Ashford get themselves along the A30 this Tuesday evening to play Hartley Wintney, kick-off 7.30 p.m.

Boosted by a number of ex-Cove players from last season, HW are in something of a purple patch at the moment having reached the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday and having won all six of their league matches to date, although they have not yet played anyone in the top six. 

As a result, the Ash Trees face probably their most difficult match of the season especially coming off the back of a disappointing display at Westfield on Saturday.   Apart from that game though, Ashford themselves have been in superlative league form this season and will certainly not be there as cannon fodder.  Indeed it is an opportunity for manager Ben Murray and his squad to show their mettle this evening and Ashford supporters will hope they do not disappoint.  Hopefully, as many Ashford supporters will get themselves to the game as possible as, doubtless, the home side will have picked up some extra support on the back of their cup run.  Whether they will still be there in January and February remains to be seen but that has no relevance to this evening’s match.

The address of the ground is The Memorial Playing Fields, Green Lane, Hartley Wintney, RG27 8DL.  From the Ashford area, the journey is either, all the way along the A30 until reaching the town, where you turn left at the duck pond at the end of the high street, and then right into Green Lane, or you can use the M3.

Hartley Wintney play in orange so Ashford will be wearing blue this evening.

Whatever happens, the match is unlikely to be as farcical the game at Hartley in November last season, when the match was played throughout in torrential rain for much of the time.  It was doubtful whether or not the it should have started in the first place but there was little doubt by the end, that with the pitch a quagmire and flooded in places, it should never have run the full course.  Neither side managed to break the deadlock on that occasion.

Ashford have boosted their squad today with the signing of the experienced 26 year old Ricky Farnden, who goes straight into the squad for the match at Hartley Wintney on Tuesday evening.  Ricky is a powerful defender, with a penchant for scoring goals and has skippered Hanworth Villa on many occasions in the past.  He has also played for both Egham Town and Bedfont Sports.

Ashford were as poor on Saturday against Westfield as they were good the previous week against Hanworth Villa, and whilst Westfield should be congratulated upon their win, they are hardly a better side than Hanworth Villa, so what went wrong?

Well, manager Murray was a little concerned beforehand with two immense away games coming up this week at Hartley Wintney and then Camberley, that his squad may lose focus for this match and so it proved.  There are no poor sides in the League this season and if a team lets its standards fall for a specific match, as we did on Saturday, then you can lose to the bottom side whoever they may be, let alone a determined and committed side such as Westfield were on Saturday.  Their manager was probably saying the same kind of thing seven days ago when they lost to Sutton Common Rovers.

Neither can injuries be blamed as everyone suffers from them at times although the loss of both regular centre backs in the shape of Russell Canderton and Lewis Taylor did not help.  Ashford had adequate cover in Scott Weight and Max Webb who both dropped back from midfield and whilst both gave their all, they were in unfamiliar positions and it also left the midfield lacking a little bite. With full backs Joe Green and Alex Fisher arguably not quite at the top of their game, the defence was not as solid as it has been for much of the season.

It is always a temptation when you lose to blame the officials.  Mr. O’Hene, in the middle, was one of those vocal referees who shout to players to be careful as they go into tackles and he also treated us to a verbal run down of the clock, minute by minute as the match reached its conclusion.  Do referees not realise how off putting that is?  He also seemed to miss a blatant foul on Weight just prior to Westfield’s second goal but controversial decisions even themselves out and we should not blame him.  He wasn’t the worst we have seen.

It was simply a sub-standard performance, apart from the opening 15 minutes which saw two excellent finishes by Mark Bitmead and Bailey Mummery which seemed to give Ashford a commanding, although clearly not unassailable, lead.  Westfield’s first goal soon afterwards seemed to come out of the blue a little but it changed the match with the home side going from no-hopers to a team that suddenly sensed there might be something in the game for them.  The second goal could have been disallowed but, as it was, the effort took a tremendous deflection and gave Tyler Tobin no chance.

In the second half Ashford could not get going again and Westfield’s long ball game worked as they got a third goal more or less on the hour mark, to turn the game on its head.  Ashford still had 30 minutes to do something about the situation but Westfield were in no mood to surrender their hard won lead and only rarely were they seriously troubled.  One or two excellent stops from their keeper and a gradual deterioration in their passing game, uusually so excellent did not help Ashford’s cause, and as the visitors chased the game, it was Westfield who could have increased their lead.

