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On a superbly prepared surface at Short Lane, and looking at the match over the full 90 minutes, there was little doubt that Ashford deserved to take all three points, despite the apparent closeness of the 2-1 scoreline.  In fact, the match was hugely one-sided in terms of possession until the last 15 minutes when Windsor suddenly came alive and almost punished Ashford for their failure to finish the match off earlier.

An unchanged Ashford looked well up for the game right from the start and it took just four minutes for them to go in front.  Excellent work from Alex Fisher enabled the rejuvenated Dan Fleming to send in a powerful effort but Windsor skipper and keeper Carl Dennison was in magnificent form and managed to keep it out.  Unfortunately for him, the ball rolled into the path of predator in chief  Mark Bitmead who was left with a tap in.

At this early stage both sides were looking to play good football, with Ashford mainly dominant, but the next incident of note some ten minutes before half-time didn’t really help the flow of the match.  It was a sending off for Windsor’s main striker George Dunbar, who having received an early caution for dissent, found himself the recipient of a second yellow card for something of a lunge on Max Webb.  Although it is probably difficult to criticise the referee, it somehow seemed harsh in the overall context of the match.  Windsor were further annoyed when a late tackle from Ashford’s flying centre-back Josh Andrew was not punished by a yellow card.

The reaction of Ashford’s opponents for a long period thereafter though seemed surprising, given that they were already a goal down.  For a long, long time it almost seemed as if they were content to defend deep and try to keep the score down, hoping maybe to get one on the break.  As a result, Ashford found themselves with the ball almost all the time and Tommy Brunton, immaculate in midfield yet again, seemed to have the freedom of the park to spread it around.  It should have led to more goals but some fairly indifferent finishing, allied with the almost unbeatable Dennison, ensured that it wasn’t until the 65th minute that the lead was doubled.  Another shot was saved but this time Fleming was not to be denied and he notched the goal his all round game deserved.

That should, of course, have been the cue for Windsor to lay down and accept their fate but despite their overall lack of possession, they possess players of some class and as Ashford seemed to ease off, they pulled one back in the 77th minute through Charlie Samuel.  It came from a cross lofted high into the danger area and Ashford found themselves unable to defend it properly, with the aforementioned result.

Inevitably, the goal changed things, with the visitors suddenly sensing that, despite everything that had gone before, they could get something from the match.  In the end they didn’t but there were a few sticky moments before Ashford could finally claim the three points.

Afterwards,, manager Ben Murray was pleased enough with his side’s efforts, with the team now having won six out of their last seven league matches, plus a draw and certainly much of the football was a joy to watch at times.  The vote for the “Ashford Supporters’ Man of the Match” went to Samad Kazi, currently our other flying central defender, although Tommy Brunton ran him mighty close, plus any number of other contenders.  It was also the first time for a while that no yellow/red cards were incurred, although that possibly owed a little to good fortune, as mentioned above.

We now look forward to the home match against Knaphill on Saturday, kick-off 3.00 p.m.  They surprised us at their own ground in the Surrey Senior Cup a few weeks ago, when they generally played football that belied their mid table status, but Ashford will be well prepared on this occasion and doubtless fielding their strongest available squad.

Finally, the whole club will wish to send it’s love and best wishes to our General Secretary Keith Balmer, who sadly has been in hospital throughout the Christmas period.  Keith, get well mate and we hope to see you soon.

With Ashford players showing their absolute dedication with some Christmas Day morning training, everyone at Short Lane will look forward to the match against Windsor on Monday 28 December, kicking off at 1.00 p.m.

It is a “big” day at or near the top of the League on Monday, with Camberley taking on Hartley Wintney and Horley Town entertaining Epsom & Ewell.  Windsor will arrive at Short Lane in 8th place but they have lost just five league matches all season and on their day they are a quality team who play good football.  Within their ranks they have Jake Jenkins, son of Gary, of course, and he played in a couple of matches for Ashford in the 2011-2012 season but he is now a regular in the Windsor ranks.

It has been reported this week that our opponents have lost their captain Adam Kirby who is trying his luck at Step 4 with Chalfont St. Peter, where incidentally, he will be joining up with ex-Ashford players Kofi Lockhart-Adams and Jack Mullen, who are both at Chalfont at the moment.  One player doesn’t make a team though and Windsor have moved swiftly to appoint their goalkeeper Carl Dennison as their new captain.

