Ashford begin their Easter weekend with a visit to Aylesbury on Saturday, kick-off 3.00 p.m.
The address of the ground is the SRD Stadium, Haywood Way, Aylesbury, HP19 9WZ. Ground to ground it is a journey of 44 miles, using the M25 to Junction 20 and then the A41 to Aylesbury, where there are plenty of roundabouts to navigate!
Sitting in 19th place, our opponents cannot yet be sure of avoiding relegation, although with a six point gap between them and Histon, and just three matches each left to play, they look fairly safe now, especially with Northwood also in dire straits just above Histon. For their part, Ashford have achieved the 50 point target set at the start of the season and but for something of a mid-season slump would have done better. As it is, an 8th place finish could still be achieved, although that would require maximum points over the last three games with other clubs needing to drop points. A more realistic target at this stage would be to achieve a top half finish, i.e. 11th or better.
Aylesbury are currently managed by ex-Ashford player Davis Haule and in previous matches against them, the record is fairly even with Ashford slightly ahead with 4 wins against 3 defeats, with 3 draws. Earlier this season we managed to take the points with a solitary goal from Alex Fisher, now back and playing after his operation had threatened to keep him out until next season.
On Monday we will be entertaining Farnborough FC, as well as nurses from the HASAG charity, which has been of immense help to Chairman Dave Baker in recent months. They do a marvellous job and we hope you will be able to find a few pennies to make a donation for their excellent and specialised charity, which helps people who have diagnosed with cancer arising from exposure to asbestos.
Also, it is a special day for our own Pat Munns, who is retiring from active duties with the club after 50 years service going back to 1967, when he was a young goalkeeper. Pat proved his worth as a keeper over many seasons with only his loyalty to this club keeping him at Ashford's then level. He played his final match competitive match well into his 50's albeit a one-off but he didn't let anyone down. In more recent seasons Pat has been on the bench in the physio role and what player wouldn't get up when they saw Pat racing out to treat them! Pat will have members of his family here this afternoon, to see him receive a presentation from club chairman Dave Baker, including two of his youngest grand children, Alfie and Hope, both aged 5. Pat, thank you for all your hard work over many years on behalf of this football club.
We congratulate Farnborough who will now finish in 2nd place no matter what, so with the pressure off, both sides can concentrate on their football and give us a game worthy of the occasion. The writer cannot quite resist referring again to the match at Farnborough when we had Will Boye sent off when he was nowhere near the ball, as Farnborough’s Perry Coles slipped and collided with the advancing Tyler Tobin. Will showed incredible self control that afternoon, a fact that was largely overlooked, as he made his way off totally bemused. An apology afterwards from the referee once he had seen the video was welcome but it was a horrendous error, even more so as one of the assistants was equally close to the incident and either had his eyes closed or decided not to intervene. We can take this opportunity to thank Farnborough for helping us with the video evidence that the FA used to clear Will in just about the fastest appeal hearing ever!
Lots of dates are coming up in the next few weeks. One is the club AGM to be held on Thursday 11 May at 8.00 p.m. when all club members are very welcome to attend. The following evening we have our Presentation Evening at the Meadhurst Club. Another is Saturday 20 May when we have the Michael Buble and Neil Dymond tribute act. Tickets are just £10 each but selling out fast.
On the field, Larry’s Under-13’s have their League Cup Final on Sunday 23 April, kicking off at 10.00 a.m., at Met. Police FC, Imber Court. The other side is Mitcham Park Stripes who play two divisions higher so the lads need your support. There will be a barbecue and party back here at the club afterwards.
Looking ahead, next season will start competitively on Saturday 12 August when we can expect to see some different clubs lining up against us, possibly including: Thame United, London Colney, Hartley Wintney, Hayes & Yeading and Cambridge City, although all such movements are under the control of the FA, who usually manage to spring a few surprises.
There are no junior fixtures on Sunday due to the Easter Holidays but the Club will be open as usual.