It’s hardly all doom and gloom though.  It is likely, prior to the start of the season, that the Tangerines would happily have settled for 8 wins out of 9, and with Camberley only able to draw, and Horley losing at AFC Hayes, not too much ground was lost although wins for both Hanworth and Epsom have tightened things up.

Ashford now travel to Hartley Wintney on Tuesday when the kick-off time is 7.30 p.m.  Like everyone else in the League, we greatly congratulate Hartley upon winning in the FA Cup on Saturday at Merthyr and given their previous form this season, we will be going to the Memorial Playing Fields as underdogs.  That will suit Ashford as it takes the pressure off but more on that later in the week.

Before closing, three members of the Ashford family are to be congratulated this week.  Firstly Daryl Watson, who has been selling the raffle tickets and team cards at Ashford for the last 15 years at least celebrated his 50th birthday last Friday.  He does a vital job for the club week in, week out, and we wish Daryl a very happy birthday and hope he enjoyed the surprise meal planned for him on Saturday.

Secondly, congratulations also go to Chad Beadle, who became a grandfather on Thursday when daughter Jenny was delivered of a baby girl, Isabella, who weighed in at 7lb 13 oz.  Congratulations to all concerned and finally, well done to Dan Butler's daughter who has achieved a degree.

Ashford find themselves on the road tomorrow, albeit not too far, when they travel to Westfield FC.

Westfield find themselves in 13th place in the table at the moment and come into the match on the back of a possibly unanticipated defeat, 1-2, at Sutton Common Rovers last Saturday, although, prior to that, they had fought out a tough 1-1 draw at home to Camberley.  Ashford are fully aware that a tough match is on the cards.

Last season the Tangerines won 2-1 at Westfield, courtesy of goals from Alex Fisher and Rob Curtis but Westfield had their revenge at Short Lane, winning by 3 goals to 1, Ashford’s coming from Samad Kazi.  Ashford also managed a 3-1 victory in the Surrey Senior Cup, with another two from Kazi and one from Dan Fleming.

The address of the ground is Woking Park, Kingfield Road, Woking, GU22 9BA and you enter through the Leisure Centre, where parking is available, opposite Woking FC.

Good luck to BA who entertain top of the table West Essex FC in the Middlesex County League and to all the junior sides on Sunday.  The Ladies are without a match this weekend.

The fledgling Under-18 side went out of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday evening, losing 0-2 at Northwood.  Frankly they only have themselves to blame after dominating possession throughout the second half but wasting so many opportunities to score.  The squad possibly just needs to settle down as there are some good players in it and they play good football.  It’s back to the League next week, with Ashford at home to Camberley U18 on Wednesday evening, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  Good luck to Northwood in the next round in which they will entertain St. Albans City Youth.

 

This evening (Thursday), the Under-18’s make the short but not always easy trip to Northwood FC, in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

In the past, Ashford have come mighty close to reaching the 1st Round Proper, when most of the Football League clubs enter the competition but not in recent seasons, where our showing has bordered on the dismal.  This season though, it was clear from the one league match played so far, that this year’s crop, under the management of Nick Bailey, have something about them, even though they surrendered a 4-1 lead at home to Wealdstone to only share the points in the end, a fortnight ago.

Northwood are fellow members of the Central Division of the Ryman Youth League and they sustained a defeat in their opening league game at home to Hayes & Yeading by 3 goals to 1, although Hayes & Y are always very strong at this level, so that may not be much of a pointer.  Northwood have also lost in the Lucas- Fettes Cup (which is the League Cup) to Dorking Wanderers.  The match has to be settled this evening one way or another.

The prize for the winners is a 2nd Qualifying Round home match against St. Albans City.

The address of Northwood’s ground is Chestnut Avenue, Northwood, HA6 1HR.  As you go down Chestnut Avenue, which is a right turn off the main road after having just gone under a railway bridge, the ground entrance is not easy to spot but it is a left hand turn along a narrow path down to the club.  There is ample parking.

Ashford Ladies delivered a reminder of their dominating football in this one-sided affair against London Phoneix at The Robert Parker Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The visitors could not handle the speed, precision and decisiveness of Ashford from early on when on-fire striker, Ashley Cheatley recorded a hatrick in the opening five minutes of the game.

The was a rare moment of relief for London Phoenix as twenty minutes of the game went by without another goal, before Lavana struck just shy of the half hour mark after tireless work on the wing just before captain Vicky James beat the offside trap to slide ball underneath the goalkeeper.