Ashford will come into the match in excellent spirits after blowing away AFC Hayes by 5 goals to nil on their own pitch last week.  It was a specially meritorious victory as Hayes are not a poor side by any means but they had no answer last week and the win was all the more impressive, given the sticky and very soft surface.

Last season against Windsor, honours were shared, with Windsor winning at Short Lane by 3 goals to 2.  It was possibly not so easy for Ashford supporters to appreciate the quality of the game in the immediate aftermath of the match, because Ashford played superbly well in the opening half, going two up, only for Windsor to do even better in the second period, drawing level, and then scoring the winner right at the death.

There was a degree of revenge though in the match at Windsor, when Ashford triumphed by 4 goals to 3 back in March.

Following Monday, we are at home again on Saturday 2 January, when Knaphill are the visitors but there is a double doubt over our fixture away to Sutton Common Rovers on Saturday 16 January.  Firstly, they are still in the FA Vase but their opponents have still to be resolved following a number of postponements, so there is the possibility that their Vase match could encroach.  Also, if their landlords, Sutton United, recently restored to the FA Trophy, following the fielding of an ineligible player by their opponents, win their next round match on 2 January, they are then scheduled to be at home in the competition on Saturday 16 January, which would, of course, take precedence.  We obviously have an eye on the situation and will let everyone know as soon as the actual situation is established.

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

Ashford faced the prospect of what seemed a very tough match yesterday at AFC Hayes, where the home side had shown greatly improved form and against whom Ashford had already completed two very close games, one cup, one league, at Short Lane.

The pitch was very soft and heavy and at one point the referee apparently had some misgivings as to whether to go ahead or not but he did and Ashford were grateful as their performance turned into one of the most complete of the season, more or less dominating the proceedings from start to finish.

With neither regular central defenders Will Boye or Russell Canderton available, it was a master stroke to pair up Samad Kazi and Josh Andrew together in the central defensive positions as they both made up for any perceived lack of height with incredible pace, and were generally successful in nullifying the threat of the dangerous Sam Saydee up front for AFC.

Making light of the conditions, Ashford attacked from the off and were rewarded on 14 minutes when Mark Bitmead was brought down in the area and he converted the penalty with ease. 

For a period the home side fought back and certainly had one or two chances to equalise but Ashford were looking good on the day and on the half hour mark it was Bailey Mummery who struck with aplomb to double the lead.  After that, the only thing between the Tangerines and their opponents was AFC Hayes keeper Bobby Khairia who single handedly at times it seemed, kept Ashford out.

Mark Bitmead hit the post with one effort before Jack Beadle cut in from the left and rifled home the third goal, followed two minutes later on the stroke of half-time with another penalty, this time for an inexplicable hand ball offence.  Bitmead duly made it four before the whistle.

The paper on the home dressing wall must have close to peeling at half-time but try as they might AFC could get nothing right on the day and the fifth goal for Ashford on 57 minutes was arguably the best of the bunch as Beadle, unchallenged, advanced and hit another unstoppable effort past  to make it five.  Another one was disallowed for offside which must have been mighty close and Bitmead hit the woodwork for the second time.

In the meantime, the home side went down to ten men, when the offender might actually have gone earlier but it made little difference.  With a little more determination, Ashford might have scored more but if there was a criticism yesterday, it was that the later attempts were not quite as clinical as they had been earlier.  Manager Ben Murray found himself able to give game time to three of the Under-18’s, Ilia Perovic, Charlie Rose and Gene Vincent lookalike, Harry Herdman and all looked more than confident.  All round it was an excellent day for the Club as they try to keep the pressure on league leaders Hartley Wintney.  Ashford "Man of the Match" award, voted by supporters, went jointly to Tommy Brunton and Jack Beadle.  Both were superb but there were plenty of candidates yesterday.

A word also for referee Andy Connor who, whilst not pleasing Ashford with his early booking for Kazi, had an excellent match which was echoed by both clubs’ officials, using all the maturity not always seen in the younger officials, to keep everyone in line.

The next match is back at Short Lane, where the pitch for yesterday’s BA match was immaculate, we understand, when Windsor FC will be the visitors on Monday 28 December, kick-off 1.00 p.m..  Windsor play good football and it has the makings of an excellent match.  Indeed with Camberley playing at home to Hartley Wintney and Horley entertaining Epsom & Ewell, it will be an interesting day all round.

