Ashford secured their place in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy on Saturday with a thrilling win away to Bostick League side Hastings United by 4 goals to 3.

On a beautiful day and on a superb pitch that was a credit to the home side, Ashford made a fast start to the match, and with the Hasting defence looking less than confident, it was Romario Jonas who opened the scoring within less than two minutes gone.  The goal owed much to the craft of James Cottee who held the ball up well on the right flank before slipping it to Jonas, whose fierce cross shot gave the keeper little chance.

One sensed that all was not well with Hastings with more than one of their supporters heard to be muttering about their club’s team selection and tactics and when Ashford scored again on 21 minutes, a straightforward victory seemed on the cards.  The goal was undoubtedly the best of the match as Dan Fleming released Jack Beadle down the left wing and Ashford’s om-form player got to the byeline and pulled it back with deliberationl to Max Webb who again gave the keeper no chance.

Football being what it is though, Ashford seemed to take their foot off the gas and paid a price just eight minutes later when Hastings used their main weapon which was an extraordinarily long throw.  It had already caused one or two problems and as this one homed in on keeper Tyler Tobin he was hemmed in by three home players and could not get a meaningful touch. There was an almighty scramble and visiting skipper Russell Canderton seemed to end up with the final touch for an own goal although Hastings credited it to their own Ansu Janneh.  Ashford felt that their goalkeeper was being given insufficient protection throughout the afternoon but referee Rudd remained unsympathetic.

As is so often the case, the goal breathed new life into the home side and they were on top for the remainder of the half, even though Ashford arguably had the best chance when a sublime movement saw Jack Beadle in the clear but his effort passed just over the bar.

Hastings supporters could certainly not complain about the effort their side was putting in and few would have been confident in predicting the result at half-time.  As it was, play was relatively even but when Ashford attacked they always broke fast and it was that pace that brought about the next dividend as another excellent passing movement saw Jack Beadle atoning for his earlier miss with another fine effort to restore Ashford’s two goal cushion.

As the game progressed Ashford were having ever greater concerns with the refereeing.  Mr.Rudd had already shown a lack of any tolerance having cautioned both Dan Fleming and Tommy Brunton for expressing a view, which was, of course unwise.  However, the official now seemed to be showing a noticeable lack of consistency.  Both Max Webb and Romario Jonas were the subject of quite poor fouls, without any cautions ensuing whilst Canderton was then booked for a foul which was merited but hardly consistent with what had been allowed to go unpunished.  Scott Weight then went into the book for apparently “shouting” at his team mates and Webb was then forced to leave the field after another foul, for which his opponent was cautioned, when, of course, he should have been allowed to stay on.  Ashford were not blameless in the fouls department by any means but this was never a dirty match in any shape or form.  On came Yah-Ya El Kabouche to weave some magic but he was quickly made to disappear as he committed two fouls in quick succession, neither particularly violent but Mr. Rudd  had his red card out faster than a gun slinger, leaving Ashford to see out the last ten minutes or more with ten men.

In the meantime, Hastings had pulled another back when a corner kick was headed home by Janneh and it was looking as if it would be a long ten minutes, or rather eighteen following the signal for six additional minutes which actually turned in to eight and a bit.

Sure enough, Hasting’s efforts brought them another goal, this time from Ollie Rowe  as stoppage time got underway and it was now three apiece.  A replay or even worse loomed for Ashford but virtually from the re-start, they surged forward and it was Ashford “man of the match” Jack Beadle who put Ashford in front yet again for a very hard fought 4-3 victory.

We now await Monday’s draw with anticipation.  Hopefully our winner’s cheque won’t bounce as has the one we picked up for a winning round in the FA Cup (yes, it’s true!).  Apparently two signatures are required on FA cheques and there was only one!  Hard to say how many banks would have picked that up but ours did.

There is now no match on Tuesday as South Park, our opponents in the Surrey Senior Cup, drew their FA Trophy match yesterday against Horsham and the replay will take precedence over the County Cup match.  The next game, therefore, is on Saturday when we will entertain Bedford Town, more of which during the week.  Good luck to all our junior sides and the Ladies, who are at home this afternoon to Clapham United Ladies in what should be a close game with Clapham having only been beaten once this season.  Kick-off is at 2.00 p.m.

Forthcoming Events

25 Nov 2017
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v AFC Rushden & Diamonds (H)
28 Nov 2017
07:45PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Hartley Wintney (a)