave any such donations in an envelope behind the bar, marked for Pat’s attention, and he will pick them up. 

Alternatively, you can make a donation directly by going to either or both of the Charities’ web sites and donating directly.  They are:  the Midas Plus Charity and Leukaemia Research, and the web sites are:http://www.midasplus.org.uk/ and https://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/news    Just click on research to make a donation.  Leukaemia Research speaks for itself whilst the Midas Charity is dedicated to helping the disadvantaged in Middlesex, Surrey and surrounding areas.

Finally we have the annual Club Presentation evening on Saturday 9 May, once again at the Moon in Moon, Thames Street, Sunbury, after they looked after us so well last year.  Manager Ben Murray is the principal organiser.  It was extremely popular last year and quite frankly is a snip at £20 per head for guests.  We are limited though to a maximum of 95 people so if you wish to come along please let Ben know.  His email address is:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Just a note for committee members and anyone else who may be available to help.  We have three Surrey Primary League Cup Finals taking place at the ground on Sunday this week, which means we will be extremely busy, so if you are available to lend a hand, please just turn up.  The first match is at 10.00 a.m. and then through the day.

 

Ashford would like to send a message of congratulations to Molesey FC, who effectively clinched the League Championship on Tuesday with a hard fought 2-0 win at Raynes Park Vale.  The home side certainly gave it their best shot and the win only became certain when Molesey scored their second goal in the 90th minute.

It has been a hard fought campaign but Molesey have been there or thereabouts throughout the season and we wish them well as they take their place at Step 4 next season.

Molesey will receive the Championship Trophy at Westfield on Saturday, immediately after their final league match.

On Saturday, Ashford found themselves not only without Mark Bitmead, but also striking partner Dan Fleming, whom we learnt has broken a bone in his foot.  We wish Dan a speedy recovery, certainly in time for next season as this was Ashford’s last game of this season.

Ben Murray played two wide players in Samad Kazi and Sam Balfour and both looked dangerous whenever in possession.  Opponents Hanworth Villa did not seem to play with the urgency that might have been expected from a side facing possible relegation but on the other hand Ashford found it hard to break them down, with no goals in the opening half.  It had looked a fairly scrappy affair to that point which was a shame given that, thanks to Junior Chairman Nick Bailey, an attendance of 220 was registered many comprising of players from the junior teams, resplendent in their Ashford shirts and all eager to claim their free hot dog, again courtesy of Nick.

The second half was far better from Ashford’s point of view and they started to play with some panache at times, although it still took a long time before the opening goal arrived, the 79th minute to be precise when Kazi got on the end of a another decent move and notched from close range.

Hanworth had not done too much attacking but they had already missed a one-on-one earlier and they found themselves with a glorious chance to equalise as the match came to a close.  Instead it was blasted over the bar and turned into a costly error, as Sam Balfour went on another tricky run down the right and crossed for Kazi to force home his second of the afternoon.  Kazi was later named as the “Ashford Man of the Match”.

Having completed their programme, the three points give Ashford a shout for 3rd place with Cove now four points behind but with two matches in hand, namely away to Guildford City and then Hanworth Villa next Saturday.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Camberley went down 0-3 at Molesey in the “big” match of the day and the championship is now Molesey’s to throw away.  At the bottom Frimley Green’s fate is decided after a heavy defeat at Spelthorne.  They cannot now move off the bottom and will be relegated to Division One.  Spare a thought though for Farleigh Rovers, who needed just a point on Saturday to clinch the Division One championship but lost to a solitary goal scored in the 3rd minute of stoppage time by Worcester Park.  Farleigh will have another chance next Saturday when they entertain Staines Lammas.

It is a local affair for Ashford this afternoon as we welcome neighbours Hanworth Villa to Short Lane this afternoon.  Ashford look fairly nailed on now for 4th place but Villa are still not entirely clear from the threat of relegation and will certainly be committed to the game, following a disappointing 0-3 loss at Hartley Wintney last Saturday. 

Ashford for their part will be keen to do better against their opponents than they did in the game at Villa, when the home side came out on top by 3 goals to nil.  Although possibly the three goal margin, with two of the goals coming in stoppage time, did not accurately reflect the overall possession, Ashford rarely looked like scoring on that afternoon and will be keen to put that right.

Today is “Junior Day” when we hope that lots of our junior players will be present.  All adults will be admitted today for a fiver whilst ATFC Junior players wearing their club shirt will receive a free hot dog each, courtesy of the generosity of Junior Chairman Nick Bailey.