Finally, we have the Christmas Draw this very afternoon (Sunday), which will get under way around 3.00 p.m. rather than 2.00 as previously assumed, everyone welcome.  Ashford is also distributing bottles of wine etc. to all the residents in Short Lane today as a little gesture of neighbourliness.

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

It’s a big weekend at Short Lane as we look forward to our Christmas match away to AFC Hayes on Saturday.  Relegated, like ourselves, from the Southern League, they struggled at first to find their feet at Step 5 but after going through a recent change of manager, now find themselves on the up, currently sitting in 9th place in the table, and some good form behind them with only one defeat in their last six matches.

That said, Ashford have managed to get the better of their opponents twice already this season, once on the opening day of the season, when a solitary Dan Fleming goal was enough to do the trick, and then again in November when another narrow victory, 3-2, saw us go through in the Middlesex Senior Cup.  Scorers on that evening were Mark Bitmead (2) and Max Webb.

Kick-off on Saturday is at the usual 3.00 p.m. and the address of the ground is Farm Park, Kingshill Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 8DD.  There is a large car park.

Off the field, the Club Christmas party will take place on Saturday evening, everyone welcome.  Proceedings commence at 7.00 p.m. and Father Christmas will be making an appearance around 8.00 p.m. and we go on till late.  Please make a mental note now to leave the club quietly.

On Sunday, the annual Christmas Draw takes place, around 2.00 p.m. and tickets at £1 a book can still be purchased.  The Club needs your help to make this annual event a success so please buy a few more tickets if you can and also, if you can donate a prize (any Christmas fare would be fine) please do so.  Ideally we need them sometime on Saturday if you can.  If every single member of the club donated a prize, it would make it our best draw ever.  As it is, we will probably have at least 40-50 prizes, so please be generous if you can.  If you are one of the people still to return your tickets, please do so tomorrow (Saturday).

Christmas will come and go before our next match, which is at home to Windsor on Monday 28 December.  It is still holiday time, of course, and both clubs have agreed to kick off at 1.00 p.m.  We shall be hoping for a sizeable attendance that day against one of the sides in the League who invariably play good football.

Last week’s junior results are to hand, as follows:

Larry U12s 1-0 Spelthorne

Craig U13s 2-3 Croygas

Fin U13s 4-1 Corinthian

Martin U15s 4-3 Ewell Saxons

Ben U15s 0-7 CB Hounslow

Conor U15s 4-4 Wandgas

Carl U17s 2-2 Abbey Rangers 

It remains only to thank all our supporters for continuing to support the club this  last year, our players who have given us a lot of pleasure over the last 12 months and, of course, management, committee members, junior members and others who have pitched in to get so much done to ensure that the club can keep going.  Running a senior football club, even at our level, is no easy task and but for everyone who volunteers their services and expertise, it would be a massive struggle.

Ashford 18s fell at the quarter final stage of the Ryman Youth League Lucas Fettes cup going out on penalties in what was a very exciting match between two very good counter attacking teams.

Big thanks to Dave Baker for volunteering to drive the minibus to the ground, the traffic was dreadful and the journey took just over two hours to get to our destination.

Hendon sitting top of the league and full of confidence were playing at home on their usual 3G pitch started the match very strong, dragging our midfield all over the park, they opened the score sheet shortly after with a long ball in the box that took a nasty deflection which found their inform front man who calmly slotted past Ashford’s keeper to make it 1-0.  Hendon were truly in the driving seat and shortly after extended their lead to make the first half finish 2-0 to the home side.

Our lads knew that they were 45 minutes from being knocked out of the competition which has seen us beat Bedfont & Carshalton to reach this stage, with a slight tweak to the midfield positioning we came out with all guns blazing.

Mason sat in the holding position which allowed Charlie and Ilia to push forward and link up play with the front three of Keegan, Isaac and Harry.

Within minutes of the change Ilia and Charlie done a neat one two cutting Hendon’s midfield in half, Charlie who looked like shooting but instead slid in a wonderful ball to our prolific striker Isaac who made no mistake and buried it in the back of the net, 2-1 game on !!

Ashford were well and truly back in the tie and kept pressing and creating chances, our second goal shortly followed when Harry won a 50/50 header and fed Isaac who dragged the ball out wide and delivered a wonderful cross which was met by the head of substitute Jacob Bennett.

2-2 and everyone including the Hendon players and management could see that the balance had swung Ashford’s way, we created a couple more chances but the tie eventually finished and the game went straight to penalties.

