Ashford warmed up for their FA Cup clash at home to Leatherhead with a 7-1 victory away to Northwood on Tuesday evening and find themselves in 3rd place in the table, having now scored more goals than any other side in the division.

The game was less one sided than it sounds and despite the 3-0 lead that had been established before the break, manager Ben Murray was not over happy with his side’s defending as Northwood frequently looked dangerous down both flanks.  However, with keeper Tyler Tobin looking rock solid once again augmented by another commanding performance by Samad Kazi, all the home side’s attacking was thwarted.

In the meantime Ashford found themselves almost unable to put a foot wrong when it came to finishing.  In general terms the home side had clearly capable players but in trying to play a passing game, they seemed to overdo it at the back and with Ashford chasing everything, this frequently led to possession being squandered, which in turn led to more than one goal going in.

The first goal came on just eight minutes as Mark Bitmead found himself able to advance unchallenged and he unleashed an effort good enough to beat home keeper Andrew McCorkell.  Twelve minutes later the lead was doubled with arguably the best goal of the game as Bitmead combined in a sublime one-two with Dan Fleming and hit a shot that no keeper would have been able to save.

Northwood remained lively themselves at times but went further behind seven minutes before the break when Bitmead slammed home a free kick from distance for a well deserved hatrick.

The second half saw no let up from the visitors and ten minutes in it was four, as Alex Fisher won the ball in midfield, got himself down the left flank and delivered a cross duly converted by Bitmead for his fourth goal of the night.

Five minutes later, Northwood scored their only goal of the evening when a cross was headed home by Harry Newman and for a little while they had Ashford troubled, retaining possession and making half-chances at least.  It was at this stage that referee Farrer involved himself to a greater extent.  He had been refereeing the game well to that point and there hadn’t been anything of an underhand nature throughout but he now seemed to be issuing cards for very little and players on both sides suffered.

It did not deter the Ashford goal machine though and with Jabir Laraba now on for Fleming, the sub  once again impressed robbing a home player as once again Northwood failed to play out and then scored at the near post to restore the four goal cushion.

Fisher was the next Ashford player to go into the book and was wisely replaced soon afterwards.  Northwood were less fortunate as their skipper Marcus Rose found himself sent off following two cautions for fairly innocuous fouls.  The points had already been determined at this late stage and as Northwood finally started to look like a beaten side, Jaraba once again won the ball and swivelled to hit home a fine shot to make it 6-1.

Wit stoppage time running out, Ashford put a little more icing on the cake as Romario Jonas used his 6 feet 4 frame to head home number seven from a corner taken by Bitmead to complete the scoring

There is a little rest from the league now as we entertain Leatherhead in the FA Cup on Saturday followed on Tuesday with an away trip to Hayes & Yeading in the Big Freebet.Com Cup, unless, of course, a replay is required in the FA Cup

Good luck to the Under-18’s at Wingate & Finchley tonight in the FA Youth Cup and our commiserations to Joe Green who sadly looks as if he will be out for the season after sustaining an injury at Marlow two weeks ago.  Everyone at the club will doubtless send their best wishes to Joe for as quick a recovery as possible.