Tomorrow we have a very busy day at the club with three junior matches on the back pitch along with three West Surrey Youth League finals taking place on the main pitch from 10.00 am onwards.  At this moment in time, Saturday morning, we are still looking for someone to do the tea and burger bar (or alternatively BBQ) for us, with all the usual helpers unavailable.  If anyone can help, please contact Nick Bailey on 07876 686807

As it is the final match of the season for the 1st Team, may we thank all our loyal supporters, with attendances generally far exceeding those of last season.  It has been remarkable how many people have travelled away to support the team.

After today we have plenty of cup finals at the ground in the next few weeks whilst other exciting developments include a complete refurbishment of the training area, starting next week.  We also hope to have a new Ladies team next season.

A tortuous trip to Farnham Town on Tuesday night, following major problems on both the M3 and the M25, culminated in a 0-1 defeat for Ashford, the goal itself being a strong contender for the most “controversial goal of the season” award.

Once again, Ashford’s resources were stretched to the limit although various players had been allowed to miss the match for different reasons.  Both Jack Beadle and Mitchal Gough were amongst the absentees and they are, of course, key players for Ashford as was evidenced on Saturday at Camberley.  On the positive side though, there was a start for young Ilia Petrovic and he did well enough to be awarded joint “Ashford man of the match” with Samad Kazi.  Mason Roseboom, another youngster came on later and also managed some decent passing.

The pitch was extremely and unavoidably hard and inevitably three touches were generally needed when on a different surface, one would have sufficed.  Nevertheless both teams made a decent fist of it and although Ashford were on top in the earlier stages, there was some good enterprising play from both sides that drew appreciation from the audience, boosted by a commendable number of Ashford supporters who made the trip down.

Chances were fairly infrequent though and the pattern continued in the second half although Farnham went close with a fiercely hit free kick which hit the bar.  At the other end Samad Kazi had a great chance well saved, and Dan Fleming hit a couple over the bar.  Sadly the goal soured the atmosphere and nobody from Ashford could believe it was allowed to stand.  Firstly Russell Canderton was fouled and then keeper Tyler Tobin in quick succession.  The ball ran free and ended up in the net.  After some of the decisions that went against Ashford on Saturday, it was almost too much to put up with.  The club was warned that, overall, the refereeing standards would be lower at this level and sadly, albeit with exceptions, this has proved to be the case, but although this referee was not the worst, this particular decision just about topped them all, coming as it did some 15 seconds after a strong penalty appeal by Ashford for handball had been denied.  Soon afterwards, a ball driven at Rob Curtis, another strong performer last night, from point blank and much closer range then saw him penalised for handball.  It beggared belief.

It was a good job that the League did not depend upon it and well done to Farnham, the win removing any vestige of relegation fears for them.  Yet again though it raised questions – in recent weeks Ashford have played against Hanworth Villa, Frimley Green, Knaphill, Horley Town and now Farnham,  all of whom produced performances that, had they been consistent through the season, would surely have seen them in the top half of the table rather than fighting relegation.  Not a question that Ashford can answer though.

It was not all gloom this week though.  On Monday evening, fielding a team of mostly 16 year olds in the Ryman Youth League, Ashford went to Aldershot Town and won 4-0, a rare success in a frustrating season for the Under-18’s and one that hopefully augurs well for next season, when incidentally Nick Bailey will take over the management from Sean Caldwell who has landed a plum coaching job in Austria.  Nick and Sean have been working together recently.  For the record the scorers at Aldershot were Keji Adenyini x2, Lovelace Owuse and Jamie Walters (pen).

We move on to Saturday now and the final 1st Team match of the season, when we welcome our friends from Hanworth Villa.  There will be more on that one later in the week but just another reminder that all adults will be admitted for £5, partly to thank our loyal supporters who have travelled everywhere, sometimes in numbers, to support the team this season.  For all our junior players entrance is free but we would like you to wear your Ashford Town shirt if possible and get behind the team for what is bound to be another very tough match against a Hanworth side that are still not completely clear of relegation worries.

 

 

Ashford have their final away match of the season on Tuesday evening when they will visit Farnham Town for the first time since October 1999 when a rather dull 0-0 draw ensued.  The ground does have some happy memories for Ashford though as it was at Farnham’s Memorial Ground that Ashford clinched the league title in May 1996 with a 2-0 victory, both coming from the prolific Paul German.

