Ashford travelled to Arlesey Town on Saturday and returned with all three points in a 3-1 win.

Arlesey did well to get the game on with several other matches being postponed but the pitch was perfectly payable.  It was distinctly colder that little bit further up north but both sides conspired to give the fairly meagre crowd a decent match to watch.

Ashford’s injury situation has eased with Scott Weight being the latest player to return and manager Ben Murray immediately put him back in the starting eleven.  Ashford also had two debutants in the starting line up, namely goalkeeper Marcin Brzozowski, on loan from Queens Park Rangers, plus defender Hussain Heidari who has signed on a permanent basis from Hampton & Richmond.  Both were impressive in their first match for the club and they certainly made up for the missing Tyler Tobin and Alex Fisher.

Arlesey are firmly rooted at the foot of the table but they did not look like it as they played some very good football and enjoyed at least as much possession as Ashford but what they lacked was any kind of killer instinct in front of goal, whereas Ashford always looked dangerous when they attacked.

That view was demonstrated as early as the 7th minute when, in virtually their first attack, Max Webb picked the ball up just outside the penalty area and was allowed to drill a low shot past the keeper.

Seven minutes later, Ashford scored again.  This time it came from a penalty when Romario Jonas had his legs whipped away in the area.  In the absence of both regular penalty takers, Mark Bitmead and Alex Fisher, James Cottee stepped up but saw his effort pushed aside.  Great credit though goes to Jack Beadle who was the first to react and he slid the ball back across goal for Cottee to tap it home.

Given their position and going two down so early, one might have expected the home side to capitulate but they didn’t and one of their forwards missed an opportunity to score when the goal was gaping.  Ashford were on the back foot for a while but regained their momentum before half-time and effectively made the match safe with a third goal on the stroke of half-time.  Once again Cottee was involved and he won a difficult header to set Kam English away and the latter responded by advancing and unleashing an unstoppable shot that flew into the net before the keeper could react.  It was undoubtedly the goal of the match and English’s first since returning to the club from Marlow.

The second half was a quieter affair as Ashford rarely looked like squandering their lead despite Arlesey’s best efforts.  Sub Jabir Laraba, on up front, ran his socks off for the Tangerines as usual but will be kicking himself for missing what looked a very simple opportunity to increase the lead, while Brzozowski found himself quite busy at times.  The result rarely looked in doubt though until a minute from the end when Nathaniel Fowler pulled one back for the home side.  It was too late though and the match was soon over.  It was played in a good spirit and well refereed by Mr. Donnellan, who officiated with good humour and never once found it necessary to go to his notebook.

Ashford now go to Hanwell Town on Tuesday evening.  After last season it is a major surprise to see them at the wrong end of the table but as Arlesey showed on Saturday, there are no easy games.  There will be more on that game later.  Also, this evening (Monday) the Under-18’s are at home to Northwood U18 in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

The holiday bar times will be announced shortly by our new bar sub-committee but for those who like to maintain the tradition of a drink at the Club on Christmas Day, it can be confirmed that the Club will be open on Christmas morning from 11.00 to 2.00.