Ashford sustained a further defeat on Saturday losing narrowly at Camberley Town by 2 goals to 1.
Camberley have a distinctive style of play, well known in league circles, which generally involves bombarding their opponents with relentless long high balls. There has been some criticism of such a style but what is often overlooked is that they play the system to perfection, especially down the hill on their own pitch, with all their players well drilled. In addition, they also have a goal keeper in Craig Bradshaw, who is not only a fine keeper but arguably Camberley’s best attacker, with his penchant for accuracy and speed of clearance to front runners who know what is coming. With the addition this season of central defender Chris Ellis they also arguably have the player with the longest throw in the League and that tactic is also used unceasingly.
It all adds up to a hard task for any club coming to Camberley, and whilst they can be beaten, as Horley showed in the first match of the season, it is never easy and Ashford found themselves two down early on from the afore mentioned tactics. The first goal was of classic simplicity when a huge clearance from Bradshaw went over Max Webb’s head and with Tyler Tobin caught in no-man’s land, Marcus Cousins had an easy chance to score and he made no mistake.
The second goal was even worse from Ashford’s point of view. A huge throw from Ellis was not properly defended and it was two, with only 20 minutes on the clock.
It was though far from total doom and gloom. Apart from the goals (admittedly the most important aspect) Ashford actually played some excellent football at times, which may well have seen off lesser opponents. They were given a lifeline just before the interval when Dan Fleming was fouled in the box and the same player got up to narrowly beat Bradshaw from the spot.
Playing down the slope in the second period, Ashford had reason to believe that they were still very much in the match but whilst they enjoyed the greater amount of possession, they rarely looked penetrative and it is difficult to remember Bradshaw having a serious save to make. Camberley were generally happy to protect their lead.
Whilst injuries are part and parcel of football, Ashford have suffered badly just recently and the loss of both regular centre backs and top scorer Mark Bitmead, as well as others, invariably take their toll. That situation was not helped by both Jack Beadle, victim of a late tackle in the first half by ex-Ashford player Dale Webb, and Dan Fleming having to limp off in the second half. Both will hopefully be fit for Wednesday’s match at Colliers Wood.
The players who came in should not be blamed. Indeed George Marks playing for the first time since August did well enough to be voted “Ashford Man of the Match” , whilst Bradley Wainwright also looked lively when he came on. Against clubs such as Camberley though, Ashford do look as if they need a little more brawn in the side. They have the brains.
It will sound like a broken record but yet again Ashford, and probably Camberley, were not over happy with the referee’s performance. None of the three officials managed to spot Webb’s foul, arguably the worst in a match that was hard but never dirty but more annoyingly, after not taking anyone’s name in the first half, he proceeded to punish what seemed like every tackle in the second half, with a yellow card. Ashford ended up with five (that’s another £50) and Camberley four. Some of the cautions seemed to take forever as well to the frustration of all. That said, some of the cautions in recent matches for Ashford were avoidable and we don’t need suspensions which only add to the problems.
It’s gone now and having completed matches at arguably the two most difficult grounds to go to at the moment, Ashford can look to push on, starting on Wednesday evening with a trip to Colliers Wood United. Once again the kick-off time is 7.30 p.m. Colliers Wood are a very different side from both Camberley and Hartley Wintney but they have some very speedy players and it will be another tough match, as they all are, of course. A preview will appear tomorrow.
Other news comes from the Ladies’ side, who knocked in no less than 16 goals without replay against Old Actonians on Sunday. They have now scored an incredible 62 goals in winning their opening five league matches but will have their toughest test so far next Sunday when they travel to play Hammersmith Starz, at Barn Elms. They have also won their opening four league matches. You can read a full report of yesterday’s Ladies game at http://ashfordtownmiddlesexladies.com/2015/10/05/ashford-ladies-maintain-their-winning-start/
British Airways ended up on the losing side on Saturday when they were knocked out of the Middlesex Intermediate Cup, losing 2-3 at home to Kensington Dragons.
Finally, please note that this week’s Ryman Youth League match at home to Bedfont Sports is off, as Bedfont have an FA Youth Cup match. Their next match is now Wednesday 14 October, when they travel to play Wealdstone U18’s.
As soon as we have the draw for the 1st Round Proper of the FA Vase, due any time now, it will be put on the web site.