WMSFL Div 2, as at 14/12/14

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pts

Ashford Town (Middlesex)

8

6

0

2

29

21

18

Marble Hill

6

5

1

0

24

12

16

AFC Feltham Sunday

6

5

0

1

22

8

15

Marble Hill Twickenham

7

5

0

2

24

14

15

Hampton Rovers

6

4

1

1

33

17

13

Continental Boys

8

3

1

4

26

25

10

Load of Gold

7

3

0

4

24

33

9

Bedfont Sunday

6

2

1

3

17

19

7

The Hare and Hounds Sunbury

9

2

1

6

22

37

7

Wayfarers

6

1

1

4

11

19

4

Langdon Park

5

1

0

4

10

15

3

Isleworth Workingmens Club

8

1

0

7

11

33

3

MATCH POSTPONED – This afternoon’s match at Farnham Town is OFF as Farnham’s pitch is waterlogged

Ashford start the New Year with a trip to Farnham Town FC on Saturday, their first since October 1999, when the two sides fought out a 0-0 draw.  The ground does though have some happy memories for Ashford as it was at Farnham’s Memorial Ground in May 1996 when they clinched one of their five CCL championships through the 90’s, when Paul German scored twice in a 2-0 victory.

As has been mentioned before, Farnham were the first club to inflict a defeat upon Ashford at senior level when they won by one goal to nil at Short Lane on 15 September 1990.

Earlier this season Ashford managed to win by three goals to one in September courtesy of goals from the three B’s, namely Mark Bitmead, Jack Beadle and Tommy Brunton.  Farnham’s playing record  though has improved significantly since the early part of the season, culminating last Saturday with an eye-opening 6-2 victory away at league leaders Cove, five of them coming in the second half, and it will not be an easy match.  Ashford though are right back on form and the recent wins at Cove and at home to Spelthorne has seen the confidence flooding back into the squad.

The address of the ground is The Memorial Ground, West Street, Farnham, GU9 7DY.  There is a small car park at the ground but it is advisable to park on the other side of the ground in the Municipal car park and walk across to the Club House.  Farnham is unusual in that the dressing rooms are just outside the ground, with the club house on the other side.

Given the prevailing cold conditions, it may be worth checking that the match is on before travelling, and the clubhouse number at Farnham is 01252 715305.  Kick-off as usual is at 3.00 p.m.

Ashford ended 2014 on a bright note with a fairly solid victory against neighbours Spelthorne Sports, winning by three goals to one, at Short Lane.

Matches sometimes have a certain look about them and right from the start on Saturday, Ashford were at it, taking the lead after just two minutes when Dan Fleming got on the end of a cross from Rob Curtis to steer the ball past Gary Phillips in the Spelthorne goal.

A decent match ensued though and although Spelthorne were without player/manager Paul Johnson, serving out a one match suspension, the visitors played some neat football at times, with the lively Jessie Atiase a fairly constant threat.  It was fair to say though that Ashford generally held sway and after one short corner had almost produced a goal, the visiting defenders still did not catch on and an identical piece of play in the 33rd minute saw Alex Fisher, given acres of time, swing in an excellent cross allowing the energetic Max Webb to get up and power the ball home.

The second half continued in the same vein with both teams playing their part in the entertainment but it was Ashford who scored the vital third goal on 65 minutes and it was Fleming again, who was given too much space, allowing him to look up and send a ball over Phillips and into the net.  It was a superb goal from Ashford’s point of view and effectively settled the match, although Ashford keeper Tyler Tobin, as he had had to be throughout the match, still needed to be sharp on more than one occasion.  Jack Beadle, on from the bench for the Tangerines, took the eye with his direct running and twice should have had the ball in the net with only Phillips to beat but twice shot narrowly wide, and on the day Ashford possibly deserved a slightly greater margin of victory.

It was Spelthorne though, who had the last word, when Atiase reduced the arrears in stoppage time, to make the final scoreline, 3-1.  In the meantime Ashford had introduced 16 year old Illia Petrovic into the fray for his first senior outing, stepping up from the Under-18’s.