Farnham are currently in mid table with 13 wins and 17 defeats in their 37 matches to date and, although not mathematically certain, do not have any relegation fears.  They have had something of a fluctuating season with some impressive results, including doing the double over Windsor and scoring 10 goals in the process.  On the other side of the coin though, they have suffered a few heavy defeats, the heaviest being a 0-7 reverse at home to Badshot Lea.  They have not been in particularly good form lately with just win from their last six matches.

Ashford came out fighting on Saturday at Camberley, which they had to do if they were not going to be steam rollered.  The Farnham match will doubtless have less intensity but Ben Murray will certainly want his troops to maintain their form right through to the end to hopefully secure 3rd place, maybe even 2nd were Molesey to blow up, although that seems unlikely.

The address of the ground is The Memorial Ground, West Street, Farnham, GU9 7DY and it is an interesting place to visit, with the pitch sunken below the terraces at the top end, and with the changing rooms actually outside the ground and on the opposite side to the clubhouse.  The car park adjacent to the clubhouse is very small so unless you arrive very early you won’t get in it, so best park on the changing room side at the Memorial Hall and walk back to the clubhouse, either round the pitch, or round the road.

Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.

Looking further ahead, the final 1st Team match of the season looms on Saturday when we will welcome Hanworth Villa to Short Lane.  The game has been designated “Junior Day” when all of our players from any of our junior teams can come in for nothing and hopefully enjoy the day with no pressures and some lovely sunshine, if the forecast is correct.

All adults, including our visitors and especially our loyal and regular supporters, will be able to come in at just £5 on Saturday (£3 for OAP’s) as a small gesture of thanks for your support over what has turned into a very enjoyable season overall.

Ashford came very close on Saturday to completing a league double over Camberley, leading by the only goal of the game right through until the 2nd minutes of stoppage time, when the home side finally forced an equaliser.  The result has opened up the championship race, with Camberley now six points ahead of Molesey, with two matches left, whereas Molesey have two games in hand.  On top of that, the two sides meet next Saturday at Molesey and that is not likely to be one for the faint hearted.

Back to yesterday and there was some concern amongst the sizeable Ashford contingent of supporters when they realised just how many regulars were missing.  At the back, Bobby Dormer was suspended, skipper Russell Canderton was missing after a freak eye injury at work whilst Alex Fisher was sitting in a hotel somewhere waiting for Middx County FA to play their County Youth Final today (Sunday).

Others missing were Rob Curtis (injured), Ryan Dearden (injured) and Mark Bitmead (lured away to Kingstonian at the most inconvenient moment, and no doubt also putting his feet up, with them also not playing until today).  In saying that, the Club would wish Mark and any player who can make it at a higher level the very best of luck.  Let’s just hope they play him today and not leave him warming the bench though.

It was, therefore, an unfamiliar Ashford line-up, which included 17year old Ilia Petrovic, making his first 1st team start after a few cameos from the bench.  In central defence we had Mitchal Gough and Max Webb, the latter usually in midfield.  Just in front of them sat the returning Elliott Jones, whilst Sam Balfour came back to occupy the right flank, after missing the last two months.  The full backs were Joe Green and Samad Kazi.

Despite the apparent hotch-potch, the whole side gave it their all and in an intense encounter against a Camberley side hell bent upon winning the league, did more than enough to earn a draw and almost made it three.

The opening exchanges were fierce and Camberley’s main striker Perry Coles could possibly consider himself fortunate to get away with two late tackles that angered the Ashford bench.  After being cautioned for the first one, he escaped with a telling off for the second.  The incidents though raised the temperature and Ashford, playing down the slope, were in no mood to give way to their generally more powerful opponents, taking the lead on 35 minutes when Jack Beadle exchanged a one-two with Dan Fleming and after dribbling into the penalty area hit an unstoppable shot past Craig Bradshaw in the home goal.

The second half saw Camberley playing down the slope and the anticipated onslaught with just about every ball being launched forward from distance certainly materialised.  Most though were defended well although it has to be said that Camberley seemed to be lacking their usual killer instinct.  Nevertheless the pressure was intense at times and was not greatly relieved when Coles finally got what some saw as his comeuppance, committing one foul too many and receiving his marching orders, although this particular tackle did not look unduly nasty.