Soon after the second half kicked off Cheatley scored her second hatrick of the game demonstrating such a ruthless eye for goal.

Chealtley was through on goal after round three players, only to be brought down just before she shot. The referee awarded a penalty in which James tucked away convincingly.

Player of the match Irisha Smith worked tirelessly all game creating a number of chances and got her reward after the hour mark when she cut inside the defender from 20 yard and firing into the top corner out of the reach of the oppositions goalkeeper.

The pick of the goals was soon to come when the a cleared cross bounced kindly for James who scored a remarkable volley whcih looped over the goalkeeper – this was James’ first hatrick in Ashford colours.

Claire Samuels added another soon after and Cheatley rounded off proceedings in the last minuted for Ashford Ladies to record a 13-0 victory over London Phoenix.

Credit to the opposition who were a great sport despite the scoreline and hour long journey.

Ashford have now scored 46 goals in their opening four matches, with maximum points.  There doesn't seem to be a match for the Ladies this coming Sunday but on Sunday 4 October, the girls will be at home again, to Old Actonians, kick-off 2.00 p.m.

Ashford once again found their best form on Saturday, beating close rivals Hanworth Villa by 4 goals to 1 on a beautiful sunny afternoon at Short Lane in front of an audience of more than 200.

Ashford knew this match was likely to present their toughest match of the season so far in the shape of the unbeaten Villa and were clearly ready for it, enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the earlier stages.  They thought they had scored the opening goal some 25 minutes in when Max Webb got up to power home a header but it was disallowed for a push that none of us on the stand side saw.  It was later confirmed by Ashford Chairman Dave Baker that there had indeed been a push albeit slight.

It did not take too long though before Ashford were able to go ahead when a slide rule through pass from the excellent Bailey Mummery saw Samad Kazi in the clear and a deft finish sent it past the invariably efficient Villa keeper, Terry Buss, who had already denied Ashford on several occasions.

Tyler Tobin at the other end also had to be sharp just before half-time but the match had barely resumed in the second half when Ashford were awarded a penalty for a trip in the area.  Mark Bitmead made light work of scoring, to give Ashford a two goal cushion.

Ashford soon increased the lead again from the penalty spot when Mummery was fouled as he weaved his way in from the goal line, having made another characteristic break from his full back position.  This one was more controversial as Villa felt the ball had been played first, with the result that it took a little time to restore order.  It did not worry Bitmead though as he calmly sent the ball past Buss to make it 3-0.

Play had been more even in the second period with Villa forcing a series of corners.  Ashford defended stoutly though and the Villains then handicapped themselves when they had a player sent off for a second caution.  The second tackle did not look horrendous by any means but having been booked already for quite a bad foul, the player concerned was perhaps unwise to commit himself to the tackle in question.

They are not though the type of side to lay down and there was a brief period of anxiety in the Short Lane camp on 82 minutes when Jesse Atiase pulled one back with a fine effort giving Tobin no chance.

Ashford though are fast becoming a resolute side and it was Scott Elgar, receiving the ball from a short free kick, who made his way into the area without being challenged and stabbing the ball past Buss for the final goal of the game.

Once again there is no midweek 1st Team match but the Tangerines now face four tough away matches, starting next Saturday at Westfield, followed quickly by a midweek visit to Hartley Wintney and then Camberley and Colliers Wood United.

Ashford had a number of junior teams and their parents present yesterday and we thank them for their attendance.  At least one visitor was highly appreciative of the fare on offer, served up by the lovely Louise and Charlotte and we hope that some of them at least will become regular supporters.  It did not go unnoticed either that virtually all the Villa players and several supporters stayed on at the club for a long time afterwards, which was great to see and they were very welcome.

There is more football on offer at Short Lane this afternoon when Ashford Ladies take on Phoenix Ladies in the Greater London Women’s League, kicking off at 2.00 pm.  Will they be able to improve upon last week’s 18 goals?

Unfortunately British Airways suffered a close 1-2 defeat away to Kensington Dragons yesterday in the Alec Smith Middlesex County League Cup.  Next Saturday they will be at home to West Essex FC in a league match.

Ashford face what is likely to be their toughest test in the League so far this season on Saturday, when they look forward to the visit of neighbours Hanworth Villa.