Fleming took the “Ashford Man of the Match Award” although there were plenty of other contenders, especially at the back, with Alex Fisher looking ever more assured on the ball, whilst Jack Mullan and skipper Russ Canderton generally kept the potentially dangerous Spelthorne strike force at bay. 

Other results saw both Camberley and Windsor win to keep up the pressure, whilst Molesey’s match at home to Chertsey was postponed.  The big surprise of the day though was Farnham’s 6-2 win at Cove, five of the six coming in the second half, which has opened the League up to an extent although Cove still retain top spot.

There are no midweek matches for Ashford as the New Year approaches, so the next outing will be next Saturday away to Farnham Town, in what will be no easy affair.  More on that in due course.

May we wish a happy New Year to all readers.  The usual New Year Bash will be taking place at the Club on Wednesday 31 December when everyone will be very welcome, including children.  Unlike many pubs, there is no cost of entry and you are guaranteed a good evening.

 

Ashford Town

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve Party at Short Lane

 

 

 

Everyone Welcome

 

 

 

No Entry Charge

 

 

 

8.00 pm on, 31 December

 

 

 

Your DJ, Tyrone Fernando

 

The Directors and Committee of Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC wish all their supporters and everyone connected with the Club a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  A big thank you goes out to everyone involved in turning the Club’s fortunes around after last season’s disaster, especially the players and the Management and we can hopefully face the future with confidence.  There are too many individuals who have either made donations or worked hard for the club (or both) in various respects to name but we thank every single one of you.

January and February are traditionally the months when income is at its lowest and we would ask all members, especially those from the Junior Section, who have embraced the club in so many ways this year, to use the clubhouse whenever you can, especially if you are thinking of holding a party or similar gathering.  As previously mentioned we will be open throughout the holiday, especially on Christmas Eve, to 1.00 a.m. and at lunchtime on Christmas Day.  There will also be New Year Celebrations to see in the New Year, when again, everyone is welcome.

In the meantime, Ashford have one match left in 2014, which will be the home game against Spelthorne on Saturday 27 December, kick-off 3.00 p.m.  Thanks to Spelthorne’s remarkable rise up the football ladder, upon which we congratulate them heartedly, it is now a match of great interest, with both teams harbouring thoughts of possible promotion at the end of the season.  We hope to see a very healthy attendance on Saturday.

Spelthorne, under the control of one of Ashford’s best ever players, in player/manager Paul Johnson (and it still seems odd to see him in any colours other than tangerine) took Division One by storm last season and currently sit in 6th place in the table, 12 points behind Ashford but with two matches in hand.  The match at Spelthorne earlier in the season showed that he had not taken too long to learn the tricks of management and a tough game can be predicted with some confidence. 

Ashford, for their part, seem back on form with the win at Cove a fortnight ago a great morale booster and with hopefully a full squad from which to choose his side, Ben Murray will be expecting a performance from his team.

An unusually sparse attendance, no doubt due to the Christmas period, saw Ashford do enough to overcome a stubborn Raynes Park Vale side on Saturday by two goals to one.

With only occasional glimpses of the football Ashford are capable of, the early part of the match was largely a stalemate but the break through eventually came just four minutes before the break, when a clumsy tackle in the area saw Mark Bitmead step up and thrash the ball home from the spot.

In the opening period of the second half, Ashford looked more impressive and just after the hour mark Dan Fleming got on the end of a ball in the box and showed great technique to strike it home on the volley.  The visitors almost started to lose some discipline but they re-grouped and settled down to ensure that Ashford never had an easy ride.  Generally though Ashford looked strong at the back, with the visitors’ main threat coming from set pieces, especially corners, but when Vale’s Smart pulled one back in the 90th minute when the ball seemed to roll along the line before being forced home, it gave Ashford a torrid last five minutes as the referee allowed plenty of stoppage time.  They held out though and three valuable points were secured.

The Chad Beadle “Ashford Man of the Match” award went to Dan Fleming who was impressive all afternoon, not only for his dexterity in front of goal but his non-stop running and harrying, but it was a close thing with the rejuvenated Samad Kazi looking particularly energetic down the flanks.