My message was clear to the lads, I couldn’t be more proud of the team, coming from 2 down against a very strong well organised side, we were possibly unlucky not to win the game in normal time but Hendon may feel the same.

Penalties is a lottery and all I ask is we make their keeper work by hitting the target which we did on our first two strikes, Harry stepped up and the keeper made a fantastic save, he repeated his form by saving Roses penalty. Our fate was sealed when Aaron missed the target and Hendon finally won which takes them into the semi-finals.

Ashford MOTM goes to Mason for controlling the midfield in the second half.   The Hendon keeper though was fantastic and made some outstanding saves on the night.

We come away with our heads held high and despite a feeling of bitter disappointment, these lads are improving week by week which is all I can ask from them, well done to them and to Hendon, a cracking game and perfect advertisement for youth football.  

Last Saturday Ashford scored three goals in 14 minutes to rescue a point against Horley Town.  They did even better on Saturday, scoring three in six minutes, to see off Guildford City after trailing from the 54th minutes.

Some of the drama came before the match with skipper Russell Canderton somehow hurting his back so badly in the warm-up that an ambulance had to be summoned leading to Russell receiving both gas and air.  The latest news is good though in that our popular captain is back at home and feeling a lot better we understand although the extent of the injury may not be known for a day or so.

The next incident was whether or not the game should take place at all.  Ashford manager Ben Murray felt that the vertical sand filled tramlines, on a heavy surface, were dangerous and could lead to ankle injuries and the like and he was not alone in that view.  It was understandable that Guildford took the opposite point of view, having not played at home for some eight weeks.  The writer’s view is certainly that a number of match officials would not have played the match but Mr. Westlake decided that it should proceed, so we all got on with it, although Ashford remained unhappy with the decision. 

The first half played in yet another high wind had little to commend it with chances few and far between.  It was hard to criticise the players though as the overall conditions made good football almost impossible.

Guildford though made a bright start to the second period, despite the fact that the wind was against them and on 54 minutes they took the lead through Adam Nditi.  It was time for Ashford to get going and to be fair their play improved considerably despite a sending off for Bradley Wainwright.  Whilst on another day he might have got away with a caution, a silly piece of attempted retaliation suddenly gave the Tangerines a far harder task.

The break through was slow in coming, even after the award of a fairly soft penalty which the usually totally reliable Mark Bitmead put over the bar.  Despite the one man disadvantage, and Guildford could count themselves lucky they were not in the same situation, given one or two tackles, Ashford’s ten men were finally starting to take a grip though and in the 85th minute they had their deserved reward, Bitmead the scorer.

The game had changed and just two minutes later Bailey Mummery turned it on its head as he put the Tangerines ahead.  There was only going to be one winner now and it was fitting that the final goal was also scored by Bitmead who took advantage of a wayward clearance followed by a rather headstrong rush by the home keeper from his goal, taking his time and planting a firm shot into the empty net.

Murray was ecstatic, not least because his whole team, sorely depleted on the day with the absence or loss of Dan Fleming (unavailable), Scott Elgar (injured), Max Webb (ill) and Canderton (injured) and others, kept on to the very end just as they had last week and as the manager said himself, they never know when they are beaten.   

The usual “Ashford man of the match” poll took place and it was a dead heat between Will Boye, magnificent at the back today, and Samad Kazi, equally impressive in an unusual position, so they jointly received the award.

After wishing for a quieter game this week, which didn’t happen, Ashford now make the short trip to AFC Hayes next Saturday.  More of that one during the week.

It was a great day for the League in general on Saturday with three clubs through to the 4th Round of the FA Vase, with Camberley facing a home replay on Tuesday evening as they try to make it four.  One of Colliers Wood or Hartley Wintney were bound to go through as they played each other, the latter coming out on top, but superb away performances by Knaphill (at Canterbury City) and Sutton Common Rovers (at hot favourites Eastbourne Town) absolutely stand out and the CCL family will be wishing all our remaining clubs a favourable draw in the 4th Round on Monday.

 

Ashford make the short trip down to Guildford City on Saturday for the first meeting this season between the clubs.  Guildford will be playing at home for the first time in eight weeks following renovation work at their ground designed to cure a specific drainage problem.  We have been warned that the pitch will not look pretty but that it is playable.

The home side currently sit in 16th place in the table with seven victories and eleven defeats from their twenty league matches to date.  Last time out they found themselves on the wrong end of a 0-4 defeat at Epsom & Ewell, preceded by a 2-4 defeat at Camberley Town.  Within their ranks is currently Harry Driver, ostensibly on loan, along with Nathan Turner who had a few matches for us in the Southern League two seasons back.