Villa seem to be rejuvenated this season after only being saved from relegation last season by the transfer of AFC Croydon Athletic to another league but that is all in the past now and they will arrive at Short Lane unbeaten in the League all season.  The only points they have dropped came in their most recent outing when they drew at Chessington with neither side able to break the deadlock.  Their stand-out victory has been a 6-0 home demolition of Windsor.  They will have been disappointed to lose at Berkhamsted in the FA Cup but made progress in the FA Vase with a solitary goal victory against Desborough Town and will play at home to Oxhey Jets in the next round.  It should also be noted that Villa have conceded just the one goal in the League so far this season.

Our two matches against each other last season quite frankly were damp squids for the losers.  We gave probably our worst performance of the season in losing 0-3 at Hanworth, even though two of the goals came quite late, whilst here at Short Lane right at the end of the season, Hanworth had a dispirited look about them as they lost 0-2, both goals coming from Samad Kazi. 

We welcome any number of our junior teams and their parents this afternoon and thank you all for supporting the club.  If you enjoy the football on offer please come back and consider becoming a regular supporter.

Tuesday’s win maintained our position at the top of the table, although it means little at this stage.  Hot on our heels, as well as Hanworth, are Epsom & Ewell, Hartley Wintney, who seem to have gone goal mad so far plus Camberley, Horley, Colliers Wood and others.  We face some difficult away matches in October including visits to both Camberley and Hartley Wintney but we seem to be well prepared at the moment with a full squad and some great football being played in the last two home games, especially on Tuesday when the margin of victory over Farnham was arguably more convincing than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.

There is no midweek match for the 1st Team this week but the Under-18’s will be travelling to Northwood on Thursday evening in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup.  We have made little impression on that competition in recent times but this year’s new look team look to have something about them and we will be hopeful of progress.

Ashford Ladies, after scoring 30+ goals in their opening three league matches will be at home in the Greater London Womens's League on Sunday to London Phoenix, here at Short Lane, kicking off at 2.00 p.m. and will welcome your support.  A nil-nil draw seems unlikely!

British Airways are away on Saturday in the Middlesex County League in the Alex Smith Premier Division Cup to Kensington Dragons, who play at the Linford Christie Stadium.

Finally a big thank you to Mark Tobin and his gang for their work on the fences this week.  Hopefully all the work will be completed behind the goal in time for today’s match, with all the posts for the new fencing going in on Thursday, with the job intended for completion on Friday.

Ashford manager Ben Murray demanded a reaction from his players after the FA Cup defeat at Hoddesdon on Saturday and despite the apparent closeness of the scoreline, he got just that as Ashford gave another impressive home performance that would have seen them win by more than one goal apart from Farnham keeper Matt Petts who performed heroics for his club especially in the first half.

That said, Farnham themselves when in possession played some excellent football as well and one would imagine that any neutral spectators would have enjoyed a match full of fine football for much of the time.  It was only in the last ten minutes or so that the game finally became a little more ragged as Farnham chased a second equaliser.

Ashford had the returning Tyler Tobin back in goal whilst Samad Kazi was on the bench after his protracted absence.  Dan Fleming was not quite fit to return but it is hoped he will be raring to go on Saturday.

Despite the football on offer, there were no goals in the first half, despite any number of close calls but the second period sprang to life immediately as straight from the kick off Jack Beadle fed Mark Bitmead and Ashford’s leading scorer made no mistake.  The goal was scored on just 22 seconds.

The immediate feeling was that Ashford had finally made the breakthrough and that supporters could now settle down and hopefully enjoy a few more goals.  Farnham though had other ideas and with the game now more even, equalised soon afterwards, when Luke Whiddett provided a tidy finish that gave Tobin little chance.

Suddenly it was game on but Ashford did not have to wait too long to go ahead again as Tommy Brunton put Jack Beadle in and his immaculate finish gave Petts no chance.

Both sides continued to look good in possession although it was noticeable that Farnham were now playing the long ball more often.  The two defences held out although there was a hearts in the mouth moment for Ashford when Lewis Taylor clashed with an opponent in the penalty area but referee Desai waved play on, saying afterwards that in his view it had been shoulder to shoulder.  From the other end of the field it certainly looked a close call.  The decision not to award a penalty led to a flurry of dissent and cautions, the match being held up for some time.  It was not in the visitors’ interest though to waste valuable time and the final whistle came soon afterwards with no further incident.

