Ashford travelled to meet Aylesbury United on Saturday and returned with all three points in a 2-1 victory, a win that leaves the Tangerines mathematically clear of relegation although it was virtually assured anyway.
The match was played in windy conditions but both sides made the best of it and there was some excellent football all round at times. With the wind behind them in the first half, Aylesbury started strongly and used the wind to their advantage, putting Ashford’s back four under considerable pressure and it was deserved when they took the lead on just 11 minutes when a low cross was swept in by the unmarked Lee Coulter.
Ashford though fought back well and equalised within two minutes when Mark Bitmead saw his first effort well saved but he got to the rebound and smashed it home. The scoreline was now even and so was the match as Ashford started to get their game together.
In the second period Ashford had the wind largely behind them and gradually got on top although both sides still had opportunities. It was Ashford who clinched it though when skipper Russell Canderton scored from a corner kick, with ten minutes or so left. Once again his first effort was blocked but he was able to hook the rebound into the net.
It was a good day for the Tangerines not least because Jack Beadle and Conor Moody are both back with the club, Jack playing the full 90 minutes and Conor coming on quite early in the second half. Although players obviously come and go, the club has always been fairly tight knit in terms of players, witnessed by the number in the current squad who have played 100 matches or more (10 of the current squad) and this seemed very much a home coming, clearly much welcomed by the Ashford supporters present. We should like to thank both Egham Town and Bedfont Sports for allowing the two moves to go through so quickly.
The hospitality at Aylesbury was excellent as was the referee, Mr. Lewis, who controlled the game very well and there wasn’t a caution in sight, the second consecutive match that this has happened. The only drawback was to find when we got back to the Club that the bitter had run out due to an oversight on the ordering front. It didn’t spoil an excellent day though.
We now turn our attention to the Quarter Final of the Middlesex Charity Cup, in which we are at home to Wingate and Finchley on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45 p.m. Although they suffered defeat on Saturday, they are doing well this season in the Premier Division of the Ryman League and it is likely to be a tough test for us but one to relish. We have only played each other on six previous competitions, mostly cup matches, the most recent meeting being in October 2008, when we lost at Wingate by four goals to two in an FA Trophy replay, after drawing one apiece at Short Lane three days earlier.
There won’t be any extra time tomorrow. Should the match be level at 90 minutes, we go straight to penalties.
The Ladies and junior results, etc., will be on here shortly, along with a special article about the excellent work done by some of our younger sides on Saturday.