Last season, we managed to win 3-2 at Guildford, courtesy of goals from Dan Fleming, Russell Canderton and Jack Beadle, although we made hard work of it.

The address of the ground is, of course, The Spectrum, Parkway, Guildford, GU1 1UP and there is plenty of parking.  Kick-off is at 3.00 p.m.

The junior fixtures for this Sunday for Ashford are:

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

Craig U13s v Croygas 12.30

Martin U14s v Ewell Saxons 2pm 

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

Fin U13s v Corinthian Casuals 10am

Ben U15s v CB Hounslow 11.30

Conor U15s v Wandgas 1pm 

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

Larry U12s v Spelthorne Sports 10am  

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Billy U7s v Walton & Hersham 10am

Andy U8s v Mitcham Park 11.15

Matt U8s v Mitcham Park 12.30 

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

No Fixture 

Ashford Town – Outfield

Jo U17s v Paynes Park Vale 12pm 

Ashford Town Stadium

Ladies v Club Langley 2pm 

Away Games

Matt U9s v Westside

Graham U10s v Hampton Rangers

Nelson U10s v CB Hounslow

Carl U17s v Abbey Rangers 

No Games

Marco U15s

Tim U16s

News from the League is that Cove FC have been granted a three match suspension of fixtures.  It is hoped this wil help the club to stabilise after finding themselves unable to raise a side in two recent away matches.

Also, as has been reported, our match at home to Windsor on Monday 28 December will kick off at 1.00  p.m by mutual agreement.

 

 

Good Morning All,
 
This Sunday sees the final game of 2015 at The Robert Parker Stadium for Ashford Town (Middx) Ladies Football Club and I want to get a great buzz and atmosphere around the stadium for this fixture.

It would be great to see you, family and friends all there to show your support for the club and the team who are performing so well this season having won every league and cup game played in this calendar year.
 
It's a 2pm kick off on Sunday, it's free but most importantly you're guaranteed good football, entertainment and goals!
 
Please come and show support to the newest members your Ashford Town (Middx) Football Club family!
 
 
Thank you very much
Will Boye

 

It was a good day for our junior sides on Sunday, after our managers' Christmas party in Kingston.   Some braved their games while others cancelled their fixtures in advance, I got up and made my way to the ground to watch our under 13s play against Stoneleigh, a very entertaining match and after coming back from behind twice they eventually won by 3 goals to 2.

At the football club our 7s and 10s were all at home, Bill's under 7s beat local rivals CB Hounslow 3-2 while Tom's 7s lost by a couple of goals to a well organised Staines Albion side.

Nelson's 10s lost 3-2 at home against Hanworth in what was a very good and evenly contested match, both sides wouldn’t have complained if the result had gone either way.

Graham who was at the Christmas party and one of the last men standing, did the right thing and requested an afternoon kick off for his 10s, and they won by 5 goals to 3. Tthese lads are improving week by week and some really decent football is always on display when they play.

Larry’s 12s played in the quarter final of the league cup at home against a well drilled Doverhouse side, until the last 10 minutes our lads were in the game with the score at 1 a piece but the final 10 minutes Doverhouse showed why they are a couple of leagues above to score a further 3 to win the game 4-1, Larry’s lads look favourites for the league so there is still lots to play for, well done boys.

Fin's 13s are going from strength to strength as once again they recorded another impressive win beating Sheen Lions 8-1 at home, another Ashford side who are favourite to win the league, a real pleasure to watch these lads play.

Martin's 14s once again recorded another win that makes them unbeaten in 4, these lads have improved 100% since the start of the season, very proud of the boys as I know what effort the coaches put into developing the squad.

Ben's 15s came back from 4-2 down to keep their undefeated record going by scoring 2 stoppage time goals to draw the match 4-4 against Ewell Saxons.

I made my way to West Drayton Explorers to support Conor and his under 15's side who were playing for a spot in the quarter final stage of the county cup, Having looked at West Drayton’s previous results on paper this looked a tough test for the lads as the league has West Drayton sitting comfortably on top with a huge goal difference.

The pitch was long and boggy and the Middlesex ref failed to show, but I will say that the coach who stepped in to ref was superb and very fair so no complaints can be aimed his way.