It does seem to the writer that the CCL is now more competitive than ever.  Although one would not have anticipated as such when the fixtures were issued, Ashford’s opponents to date have largely been clubs currently in the bottom half of the table and yet every one, with possibly one exception, has looked a decent side.  Although it will decide nothing at this early stage, Ashford have a big test on Saturday when they look forward to the visit of Hanworth Villa who themselves are unbeaten in league matches to date, only dropping points when they drew at Chessington & Hook United a week or so back.  There will be a preview of that gamelater in the week.

The Under-18’s are without a match this week, again, but we should finish by congratulating Hartley Wintney upon their FA Cup replay win at Fleet last night by four goals to nil, a victory which has secured them a trip to Wales to meet Merthyr Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round.

 

It is time to concentrate back upon the League on Tuesday evening as Ashford entertain Farnham Town at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 pm.

Tyler Tobin is expected to be back in goal for the Tangerines, with Samad Kazi also in contention, as manager Ben Murray has a strong squad from which to pick his side.  As a result of their cup exploits, Ashford now find themselves with additional midweek away fixtures in October, so it is important to pick up as many points as possible when at home.

Visitors Farnham though are unlikely to be an easy touch, getting the better of the Tangerines at their own ground towards the end of last season, and indeed, being the only side to inflict a league defeat upon Ashford in their last 14 such matches.  They are currently 14th in the table with two wins and two defeats from their five league matches to date.  The two wins have been substantial ones, by 4 goals to nil at home to Spelthorne and 3 goals to nil at Cove whilst they have lost to Badshot Lea, 1-2 at home and Guildford City, also 1-2, away.  The solitary draw was a home game against Chessington which finished one apiece.

Last season, as mentioned, Ashford lost 0-1 at Farnham but managed to win at home by three goals to one, the goals coming from the three B’s, Bitmead, Brunton and Beadle, all of whom will be in contention to start the match tomorrow.

Ashford Ladies did rather well on Sunday, knocking in 18 goals to win 18-0 at Club Langley.  They have scored 36 goals in their opening three matches and it does now rather look as if they have been placed in too low a division by the Greater London Women’s League.  Sadly the ladies web set is not bang up to date so we can’t bring you the details of the scorers but doubtless that will follow.

Our partners British Airways FC won again, this time by three goals to two, at home to CB Hounslow Reserves and now have four wins from six and stand 5th in the Middlesex County League Premier Division table, three points below the leaders, Hillingdon FC, with a game in hand.  Goal scorers were J.Kalejaiye(2) and S.McCormick.

Back to Ashford, and if he plays tomorrow, it will be Tommy Brunton’s 100th competitive match for the club.  Tyler Tobin also recently reached that milestone while Mark Bitmead needs three more for his 200th game in Ashford’s colours.

Although it had not been publicised before the match, Ashford knew beforehand that they would be going into their FA Cup match at Hoddesdon Town on Saturday without three key players in regular keeper Tyler Tobin (unavailable), Samad Kazi (unavailable) and striker Dan Fleming (not quite recovered from a knock the previous week).  With reserve keeper Jake Tayler also unavailable, Ashford managed to sign Loughborough University keeper Jamie Kiff, just in time to register him for the match. 

After an early flourish from the home side, the match settled down into a fairly even affair but Ashford gradually seemed to be assuming a degree of control, with Jack Beadle and Joey Robson in particular, combining well down the right flank at times.  Both sides could have taken the lead and Ashford thought they had done just that when Mark Bitmead crashed a free kick against the bar from long range and Bradley Wainwright put the rebound into the net, only to be given offside, a dubious decision, to say the least, sadly one of many throughout the match.  Wainwright was not in an offside position at the moment Bitmead hit the ball.

Ashford did score soon afterwards though on the half-hour mark and this time there could be no argument as Scott Elgar made space for himself and smashed home a shot from some 30 yards giving the home keeper no chance.

There was no addition to the scoreline before halftime but soon after the re-start it all went wrong for the visitors in the space of two minutes.  A header from the seemingly unmarked Tom Wade at the far post enabled the home side to equalise and two minutes later they were awarded a penalty when Kiff was adjudged to have fouled his man, yet another controversial decision that went against the Tangerines.  Hoddesdon's Ed Taylor though made no mistake.

The home side were then largely in control for some 25 minutes restricting Ashford to a few long hopeful efforts.  They did not add to their goal tally though and the game changed again when Connor Scully was given a straight red card for a tackle that could only be described as disgraceful, as he launched himself violently at Wainwright with both feet off the ground.  The referee at least got that one right.