Other results saw Molesey winning by three goals to nil in the “big” match of the day at Windsor, whilst Cove won 2-1 at Colliers Wood.  With Camberley and Spelthorne out of action though, the three points ensured that Ashford would retain second spot in the table going into Christmas.

Next Saturday Ashford entertain Spelthorne Sports, in an all-Spelthorne derby, kick-off 3.00 p.m. but more of that one later.  In the meantime, the Club will be open every day through the break, including Christmas Eve, and lunchtime on Christmas Day when it will be good to see anyone who can pop down.  Friends and relatives are all very welcome.

 

It’s back to the League for Ashford on Saturday, with a home match against Raynes Park Vale on offer at Short Lane, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

Following the successive victories over Cove and Chessington, Ashford seem to be back on track after a little wobble and will relish the opportunity of being at home on a pitch that may be soft but will certainly be in as good condition as could reasonably be expected at this time of the year.  As far as is known, manager Ben Murray has a virtually full squad to choose from, with just Rob Curtis possibly still on the sidelines, along with Ryan Dearden, out longer term.

Just as Ashford gained some ground back on Cove last week so the other challengers in the shape of Molesey, Windsor and Camberley in particular have all crept up lately and it would be a bold man who would bet on the final outcome for some time yet.  Ashford’s visitors have not been on such good form recently but it must be remembered that, to date, of the few clubs to have beaten Ashford in any competition this season, they are the only ones to have done it by a two goal margin.  Since beating Ashford in November though, the Vale have lost three of their last four games, including a 0-5 drubbing at home last Saturday against Windsor.

Two dates have been confirmed for cup matches to come.  On Tuesday 20 January, Ashford will entertain Southern League SW Division side Fleet Town in the quarter-finals of the Aldershot Senior Cup whilst on Tuesday 3 February the Tangerines will make the short trip to play CB Hounslow United in the quarter-final of the Southern Combination Cup

The match of the day tomorrow is surely the clash between Windsor and Molesey at Stag Meadow whilst  Cove and Camberley are both on the road, at Colliers Wood and Farnham respectively.

Ashford did enough on Tuesday evening to get themselves through to the 3rd Round (QF) of the Southern Combination Challenge Cup, beating Chessington & Hook United by three goals to one.  Ashford will now be away to CB Hounslow United on a date to be arranged.

The match was switched to Short Lane at Chessington’s request, as their own ground was waterlogged, and it was the visitors who took an early lead after just five minutes when a fierce effort gave Tyler Tobin no chance as it took a wicked deflection on its way into the net.  Chessington looked lively at that stage and with Ashford a little sluggish at the back on occasions, it would not have been  a major shock on the run of play if the visitors had not scored again.

Equilibrium was gradually restored though and Ashford levelled on 21 minutes, when an effort from Mark Bitmead was beaten out only for the lively Samad Kazi to firmly stroke the rebound home.

The match remained relatively even up to the halfway mark but the second period saw Ashford getting more on top and it was not a great surprise when, on the hour mark, Mitchal Gough headed spectacularly home from a corner kick.  Three minutes later Max Webb, later voted Ashford “man of the Match” struck home an effort that would definitely be a candidate for goal of the season as it rocketed home.  That effectively finished the visitors off as their earlier fluidity had gone, although to be fair there was no lack of effort from them.  They were also handicapped by an injury to their keeper Ian Hewitt, although he struggled on bravely, with no replacement available on the bench.

Ashford were content to retain much of the possession after that and gently see out the remaining 25 minutes despite the odd scare or two.  Referee Worrell had a quiet evening with everyone on their best behaviour with not a card in sight.  He certainly gave spectators their money’s worth as well, allowing a total of some 13 minutes stoppage time, equally spread over both halves.  It was hard to see where it all came from in the first half but there were two long stoppages for treatmennt to the visiting goalie in the second.

Contrary to yesterday's information, Tuesday's match against Chessington & Hook has now been switched to our ground, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Chessington made the request this morning (Monday) as the overnight rain means their pitch will still be waterlogged and both parties have agreed that it makes sense to get the match played if possible.

