Saturday 16 September 2017

MARLOW  0    ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDLESEX)  2

Emirates FA Cup – 2nd Qualifying Round

 

A competent and impressive performance saw Ashford beating league rivals Marlow on Saturday, to reach the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the first time since season 2009-2010, when they went out to Hendon on penalties (8-9) in a replay.

It was known beforehand that Marlow were bedevilled by suspensions and there was a confident look about the Ashford side that took the pitch, despite the absence of influential midfielder Scott Weight.  With Marlow responding well at this early stage an exciting match looked in prospect as both teams strove to attack but it was the Tangerines who went ahead on 15 minutes. It started with a decisive ball from Romario Jonas, on for the injured Joe Green, and after something of a scramble, it was Jack Beadle who forced it home for his third goal of the season and his 50th for the club overall.

It was a good start for Ashford but Marlow will be kicking themselves for not levelling when over-hesitation was their downfall but Tyler Tobin was certainly kept busy.  Nevertheless Marlow’s overall chances were fairly restricted and it took just two minutes into the second half for Ashford to double the lead.  Good work by James Cottee saw Mark Bitmead seemingly free as he cut in from the right but it looked as if the chance had gone when a defender got back, but Bitmead, doing what he does best recovered the ball and hammered it home.

Although it was still quite early in the second period, that second goal seemed to take the stuffing out of the home club and only rarely did they look as if they might retrieve anything from the situation.  Ashford were largely on top and only some profligate finishing and indeed one or two excellent stops by home keeper Garnes, kept the scores level.

Referee Scott had made it clear from the start that he did not intend to tolerate any dissent but the home side were becoming increasingly frustrated and picking up a number of cautions that culminated in a dismissal some ten minutes from time, giving them even more of a mountain to climb.

Despite Jonas sustaining an injury of his own, Ashford should really have scored again but in the end it was more comfortable than was expected before the match and, with no midweek game, Ashford now have a week to savour the result before they entertain Aylesbury in the League next Saturday.  The draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round will be released around lunch time on Monday.

At the time of writing by the way, the Ladies are 7-1 up in their Women’s FA Cup game away to Benson Ladies, with around 20 to go.