I’ve watched Connor’s team a few times this season and they look like a squad that is very balanced and very comfortable in possession, in fairness West Drayton couldn’t handle the tempo that our lads set and the score line reflect that.

The match finally finished with our lads running out 11-0 winners and securing their place in the quarter final stage, they now look forward to an away trip to Wembley and they know that a win will put us within touching distance of one of the best trophies you can win at our level. The match is scheduled in January, I will send out details nearer the time.

Next weekend fixtures is the last before the Christmas break and we have loads of home games, well done everyone this week.

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

Several matches have come close to being ruined by strong winds lately and yesterday’s affair against Horley was probably the worst yet as far as the elements were concerned, with five of the six goals in the game being scored when the team concerned had the strong wind behind them.

Horley won the toss and elected to play with the gale in their favour and an incident packed match did not take too long to get going.  In just the 3rd minute Russell Canderton seemed to be in full control of a poke forward albeit with a Horley attacker hot on his heels.  Suddenly Russell was on the ground for what seemed a routine free kick and the ball was in the net.  Referee Stoyanov though saw no foul and allowed the goal to stand.

Matters became heated quickly and some dubious tackles were going in for a while.  Scott Weight seemed to be badly brought down on the edge of the penalty area only for Mr. Stoyanov to decide it wasn’t even a foul whilst Josh Andrew could hardly complain about his retaliatory caution soon afterwards.  Fortunately it calmed down and as the half went on, Ashford were reasonably pleased with the manner in which they were coping with Horley’s attacking play, even though they clearly possess a potent force up front.

Disaster struck though on 32 minutes when the visitors doubled their lead and from their point of view it was an excellent goal.  It came from an Ashford corner, taken by left back Alex Fisher, as is the norm, but on this occasion it was quickly cleared and a sweeping movement saw Ashford stretched at the back, leaving Adam Pullen to score.

There was no further scoring before half-time and Ashford remained hopeful that with the help of the elements they could still pull the match round.  Confidence was though taking something of a dip as they were unable to make the break through  and it seemed a hopeless task when Horley broke out and notched their third goal on 63 minutes again through Nadesan – a superb player who could certainly play at a higher level but seemingly one without the ambition to do so, which, of course, is Horley’s great fortune and good luck to him.  Loyalty is a rare commodity sometimes.

Anyway, it was looking like a second home defeat of the season for Ashford, even though a Horley substitute performed the daftest act of the day by getting himself needlessly sent off for kicking the ball at Josh Andrew, for no obvious reason, while the Ashford player was on the ground.

If there is one thing in this Ashford side though it is that they never know when they are beaten and for the second time in five days they were fighting a three goal deficit with time running out.  Manager Ben Murray, not to everyone’s pleasure, brought on fresh legs in Dan Fleming and Bailey Mummery, soon followed by Samad Kazi and suddenly Horley’s defences were breached as Canderton pulled one back.  It seemed no more than a consolation but when Dan Fleming got another two minutes later, the match turned on its head with Ashford having just over ten minutes to rescue what had looked an unlikely point, or even better.  Manager Murray knew what he was doing!

The next incident though was the dismissal of Will Boye, giving Mr. Stoyanov the honour of being the first referee to send an Ashford player off the field this season.  It was a last ditch tackle and Boye was sent off for violent conduct rather than preventing a goal scoring opportunity.  On another day, or earlier in the match, it might only have been a yellow but it was difficult to argue too convincingly against the decision, especially in the light of the earlier sending off as referees all too often, and possibly sub-consciously, look to even things up.

The play though remained all in one direction and in the second minute of stoppage time Ashford equalised.  A cross was swung in and Horley’s Ryan Brackpool in attempting to clear the ball, headed into his own net to bring to an end a controversial but absorbing contest and perhaps a well done should go to both sides for their endeavours in such difficult circumstances.

Ashford will hope for a quieter contest in their next game, which is not until next Saturday, when they travel to meet Guildford City.

There was late news last night when Middlesex County FA released the draw for the 3rd Round (Quarter-Final) of the Middlesex Senior Cup, in which we understand that Ashford have been drawn at home to Ryman League Harrow Borough in a match that will take place on  Tuesday 19 January, unless there is an agreement to bring the match forward.

FINAL REMINDER RE CHRISTMAS DRAW TICKETS – STUBS AND PAYMENT DUE TODAY PLEASE

Ashford take on Horley Town this afternoon in what threatens to be a windy affair.  Kick-off at Short lane is 3.00 p.m. and Ashford expect a stern test against their 5th placed visitors.