Dominance of possession turned to Ashford as Hoddesdon changed their tactics to defend their lead, and whilst Ashford now looked more threatening, it cannot be denied that Hoddesdon did the job well, assisted by some ridiculous time wasting, totally ignored by the official.  A snap shot from skipper Russell Canderton which just missed, was the closest to a goal.

As so often happens with the visitors having no option other than to throw men forward, Hoddesdon broke away for a third goal close to the end, scored by O’Connor, to seal Ashford's fate.

The match was refereed by yet another very young looking official who seemed out of his depth and the abuse and mickey taking at the end by the Hoddesdon management and players,  was totally unnecessary and quite frankly left a sour taste and certainly let their club down.

Ashford will soon put this behind them though and will look forward to meeting Farnham Town on Tuesday evening, back at Short Lane, for a 7.45 pm kick-off and with a full squad.

 

The League will be put to one side on Saturday when Ashford travel to Hoddesdon Town, members of the Spartan South Midlands League, in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup, having managed to see off the challenge of two United Counties League sides, Wellingborough Town and AFC Kempston Rovers.

Hoddesdon beat both Sawbridgeworth Town and Romford (after a replay and penalties) to reach this stage and they are currently in 13th place in their table, having won two and lost two of their five league matches to date.

The address of the ground is Lowfield, Park View, Hoddesdon, EN11 8PX  (Tel:  01992 463133).  The journey is just under 49 miles via the M25 and the A1(M).  At the last time of checking there were just a few spaces left on the coach (£10 per head) which is leaving Short Lane at midday sharp.  The nearest railway station is Broxbourne.

Hoddesdon were founded back in 1879 and are the third oldest club in Hertfordshire.  Their main claim to fame though is probably the fact that they won the first ever FA Vase competition back in 1975, beating Epsom & Ewell in the Final by 2 goals to 1.  Also they were (are?) renowned for producing a massive programme that took several awards in the National Programme Competition over a number of years.

There is no extra time tomorrow, so if the scores are level after 90 minutes, it’s all back to Short Lane on Tuesday evening when there will have to be a definite result.  We do not know who the winners will be facing in the next round.

If there is a definite result on Saturday, the 1st Team will resume their league programme on Tuesday evening, at home to Farnham Town.

The Under-18’s in their first competitive match drew at home to Wealdstone U18 on Wednesday evening, four goals apiece.  In one sense, it was a disappointing result for Ashford as they were 3-0 and then 4-1 up, before allowing a very useful Wealdstone side back into the match, and in the end it was Ashford who were more pleased to hear the final whistle!  That said, most of the lads have not played in such a high standard competition before, being fresh from Sunday football and they acquitted themselves pretty well overall, with some deadly finishing in the first half.

The next match for Ashford Ladies is on Sunday 13 September, when they will travel to Club Langley FC, in the Greater London Women’s League, whose ground address is  Hawksbrook Lane, Beckenham, BR3 3SR.  Ashford have hit 19 goals to ensure maximum points in their opening two matches to go top of the table.

Our partners British Airways FC will be playing at Short Lane tomorrow (Saturday) at home to CB Hounslow United Reserves in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League.  BA have made a good start to their league campaign, with three wins and a draw from their opening five matches and are nicely tucked in at 5th place in their bid for promotion at the end of this season.

 

The attendance was down on Saturday which was a shame as those present witnessed 45 minutes of football from Ashford that could genuinely be described as scintillating; it was that good at times as they beat Badshot Lea by 4 goals to nil.

Badshot Lea came to play football and that is exactly what they did throughout the 90 minutes but Ashford looked unstoppable in the first half, running in all four goals and threatening to run riot.

It took 10 minutes for Mark Bitmead to open the scoring, when he sent in a low curling free kick past Ashley West in the away goal who was making his debut for Badshot.  The quality of football was incredible at times for a Step 5 side and the second goal on 19 minutes from Max Webb was the icing on the cake as the ball was passed around incisively with at least five players involved, before Webb slotted home with aplomb.

On 25 minutes it was Dan Fleming with a lob over the keeper, as he came out.  It was Tommy Brunton who who sent in the defence splitting pass in the first place.  He was fouled as he did it but referee Smith played a superb advantage and was entitled to give himself a metaphorical pat on the back.

On the half-hour mark it was four, as Brunton got in the act, slamming home after Bitmead’s effort had been blocked on the line.

