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.

I have been involved in this club for over 14 years and I am now coming up to four years in charge as First Team Manager.

In that time I have been part of and witnessed some great things at this club, but never have I felt more proud of our club then I did this past Saturday before the Aylesbury game.

Ever since becoming manager I have had this vision of our own stand being filled with Ashford players from each and every age group, from the Under 7s through to the First Team, to show the solidarity and passion of our club.

We achieved that this past Saturday. With over 250 of our very own junior’s players, joining our club’s first team in filling our main stand and creating a sea of Tangerine & White.

It was without doubt, my proudest moment that I’ve been involved with in my time at Ashford Town.

It is so important to embrace each and every player within our club and this past weekend we did just that. It was also great to see so many of our girls team’s players present along with the club’s committee members and junior coaches.

This week is a big one for the club in terms of the biggest cup competition. The Under 18s play in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday, the ladies play in the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday and our first team entertain Leatherhead in the Emirates FA Cup this coming Saturday.

Hopefully, following the success of this past weekend at the club, we can get as much support to all of these games.

Talking on the First Team, we have had a superb month of September, in both the FA Cup and the league, I have been very happy with our results and our performances are only getting better and better.
We now go into a tough run of games both mentally and physically, with a run of Tuesday/Saturday games continuing now for the foreseeable future.

We have a settled and stable squad at present, with our only long term injury concern being Joe Green who is awaiting an MRI scan on his knee following his injury at Marlow the other week. James Cottee is recovering from minor surgery and will get the all clear to play in the next two weeks, following his great start to his time here at the club.

Right now, we have a tough assignment to prepare for away at Northwood tomorrow evening, we must keep our results going in the league to remain to ensure we keep up to date with our season target, the lads have done superbly on this to date.

Ben Murray

In front of a 200+attendance, Ashford defeated Aylesbury by 2 goals to nil for another three points which leaves us nicely positioned in 6th place with at least one match in hand over all bar one of the five sides above us.

On a beautiful day, this was not a spectacular match by any means but the Tangerines were workmanlike throughout, scoring twice in the first half and then confidently containing the efforts of the visitors to get back into the game in the second period.

Just as last week, it was big Jack Beadle who scored the opening goal on just 7 minutes, marking his third goal in as many matches.  It was made by the ever energetic Max Webb who won the ball on the right flank, held off a defender, before sweeping it across to Beadle on the other flank.  Ashford’s on form midfielder cut inside and a low effort did the trick.

Aylesbury had actually started the match quite well, passing it around nicelyl but after the goal Ashford were rather peppering their goal and the only surprise was that it took another 20 minutes before they scored again.  This time it came from a devilish corner swung in by Alex Fisher.  It deceived the keeper allowing Romario Jonas to get his head on it and it went in off a defender.  Aylesbury’s one decent chance had seen the ball skied.

The second half saw the Moles, under the managership of Davis Haule, who played for Ashford in the 2009-10 season, attempting to wrestle some initiative back and they certainly made a game of it but Ashford in securing their third clean sheet in four matches rarely looked as if they would concede and so it proved.

Having gone two up, one might have expected more but manager Ben Murray was pleased with his squad overall, with Yahya El-Kabouche, starting for the first time, winning the Hitchcock and King, Ashford “man of the match” vote by supporters, just ahead of both Beadle and Jonas.  Jabir Laraba also came on to good effect later on and Ashford supporters are enjoying watching their team at the moment, with just the one defeat all season and that to a last minute goal against Egham after we had been two up.

Next up is on Tuesday evening when we make the trip to Northwood FC in search of more league points.  The address of the ground is Northwood Park, Chestnut Avenue, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1HR.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.  They have been having something of a tough time just lately but are never easy to overcome.  They are one of our most regular opponents with 22 meetings in the past.  Possibly the one that will always stand out for Ashford is the Middlesex Charity Cup Final in May 2012, played at Wealdstone.  We were three down at half-time that day but super-sub Kofi Lockhart-Adams came on and scored four goals to turn the match completely round.  Northwood weren’t done though and they then scored to make it four apiece.   The sides couldn’t be separated so it went to penalties and in the lottery that followed, we eventually won 5-4, our successful scorers being Lockhart-Adams again, Mario Quiassaca, Jack Mullan, Samad Kazi and Jim Mann.

After the excitement of winning through to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, in which they will be at home next Sunday to Kent London Ladies, Will Boye’s team won 6-1 on Sunday in their opening league match against Luton Town Development Ladies.  For once, Ashley only scored twice, the others coming from Lavana Neufville, who hit a hatrick, and Sequia Belworthy.  Maddie Bone was named “Ashford Player of the Match”.

The Under-18’s are playing in the FA Youth Cup this Wednesday away to Jewish club Wingate & Finchley in a match that was delayed due to it being a Jewish holiday last week.  We were quite happy to agree to their request and this game now replaces the Ryman Youth League match against Hendon, previously scheduled.

 

Please note that the FA Youth Cup match away to Wingate & Finchley U18 has been moved to Wednesday evening, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Our reward for the win at Marlow on Saturday is a home tie in the 3rd Qualifying Round on Saturday 30 September against Leatherhead, members of the Bostick League Premier Division who currently sit in 6th place.  They won 5-2 at ware on Saturday to reach this stage.  It was the last tie to come out of the hat!