In recent home games though, Ashford have managed the elements well, the obvious ploy being to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible.  With five wins out of six behind them in the League, Ashford should certainly be confident in their approach.

Last season this fixture ended in a 3-3 draw, when Ashford found themselves two goals and a man down with only ten minutes left but pulled it round against the odds to salvage a valuable point. 

Apologies that this is a bit late but here is Junior Chairman Nick Bailey’s summary of last week’s junior results:

Winter is definitely kicking in as this Sunday once again was a cold and windy morning, I picked up club Chairman Dave Baker and head of team motivation Chad Beadle for a trip into Whitton to see our under 13s take on Whitton Wanderers.  Early on in the season we ran out winners by 3 goals to 2 but on this occasion Whitton took all 3 points during a very entertaining 5-3 defeat.

With Dave, Chad, Emma and Myself there the Ashford support continued to grow as we were joined by our very own Alan Bitmead (Marks Dad) and 18s striker Isaac Mplane, it was a very entertaining match and until the final 10 minutes it could have gone either way.

Tommy and his under 7s recorded their first win of the season beating Bedfont Sports 9-2, I’m very proud of Tom as he’s been my player since he was 7 and now he’s showing great promise and potential coaching his youngsters, this age group the score is irrelevant as it’s all about development, well done lads.

I must mention Martins under 14s, they always try and play the correct way regardless of the opposition and score line and in the last few weeks the results have been positive, this week they beat SRC Colts by 4 goals to 1 and now go unbeaten in the last three weeks, well done Martin and his team, it’s nice to see your hard work is paying off.

Bens 15s once again recorded a vital win to keep them firmly at the top of the table and still unbeaten all season, they beat Met Police 3-0 and look unstoppable, they have had a fair share of injuries but always seem to get the results, well done lads, you certainly look like champions in the making.

Connor’s 15s went 7 games unbeaten yesterday in all competitions, they won by 2 goals to 1 against Binfield and now look good for a promotion, next week they play in the County Cup away against Explorers, if they overcome that they will be away in the quarter final of the competition, that would be a huge achievement and we wish them all the luck.

Next weekend we have loads of teams at home, it’s our Managers Christmas party on the Saturday so there may be a few sore heads in the morning – good luck all. 

Here now are this week’s junior fixtures:

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

Craig U13s v Stoneleigh Athletic 11.30

Fin U13s v Sheen Lions 1pm

 

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

Carl U17s v Abbey Rangers 10am

Ben U15s v Ewell Saxons 11.30

 

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch

Larry U12s v Doverhouse 11am  

 

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch

Tommy U7s v Staines Albion 10.30am

Billy U7s v CB Hounslow 11.45

 

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Nelson U10s v Hanworth Sports 11am

Graham U10s v Kew Association 12.30

 

Ashford Town – Outfield

Gary Sunday Men v Fulwell City 10.30

Marco U15s v Claygate 12.30

 

Ashford Town Stadium

No Fixture

 

Away Games

Matt U8s v Walton Casuals

Martin U14s v Kew Association

Conor U15s v Explorers COUNTY CUP 

Ladies v Putney Vale

 

No Games

Andy U8s

Matt U9s

Tim U16s

Joe U17s

 

There are some important County Cup matches this Sunday, as follows:

Larry's Under 12s are in the quarter final of the county cup this week at home to Doverhouse Lions. 

Kick off 11:00 

Address: Ashford Cricket Club, Short Lane, Ashford, Middlesex 

 

Conor’s Under 15s are in the 4th round of the county cup this week away to West Drayton Explorers 

Kick off 13:00 

Address: Sipson Recreation Ground,Sipson Way, Sipson  UB7 0DQ

Fantastic achievement for these two sides, Larry's side face a tough opposition who are unbeaten this season while Conor’s lads are one game away from the quarter final stages. 

 

 

Manager Ben Murray made a number of changes to the side that beat Spelthorne on Saturday but whether that could used as an excuse for Ashford’s sluggish 1st half performance on Tuesday evening, which eventually saw them lose at Knaphill by 4 goals to 3 in the 2nd Round of the Surrey Senior Cup, is doubtful.

There was a lot to talk about after the match but there was no doubting the home club’s superiority throughout much of the 1st half, which saw them take a 3-1 lead, and then increase it to 4-1 just five minutes after the re-start.