Despite the Camberley pressure, Ashford arguably had the best two chances of scoring.  The first came when Dan Fleming was sent clear through on goal but he hit his fierce effort a yard over the crossbar as Bradshaw came racing out.  The second came when Tommy Brunton was unceremoniously hacked down in the area for the clearest possible penalty unless, of course, you were the referee who, much to the ire and incredulity of the Ashford supporters waived play on.  Fleming also went down under a challenge soon afterwards but this time the referee was probably right in not awarding a spot kick.

Do referees look to even things up after a player has been sent off for one side?  None will admit to it but with the home side braying at Mr. Edwards (just as, and let’s be honest, Ashford would have done) every time a foul was committed, it became almost inevitable that Ashford would also go down to ten and the unlucky man was Samad Kazi, whose two alleged tackles were barely fouls let along worthy of any disciplinary action.

Camberley intensified their attacking movements but seemed to have no plan B other than the long ball and Ashford continued to hold out until deep into stoppage time.  Finally though a fairly innocuous shot from Nick Sowden beat the excellent Tyler Tobin in Ashford’s goal, taking what looked like an unexpected bounce into the corner of the net.  It was a shame for Tobin and for Ashford in general but it made for probably the fairest result, although another excellent stop from the young Ashford keeper was needed to prevent the home side taking all three points right at the death

It is difficult to mention everyone in the Ashford ranks as absolutely everyone gave of their best.  Petrovic looks a good prospect and did well, after a nervous start.  Every member of the defence stuck to their task magnificently against no mean opposition but Mitchal Gough stood out and, not for the first time, was voted Ashford’s “man of the match”.  Up front Dan Fleming never flagged despite missing his usual strike parrtner, whilst Balfour certainly did not look like a player playing his first match for several weeks.  Elliott Jones was a colossus in midfield for the Tangerines as well but well done everyone.

There are now just two matches left, and on Tuesday the Tangerines travel to Farnham Town.  There is still 3rd place to be fought over with Cove, who scored two injury time goals on Saturday at Mole Valley to rescue a point and the good news is that Ashford should have some if not all their missing players back, although it would actually be quite difficult to leave anyone out.

In the tightest run-in for many years in the CCL, either Camberley or Molesey will be crowned champions and whoever wins it in the end will have done it the hard way with any number of recent results showing that on their day the clubs lower in the table can beat those above them.  In a very tough competition it will be the most consistent club in the end that wins through but Ashford send their best wishes to both Molesey and Camberley, both of whom should be well equipped to do well at the next level.

 

Ashford have just three league matches left this season and whilst the league championship now looks beyond them, barring some very unlikely results, they will be keen to finish as high in the table as they possibly can, to crown an excellent season.  Indeed, if Ashford can keep the bulk of the present squad and add maybe just a little more experience they will certainly be looking to go one better next season.

That’s in the future though and the immediate challenge could not be any tougher with Ashford travelling to Camberley Town on Saturday.  Ashford will be without suspended ex-Camberley player Bobby Dormer and just as annoyingly, young defender Alex Fisher (not Taylor – sorry about that error recently) who will be playing for Middlesex U18 Youth side who have reached the Final of the FA County Youth Cup.  That match is not being played on Saturday but on the Sunday and we wish both Alex and the County good luck but taking U18 players away the day before, which is what they are doing, for a competition that generates little interest unless you are involved in it, seems a little over the top.  It’s just as well that, for Ashford at least, the League championship doesn’t now rest on Saturday which it might well have done a few weeks ago.   We might have had a little more to say although doubtless authority would have won in the end as it invariably does.

At the start of the season Ashford beat Camberley at home by a solitary goal but played very well on the night.  Sadly the same could not be said of the match at Camberley in December, in the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup when Ashford departed the competition rather tamely in a 0-3 defeat.

For Camberley, of course, it is a vital match.  With Molesey dropping points over the weekend, although they beat a very ineffective Epsom & Ewell side on Wednesday, the championship and subsequent promotion is now in Camberley’s hands.  The exact situation is that Molesey have four matches left, including against Camberley on Saturday week, so could notch up a further 12 points, which would give them a total of 91 points.  They also have currently a better goal difference of eight over Camberley. 