The second half was different.  With the match effectively lost, the visitors deserve great credit for keeping their heads up and preventing any further goals going in.  Ashford seemed content to hold on to the lead and some rather indifferent finishing at times did not help, coupled with some excellent saves from  West in the away goal.

Mr. Smith having done so well with the advantage in the first half, rather let himself down in the second period when he pulled play back for a free kick to the Tangerines just as Mark Bitmead was about to roll the ball into an empty net but this was one day when we could afford to be charitable and both sides agreed that, overall, he enjoyed an good afternoon.

Manager Murray, rotating his squad with some finesse each week, had another strong bench available and will probably rotate again next Saturday when we have our latest break from league fixtures as we travel to Hoddesdon Town in the FA Cup.  More on that one later in the week.

On Wednesday evening, the Under-18’s should finally get their Ryman Youth League season underway after two postponements, when they entertain Wealdstone U18 at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 pm.  The Ladies had another big win on Sunday and we will bring news on that as soon as it is available.  Our partners British Airways FC also had another good win on Saturday, winning 3-2 away to Sporting Hackney.

Ashford look forward to welcoming Badshot Lea to Short Lane on Saturday I another important Premier Division match.

Having watched them at Camberley on Tuesday evening, it is a little difficult to understand why the visitors are still winless this season.  There is no doubt that they have a talented side who try to play good football.  They played down the slope at Camberley in the first half and had by far the better chances but they couldn’t make them count which was their downfall as Camberley’s power play down the gradient in the second period gradually allowed them to get on top and eventually win the match.

Ashford have a strong squad to pick from and the confidence that comes with seven straight wins will be an advantage but it is likely to be a close affair, probably very different to Monday’s encounter with Chertsey when their tactics generally were to defend and try to hit us on the break, which just failed to succeed in the end. 

The FA Cup needs to be put to the side for the moment but just to remind supporters that we do have a coach running to Hoddesdon next week and you need to get your name on the list on the notice board if you want to be on it.  With several slots gone, at the time of writing we have just 20 places left.

Finally a special welcome back to John Palmer, who is still playing and is also a member of the Management Staff at Badshot Lea.  John played in 116 competitive matches for Ashford and will always be remembered as a member of the side that beat Woking in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup in 2009, when he scored the winning goal.

Ashford now know their opponents in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, as Hoddesdon Town from the Spartan South Midlands League won what sounds an incredibly tight match last night against Romford, eventually triumphing by 5 goals to 4 on penalties, following 120 minutes football last night which was unable to separate the two sides.

Hoddesdon have already confirmed on Twitter that the match will be on Saturday 12 September at their own ground (their previous home match was played at Ware FC, presumably down to cricket although we don’t know).

We are considering a coach or mini-buses for supporters but only if they are self-funding.  There will be further details on this site shortly.

In the meantime we have an important league match at home to Badshot Lea on Saturday and that needs to be the focal point for the moment.  A full preview will be put on the site on Friday.

FROM THE ATFC LADIES WEB SITE

RESULT: Old Actonians 1 Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies 11

Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies won their first game of the season running out 11-1 winners in their first league game at the Riverside Boathouse in Chiswick.

With players still away, the new look Ashford side had players drafted in for their debuts for the club such as Rebecca Thurlow and Judith Densu.

The Ladies got off to a great start in the first minute of the game when they won a corner whipped in by the skipper V James and powerfully headed in by Lucy Easton.

Ashley Cheatley grabbed her first of the game when she raced through and found the bottom corner of the goal.

Cheatley raced through again ten minutes later, rounding the goalkeeper, only to be brought down and awarded a penalty. James stepped up and decisively scored from the spot.

The remainder of the first half followed in similar finish with Cheatley getting her tally up to 6 for the game, James grabbing another and Lavana Neufville scoring also.

The Ladies went in at half time 10-0 up.

The second half was a different game however and Old Acotnians showed more fight belief in this half.

Cheatley grabbed her seventh goal of the game just before Lisa Penteado grabbed a cancellation goal for the home side.

A great result for the ladies beginning their campaign in the GLWFL Div 3 South and a sign of intent for the fixtures to come.

Player of the Match - Ashley Cheatley

Our 1st Round Surrey Senior Cup match at home to Beckenham Town has been arranged for Tuesday 27 October, kick-off 7.45 p.m. at Short Lane.

The winners will be away to Knaphill or Camberley Town in the 2nd Round