There was little doubt that, over the full 90 minutes, Ashford deserved to win their ninth consecutive league match, beating visitors Farnham Town by three goals to one. Indeed, it would not have been a travesty on the balance of chances created, had Ashford at least doubled their scoring tally and yet considerable credit goes to Farnham Town, who, when in possession, played some neat football, belying their lowly position in the table, and they succeeded in scoring against Ashford, the first side in five league matches to do so, and may have scored more as Ashford became a little careless at times.
Ashford were without Dan Fleming, injured, whilst Rob Curtis took his turn on the bench along with the returning Samad Kazi and club captain Russell Canderton who at the moment cannot reclaim his place from young central defender Kieran Wright, who is growing in maturity match by match.
Ashford looked determined at the start and it took just eight minutes to take the lead when Mark Bitmead, slipped in by Joe Hughes, made no mistake. Although Farnham sometimes looked dangerous on the break, Ashford continued to dominate possession but thanks to some determined defending, along with some weak shooting, which rather undermined the impressive approach work at times, there was no change to the scoreline before half-time. Joe Hughes had come closest to increasing the lead, hitting a fierce low drive that hit the foot of the post and rebounded to safety. The effort deserved a better reward. So many efforts this season have hit the woodwork and come out again that maybe we ought to think about getting square goalposts back again.
It did not take too long though in the second half before the lead was doubled. This time it was Tommy Brunton whose snap shot gave the keeper no chance. That might have been the signal for the floodgates to open but Farnham had other ideas and having forced a corner, the unmarked Jack Dillon powered home an unstoppable header to give them a lifeline.
There was a period of anxiety in the Ashford ranks but Farnham did not often look as if they would achieve any greater success and the result was sealed when Jack Beadle, scoring in his fourth consecutive match, knocked the ball home to make it 3-1.
The Chad Beadle "Ashford Man of the Match" award this time went to Tommy Brunton, whose goal was a highlight of the game.
Other results saw both Cove and Molesey maintaining their challenge as both won but Spelthorne surprisingly lost again, this time by three goals to nil at home to Epsom & Ewell. It was their first home defeat since March 2013, a wonderful record under the managership of ex-Ashford favourite Paul Johnson.
There are two midweek games this week. This evening (Monday) the Under-18’s are away to Hayes & Yeading U18 in the 1st Round of the Lucas Fettes Cup. It will be a tough ask as the Under-18’s continue to make their way through a set of demanding early season fixtures. The match is to be played at the home of Bedfont Sports FC., where both teams can expect an excellent surface.
On Tuesday the 1st Team are at home again, this time in the 2nd Round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, to give it its full name, against Division One side CB Hounslow United. CB have found themselves in the lower reaches of the table in recent seasons but hopefully it will not be too long now before they move into their new home in Green Lane, Hounslow, when they can surely expect an exciting future. This season they have shown an improvement and will arrive at Short Lane for the first ever competitive match between the clubs, in 12th place out of 16 in the Division One table, having won two league matches and lost four. After an excellent win at Epsom Athletic, they have slipped in their last two league matches, losing 2-4 at Sheerwater and then 1-6 at home to Cobham on Saturday.
They have already visited Short Lane in pre-season and in a match played on the back pitch were good enough to beat the Ashford side that played that evening by the only goal of the match. Kick-off on Tuesday is 7.45 p.m. and, if necessary, there will be extra time and penalties to ensure there is a winner on the night. The draw for the 3rd Round has not yet been made but amongst other 2nd Round ties, all being played on Tuesday 14 October (our match has been brought forward because CB have a County Cup match on that evening) there are some interesting games, not least the clash between Camberley Town and Molesey. Other ties include Bedfont Sports at home to Cove whilst Spelthorne Sports travel to Frimley Green.
Finally for the moment a big thank you to Phil Marshall and his assistants for organising the Race Night on Saturday and thank you to everyone who attended what was an excellent evening.