A workmanlike performance allied to two stunning goals enabled Ashford to progress to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup at the expense of Bostick League club Corinthian-Casuals.

On another lovely day weatherwise, the chocolate and pink of the Casuals contrasted well with Ashford’s tangerine and white stripes.  Both sides were equally bright in the opening stages but it was the home team who started to look more threatening and so it proved on 25 minutes when Dan Fleming held the ball up well before releasing Mark Bitmead whose superlative left foot shot gave Casuals keeper Danny Braken no chance in the visitors’ goal.

Four minutes later Fleming himself doubled the lead with an equally impressive effort although Casuals felt that Russ Canderton had fouled an opponent in the build up.  It wasn’t given though and Ashford were looking good.

Corinthian-Casuals, although clearly not at their best, are not a poor side by any means and as half-time approached and as they started to make inroads down their left flank in particular, where Joe Green found himself exposed on occasions, there were some disturbing echoes of the match on Monday against Egham.  The difference this time was that Ashford kept their opponents at bay and a special mention goes to Samad Kazi who was everywhere in protecting the goal.

The second half was relatively even but there were no further goals, although near the end Ashford could have made is safe for certain but Bitmead, usually dead eye dick from the spot, spurned the opportunity for a third goal as he shot straight at the keeper.  The outcome was looking fairly inevitable now and the visitors’ cause was not helped when sub Reyon Dillon kicked the ball away in frustration and, having already been cautioned, was sent off and was extremely curmudgeonly as he left the field.  Indeed Causals had rather lost some discipline at this point with arguments breaking out with each other on more than one occasion.

We now await Monday’s draw with interest as the Conference North and South clubs come into the fray for the 2nd Qualifying Round to be played on Saturday 16 September.  That in turn means that the home match against Aylesbury United on that day will have to be re-arranged, although they have also reached this stage.

There is no midweek match this week but the Under-18’s now have a friendly on Wednesday evening against a Woking eleven, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  British Airways are also playing at home this week, on Tuesday evening, when they will face Pitshanger Dynamo in a Middlesex County League match.

The Ladies first ever Women’s FA Cup match was almost called off with their opponents Headington Ladies having no suitable pitch but the game was transferred to Short Lane at the last minute and Ashford duly showed their credentials with a 17-0 win over their opponents and now go into the second round away to either Wargrave or Benson.  Ashley Cheatley now firmly back with the Tangerines notched eleven of the goals, surely some sort of record!