A match that had just about everything saw Ashford put their recent indifferent form behind them as they won by four goals to three at league leaders Cove, leading 4-1 at one stage, only for Cove to stage a fight back that almost saw them snatch a point.

Yet again a very young referee was in charge but his inexperience showed.  One or two abysmal failures to play advantage let him (and both sides) down and a bizarre refusal to award Ashford a blatant penalty which, if scored, would have put the visitors 5-1 up, led to an incident which eventually saw the Cove keeper sent off, and a totally unwarranted caution for Dan Fleming.  It was disappointing that a match between 1st and 2nd in the League did not warrant a more experienced official.

Ashford made a stirring start to the game and two goals in the opening fifteen minutes gave them a solid foundation from which to play.  Mark Bitmead on the right hand side seemed to be finding space at will and was frequently getting behind the Cove defence.  It was his cross that saw Jack Beadle forcing home the opener, with Max Webb doubling the lead soon afterwards.

Cove though are not top of the league for nothing and they play a direct game very well.  They pulled a goal back just before the half-hour mark from a free kick which deceived Tyler Tobin or may have taken something of a deflection.  Either way it flew into the net.

There was a determined look about the Tangerines though, which had been totally missing in midweek at Camberley, and just two minutes later when the Cove keeper came racing out of his goal but only succeeded in heading the ball backwards, Bitmead took full advantage with a skilful lob from distance into the empty net.

Thus it was 3-1 to the visitors at half-time and when Bitmead hit a superb cross shot just three minutes into the second period, to make it four, it looked as if it may be game over.  Cove are fighters though and Ashford were never able to relax.  Then we had the incident where Fleming turned inside of his marker and was tripped.  Anyone who doubts it can watch the excellent video on the CCL forum but somehow the referee saw it differently.  In the aftermath the keeper then pushed the ball into Tommy Brunton’s face with the referee two yards away although he still had to go over to his assistant to check before issuing a red card.

Cove were desperate to get something from the match and all credit to them as they fought like demons to overcome a three goal deficit.  They got one back with still 25 minutes to go and when they made it 3-4 with seven minutes on the clock, one sensed that Ashford may have blown it.  Not this time though as the defence held on despite another bizarre incident that saw debutant Mitchal Gough sent off whilst Cove were preparing to take a free kick.  Nobody knew what Gough was supposed to have done and watching the video makes no-one any the wiser.  He left the field completely bewildered.  According to the referee afterwards, he kicked out but there is just no sign of it.  It made life even more tricky in those closing seconds but Ashford managed to hold on for three points that over the full 90 minutes were deserved, despite the late pressure.

Not sure if he received the Ashford “man of the match” award or not but Elliott Jones in midfield must have come close, whilst Bitmead was a constant threat up front.  How Ashford missed him when he was injured!  Everyone did well though, either when attacking so well for much of the match, or defending for their lives especially in the closing period.

There is a break from the League on Tuesday evening when Ashford are due to visit Chessington & Hook United in the 2nd Round of the Southern Combination Challenge Cup, to see who will go through to play away at CB Hounslow in the quarter final.  Chessington have seen a high number of postponements at their Chalky Lane ground already this season but they are hopeful that the game will go ahead if there is no further rain.  There was a possibility that the match may have been switched to Short Lane but that has not happened and if their ground is unfit, it will be re-arranged for a later date.

On a wet and windy night at Krooner Park, Ashford’s recent indifferent form continued as they were well beaten by Camberley Town in the 3rd Round of the League Cup by three goals to nil.

There are various theories both in and outside the club as to why Ashford have suffered something of a slump in recent weeks such as those who think the team is too young, those who think the more difficult pitches in the winter time are to blame and those who think the team was knocked off course when leading striker Mark Bitmead injured himself and has been missing for several weeks, only making a tentative return this week.  It may well be a combination of all of those things but those who watched the club in the earlier stages of the season will be aware of the quality in the playing staff and it will be turned round.  Ashford are still in second place in the table and a win at Cove on Saturday would open up everything up again, especially with the news that the league leaders have not applied for promotion, which means that the battle for second place will be  ever more important now.  Belief and confidence are probably the two most important words for Ashford to concentrate upon!