The latter have three matches left and currently have 84 points, so they may need to win them all, to give them a total of 92 points, to ensure the championship.  In the League’s most exciting finish for years, there is then all to play for still and Molesey can be assured that Ashford will wish to give it their best on Saturday.  There has been a lot of talk on social media about Camberley being a long ball side and they certainly use that tactic well, especially through influential keeper Craig Bradshaw whose kicking from hands is exceptional, but they are a lot more than just that.  Another player to watch is Army man Keith Emerson at left back if he is playing and he is another player who particularly caught the writer’s eye in Camberley’s recent League Cup semi-final match at Windsor.  They have power and ability throughout their side but Ben Murray will be keen for his squad to show that they can match them and maintain their own challenge for prize money at the end of the season.

The address of the ground is Krooner Park, Wilton Road, Camberley, GU15 2QW and the directions on Camberley’s web site are as follows:

Exit the M3 motorway at Junction 4. At the end of the slip road, On taking the second exit off the roundabout there is an slip road immediately on the left signposted for Frimley. Take this slip road which takes you onto the Frimley bypass. Remain on the left hand side, this will take you to yet another roundabout. Turn left here onto the B3411, Frimley Road. Go under the motorway bridge and stay on this road, through two sets of traffic lights until you eventually reach a roundabout with an Esso petrol station on the corner. Turn left at this roundabout into Wilton Road. Follow Wilton Road, bearing right, all the way to the end where you will find the entrance to the ground.

There is plenty of parking available.

Ashford’s Under-18’s, with plenty of triallists, played a friendly on Wednesday evening against their equivalents from Abbey Rangers, who should become a CCL side next season, and the result was a 2-2 draw.

Just a further reminder to Ashford folk that the meat draw is going well every Sunday with plenty of money being raised for the Club and usually no less than six prizes to be won, plus a bottle of wine if the first prize winner is in the Club at 3.00 pm every Sunday when the draw is made.

Also the weekly Prediction Competition has not been won for weeks now and the prize money on offer for anyone who can successfully predict the results (not the scores) of six selected matches is now around the £300 mark, just for getting six results correct.  There are forms at the Club for you to enter and they need to be handed back over the bar no later than 3.00 pm on Saturday.

Ashford’s Easter Monday fixture was the local derby away to Bedfont Sports and a 2-0 win for the Tangerines was the outcome.

On a pitch in an excellent condition and not too much wind to spoil proceedings, Ashford were able to play some excellent football at times, especially through the middle where Tommy Brunton was always prominent.  Indeed with both teams trying to play good football along with the warm sunshine, it was a pleasant occasion but it is fair to say that Ashford held the upper hand for much of the game.

That said, Bedfont defended well against the constant probing from their visitors and conceded just the one goal before half-time.  It came from the ever reliable Dan Fleming who has now scored in each of his last four matches.  The goal resulted from a misplaced pass by a Bedfont defender, which put Jack Beadle in possession.  His first effort was blocked but, showing great dexterity, he got on to the rebound and crossed low for Fleming to confidently stroke the ball into the corner of the net.

Samad Kazi then produced the run of the half advancing down the left flank with incredible pace going past three defenders but he then opted to shoot rather than pass to Fleming who looked poised to score again and Josh Richardson in the Bedfont goal was equal to the effort.

Ashford seemed right back on form though after failing to beat Knaphill on Saturday but there was concern at half-time amongst supporters that their levels of possession had not led to a higher tally, and that concern was shown to be correct when Sports enjoyed their first meaningful attack of the second period. a fierce cross shot whistling past Tyler Tobin’s goal.

Indeed the home side had more of the ball in the second half than they had in the first but generally only seemed to have one man up front most of the time and Ashford coped without undue alarm, always looking dangerous themselves.  Nevertheless, the goal that finally clinched the three points did not arrive until the 84th minute and it was fitting that Ashford “man of the match” Mitchal Gough should have a hand in it.  He had been coming up late and wide for corners, rarely being picked up, and eventually he got on the end of an inswinging effort from Beadle and nodded it back for the lively Fleming to sweep home at the far post.

Following the other results, which saw Molesey losing their second match in a row, Camberley are now the clear favourites to win the championship.  Ashford, of course, go to Camberley on Saturday, but whatever happens now, Ashford are now virtually guaranteed to finish in the top four at the very least, which after the trials and tribulations of last season, when little went right, is no mean achievement.  A big well done to our Management and Players for turning matters around when I am sure that most of us would have settled for doing no more than holding our own.

Don’t forget the Race Night this Friday, from 7.30 p.m. onwards, in the Club, everyone welcome.