Following last Saturday’s impressive victory over Kempston Rovers, Ashford travelled to Aylesbury on Saturday and came away with a point in a 2-2 draw.
The fixture list has been such that most of the clubs we have played in recent games have either been fighting for their lives to avoid relegation or to get into the play-offs. With the possible exception of the match against Histon, it is of great credit to the Ashford squad that they have shown every bit as much determination as any of their opponents in those games.
The match on Saturday was played on a typical end of season pitch, which had plenty of grass but was bumpy, no doubt due to the recent lack of rainfall. The strong breeze also played a major part with players needing to take two or three touches before they could bring the ball under control. As a result it was never going to be a spectacle. The Tangerines started well enough but Aylesbury, as they had to be with relegation still a possibility, were in determined mood, and drew first blood when they went ahead through Alex O’Brien on 21 minutes.
Aylesbury looked stronger after this and deserved their half-time lead but Ashford came out in determined mode in the second period and were instantly rewarded when Mark Bitmead restored parity. It was so quick that many of us missed the goal. Within three minutes though Aylesbury re-took the lead through ex-Ashford player Brian Haule after a poor defensive error led to a failure to make a simple clearance.
It is morale sapping to get an equaliser only to give another goal away immediately afterwards but Ashford, boosted by the entry of subs Tommy Brunton and Max Webb, kept plugging away and Dan Fleming hit the bar. The momentum was now largely with the visitors but not too many clear chances were being created and it looked as if it would be a disappointing defeat but on 89 minutes, Ashford forced a corner and Max Herbert was in a good position to notch a deserved equaliser. Referee Cox didn’t play anywhere near the amount of additional time there should have been but with the realisation that Aylesbury had secured their place at Step 4 once again and Ashford happy enough with a point, nobody was too unhappy.
As a footnote Aylesbury’s hospitality was superb but it was strange to be there without ex-Chairman Danny Martone who we know is ill and we take this opportunity to send him our best wishes and hope to see him next season.