Ashford got off to the worst possible start last night despite playing down the slope in the opening period, conceding after just four minutes, when it looked as if the ball should most certainly have been cleared.  The grateful recipient from close range was Matt Bunyan.  The same could be said of the second goal on 33 minutes from Daniel Band.

Ashford’s only real response was a cracking effort on the turn from Dan Fleming from fully thirty yards or more which looked as if it may dip under the bar but a tip over from the very capable Camberley keeper thwarted the effort.

Ashford had a more determined look at the start of the second period and had the ball in the net only for offside to be given.  Indeed there was certainly no lack of effort but when Camberley’s Manny Quarshie  scored their third very soft goal, again from close range, following a throw in near the corner flag, which really should have been dealt with better, it was obvious that it would be the home side making deserved progression to the quarter finals.

Once again the refereeing seemed a little inconsistent, with one or two of the visitors’ fouls seemingly treated more harshly than those of the home side but that is a side issue, as indeed was the appearance of a substitute assistant at half-time from within the Camberley ranks.  That is never ideal but despite one or two shouts to the contrary, he was entirely fair.

Time to dust ourselves down, have faith in the team and the manager and get down to Cove on Saturday.  They have still lost just once in the league this season so fair play to them but they could only draw at Westfield on Saturday and lost at home yesterday evening 2-4 to Alresford, who are in the lower reaches of the Wessex League, in the Aldershot Cup.  Maybe the news that they will not be going up whatever happens will have an effect upon their players! Who knows but the address of the ground is Oak Farm Fields, Squirrel Lane, Cove, GU14 8PB.  Squirrel Lane is no more than a track and is the first left turn when you enter Romayne Close.  Follow the track round and the car park is front of you although there is a larger car park inside the ground alongside the pitch.  The Cove burger bar is also renowned for its excellent fare!

Back to the Camberley match and whilst there was not the usual enthusiasm for picking the Ashford “man of the match” (and a big thank you to all our supporters who made the effort to get there on a horrible evening weatherwise), the recipient was young Alex Fisher, who maybe came out of the match with the most credit within the Ashford ranks, certainly keeping the ball on the ground rather more readily than some of his team mates on this occasion.

On a day to forget for the Tangerines, Ashford lost to Molesey by the only goal of the match, scored on the stroke of half-time by ex-Ashford player Pietro Palladino on his debut for the Moles.

It was a niggly affair, with a referee who looked out of his depth at times but whilst possession overall was relatively even, Ashford found themselves unable to create barely a significant chance all afternoon. Dan Fleming hit one over the bar, whilst the returning Mark Bitmead, on from the bench, had a good opportunity late on but his control let him down.  The best chance was probably the one thwarted by the referee who decided to blow up for a free kick in Ashford’s favour some thirty yards behind play, when it did not look a difficult advantage to play.

Palladino had earlier hit a tremendous effort which rebounded from the woodwork and probably deserved his luck with the goal, when some felt that there had been a handball before, but the truth was that the visitors carved out more opportunities than Ashford and they deserved to win the match.  Russell Canderton was voted the “Ashford Man of the Match”.

We move on and look forward to the away trip at Camberley Town on Tuesday evening in the 3rd Round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup (League Cup), kick-off 7.45 p.m.  Camberley play at Krooner Park, Wilton Road, Camberley, GU15 2QW.  One senses that Ben Murray will have his troops well fired up for this one.

“I wanted to send out a statement about a couple of player movements within the squad.

Reluctantly, Joe Hughes and I came to a mutual agreement for him to leave us last Friday evening. Joe is a fantastic player with a professional attitude and I am truly sad to lose him at this stage of the season, but we both agreed that first team opportunities were limited at this stage of the season. I know that Joe has had a few offers from our league already. I am sure you will agree that he has a tremendous amount of talent and once fully fit and he has his confidence high, he will be a valuable asset to any team in this division or any team in the divisions above.