Ashford had Mark Bitmead and Dan Fleming both in their opening line-up for the first time in ages, following their injuries, and it is telling that, despite some obvious rustiness, the pair between them scored all three of Ashford’s goals.  It would seem that they just need additional game time now to get back to that attacking force that terrorised CCL defences last season to the tune of 60 goals plus between them.

At the back Ashford were unusually hesitant last night.  Knaphill deservedly took the lead on 23 minutes.  Joe Green, after bringing down a high ball with considerable skill, then gave it away and the opponent’s through pass to a colleague found George Marks on the wrong side, allowing Knaphill’s Danny Turner to open the scoring.

Parity was quickly restored, within three minutes in fact, as Mark Bitmead sent in a rocket of a shot that gave the home keeper no chance.

Four minutes later though, Ashford failed to defend a corner and Jamie Doble duly scored to restore Knaphill’s lead.  They made it three before half-time when once again Tyler Tobin was left exposed and his dash to the ball was never going to be successful, resulting in a penalty, duly scored by Doble.  Tobin was rightly booked and but for Will Boye’s sprint back may well have found himself the last man and thus off the field.

Referee Ellsmore then incurred Ashford’s displeasure a few moments later when a scything tackle by Knaphill’s Connor Close, similar to and probably worse than Tobin’s attempt, went unpunished apart from the award of a free kick.

Ashford recently have not been used to being two goals down at half-time and attempted to take the second half by storm.  Indeed within three minutes of the re-start, the match could have been level with firstly Bitmead blasting over from short range and then Fleming unable to beat the keeper as he went through unchallenged.

Ashford were immediately made to pay as Knaphill scored their 4th goal, courtesy of Matt Morris.

It all looked over and everyone will have seen matches where at three down, clubs accept the situation almost and the game is over.

To the visitors’ credit that was not the case on this occasion as slowly but surely the pendulum swung and a comical mix-up in the home defence gave Fleming the opportunity to pull a goal back with what, in the end, became a simple tap in.  Two goals down with 20 minutes left – could the Tangerines pull it round?

The eventual answer was no but they gave it a good go, especially when Bitmead the predator got it back to 3-4 with around ten minutes on the clock.  It was time to throw caution to the wind with Ashford more or less leaving just keeper Tobin and one defender back and it should be mentioned that Knaphill could easily have scored again from more than one breakaway but Tobin was at his best keeping everything out enabling Ashford to attack ever more frantically.

The visitors thought they should have had a penalty when Josh Andrew was brought down in a similar manor to the penalty awarded to Knaphill in the first half.  It looked at first as if Mr. Ellsmore was just waiting to see if the ball, which had rebounded into the air, was going to drop over the line but to the away contingent’s disappointment, he did not give the award.  When everything has cooled down, that was the referee’s view and has to be accepted but Ashford cannot be as charitable concerning the official’s time keeping.  The match generally had been played at a fast pace and mostly within the laws of the game but an incident out on the touchline saw Knaphill’s Close dismissed from the field for what looked like an over the top piece of retaliation.  The player then took longer to get himself off the field than the amount of time added on by the referee, let alone all the stoppages, substitutions, injuries etc.  Mr. Close should surely have been told to take the shortest way off the pitch and Ashford were absolutely furious when Mr. Ellsmore blew his whistle with not quite two extra minutes added on and more than one person had an exact stop watch on it.  There should have been at least a further five minutes and with Ashford threatening all over the pitch, there was every chance of an equaliser.  It was very poor time-keeping and very disappointing but that said, Ashford have only themselves to blame for a sub-standard performance for much of the match. 

Some of that can be attributed to the enterprising and indeed efficient play of the home side, especially in the first half and they maybe should be asking why they are still in mid table when they can play as well as they did for much of the match.  Somehow one knew it was going to be a difficult evening when three of Ashford’s officials went through a door marked “officials” upon arrival but found themselves in the kitchen and ushered out again just as quickly! 

The usual Ashford “man of the match” award was not conducted last night but the writer would certainly have opted for Tommy Brunton, who seemed to have more running in him than one or two of his colleagues, especially when moves broke down.

At the end of it all we wish our friends from Knaphill every success in their forthcoming FA Vase match against Canterbury on Saturday week.  They were there doing a spot of spying last night and will surely be concerned if Knaphill can repeat their performance in this match.

Ashford meanwhile start preparations for their home match against Horley on Saturday and will hope to repeat last Saturday’s form rather than that of last night and quickly put this one behind them.