In the past few weeks we also have mutually agreed the release of Tom Hill, who again was a valuable asset to the squad, but first team league game opportunities were limited with the quality of our full backs we currently have, so it was agreed to let him go.

Both players have left on very good terms and on behalf of the club I would like to thank them for their services and wish them the very best of luck in their future football career.

In terms of current squad, we welcome back Mark Bitmead from his injury, which took longer than expected to allow him to recover 100%, he was on the bench on Tuesday night against Chertsey but was not needed to be risked and will train in full tonight.

The only long term injury we have in the squad is Ryan Dearden, who has broken his hand and will be out for the foreseeable future.

I have today put in our first 7-day approaches of the season and will be able to update you on those next week. We currently have a fit playing squad of 18 players and for me it is important to boost that to 20 players during this middle part of the season. I am also going to be focussing very hard on our youth team in the next few weeks to see which players are ready to get involved in the senior set up. Currently 13 of our first team squad have played for our youth team at Ashford Town, a remarkable stat and show’s our intent to promote local young players.

I am very happy with our squad; we have quality in all areas and have many versatile players that can replica other players’ positions if needed.”

The draw for the next round of the Surrey Senior Cup was made this morning and Ashford will travel to Leatherhead, on a date to be determined.

A generally impressive display saw Ashford back on track on Tuesday evening as they defeated hosts Chertsey Town by four goals to nil.

Chertsey had won their previous two home league matches and Ashford were well aware that they were capable of making things difficult but the seeds of victory were sown after 15 minutes of early domination when Russell Canderton made no mistake as he was put in by Tommy Brunton.

Dan Fleming could have made it two quite soon afterwards but an excellent stop from the home keeper denied him.  At this stage though, Chertsey were far from a spent force and they made their presence felt for much of the remainder of the half, with ace marksman John Pomroy missing a golden opportunity to level things up.

It was a different story after the break though as Ashford now had the strong breeze behind them.  It took just eight minutes to double the lead as Fleming struck and when he followed that up with a second just six minutes later, it was effectively game over.

Chertsey mounted the occasional spasmodic attack but it was largely all Ashford and no great surprise when Alex Fisher made it four on 66 minutes.  There was no further scoring but Ashford had done enough and there was a double boost after the match when manager Ben Murray confirmed that leading scorer Mark Bitmead is over the troublesome injury incurred at Hartley Wintney and will be available for the match against Molesey on Saturday.

In a match of just one caution for a Chertsey player, referee Jallow impressed with his calm handling of the match.

Ashford have agreed to release Joe Hughes who has made 20 appearances this season, 10 as sub, but he has struggled to make the opening line-up in recent weeks, especially following the arrival of Phil Osuhor and understandably wants more regular football.  His stand out moment for the Club was undoubtedly the last minute winner he scored against Camberley earlier in the season and if he goes to another CCL club they will be picking up a fine player.

Ashford are now embarking upon a very difficult set of fixtures in December, starting on Tuesday evening, with a visit to Chertsey Town.

Although the impressive win over a Brentford squad last Friday was a morale booster, Ashford need to get back to winning ways in the League, having surrendered the initiative to Cove in recent weeks, following two successive defeats at the hands of Raynes Park Vale and Windsor respectively.  There are a lot of points to be played for yet though. 

This will be the return match against Chertsey who were defeated at Short Lane at the beginning of October when Ashford won by three goals to one, courtesy of strikes from Jack Beadle, Joe Hughes and Russell Canderton.  Despite the two goal margin it was a hard fought victory and with Chertsey having won their last two home matches against Westfield and Raynes Park Vale, they will again undoubtedly prove tough opposition.

It’s a double date at Chertsey this week, with the Under-18’s also making the trip to Alwyns Lane on Thursday evening in search of Ryman Youth League points.

In case anyone is unaware, the address of the ground is Alwyns Lane, Chertsey, KT16 9DW.  Parking inside the ground is very limited and the side roads are invariably clogged so it is worth getting there early if you can.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.

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