We should now forget about it for the moment as immediate concentration needs to be on Saturday's game at home to Aylesbury in the League, the first of 5 home matches out of the next six games.

The juniors' season is now well underway and here are yesterday's results and next Sunday's fixtures

Results Sun 17 Sep 2017

Chris U7s – W

Colin U8s – W

Andy U10s 1-4 Abbey Rangers

Rhys U10s 4-1 Hampton

Matt U11s 7-2 Bedfont Eagles

Graham U12s 3-1 Kingston Town

Ian U13s 3-13 Sutton

Dave U13s 12-6 Mitcham Park

Larry U14s 0-2 Sheen

Paul U14s 2-0 Kensington Dragons COUNTY CUP

John U14s 3-3 Whitton

Craig U15s 2-3 Raynes Park

Fin U15s 2-4 SRC Colts

Steve U15s 1-2 Corinthian Casuals 

 

Fixtures Sun 24 Sep 2017

Cordelia Park 11-a-side Carpark Pitch 1

Paul U14s v Doverhouse 10am

Cordelia Park 11-a-side Pitch 2

Fin U15s v Meadow Sports 10am

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 1

Colin U8s v Woking Cougars 10am

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch 1

Chris U9s v Steve U9s 10am

Andy U10s v AFC Walcountians 11am

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch 3

Neil U9s v AFC Fulham 10am

Sam U9s v Abbey Rangers 11am

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch

Iain U11s v Kingstonian Youth 10am

Graham U12s v Barnes Eagkes 11:15

Darren U12s v Claygate 12:30

Ashford Town– Stadium

Ladies v Luton Town 2pm

Away Games

Chris U7s v Kew Association

Michael U8s v Worcester Park

Bill U9s v Claygate

Matt U10s v Esher Colts

Rhys U10s v Barnes Eagles

Ryan U10s v Carshalton

Matt U11s v Kingston Town

Darren U11s v Westside

Andy U12s v Mitcham Park

Ian U13s v Leatherhead

Larry U14s v CB Hounslow

John U14s v Worcester Park

Craig U15s v Stoneleigh

Steve U15s v Goldsworth Park 

Martin U16s v Whitton Wanderers

No Games

Sean U7s

Dave U13s

 

 

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.

The draw for the Middlesex Charity Cup has been released and we will entertain Uxbridge in the 1st Round of the competition.  The winners would then be at home in the 2nd Round to either Hanworth Villa or Hillingdon.  Were we to progress further a home draw would also await in the Quarter Final, when the opponents would be one of Rayners Lane, Brimsdown, Harefield United or Harrow Borough.

The League match at home to Moneyfields FC, from the Portsmouth area, has been brought forward by mutual consent from New Year's Day to Saturday 30 December, kicking off at 3.00 p.m. as usual.

Ashford are one of just seven clubs from the East Division of the Evostick League South left in the FA Cup as they look forward to Saturday’s 2nd Qualifying Round tie at Marlow.

Matches against Marlow are never easy and Ashford will need to not only play well but be at their most dogged if they are to achieve a result.  Indeed, the Tangerines do not have immediately recent good memories of playing at Marlow, firstly travelling last season to a ground that was clearly unplayable through ice but we had to go because the match referee couldn’t get there any earlier than he did to call it off and then, when we did play, again in the depths of winter, we lost by the only goal of the game.  In a distinctly curmudgeonly affair, which almost spilt over at the end, Ashford’s view was that there should have been far more time added on than there was but that, of course, is always a lottery. Overall,l honours were even last season as we managed to win at home early in the season by three goals to one, thanks to two from Dan Fleming, and one from Max Webb.

There is little to choose between the sides in terms of points this season with Ashford on ten and Marlow one behind on nine, following their defeat at AFC Dunstable last Saturday by two goals to one.  They have though done something that no-one else seems able to manage at the moment and that is to beat Hartley Wintney, whilst in the cup, they have twice won away, at Highworth Town and Beaconsfield Town to get to this stage.

Kick-off is at 3.00 p.m. and the address of the ground is the Alfred Davis Ground, Oak Tree Road, Marlow, SL7 3ED.  There is plenty of parking at the ground.

Prior to that, the Under-18’s are in action this evening (Thursday) away to Camberley Town in the Ryman Youth League.  It has been something of a baptism by fire so far for the squad, still very young and straight from Sunday junior football.  They are though much better than the results have shown but they need to realise  that they are now playing at a level far higher than they have been used to and embrace that and start to show just what they are capable of.  Kick-off at Camberley is 7.45 p.m.

 

Ashford secured three more points on Saturday with a 4-2 victory away to Uxbridge, who had stood 4th in the table before the game.

Once again the Tangerines made an excellent start to the match going ahead in the 2nd minute.  Scott Weight lived up to his name with a deftly weighted through pass to Jack Beadle, whose fierce angled drive gave home keeper Paul McCarthy little chance.

On an excellent surface, Ashford’s passing game looked as if it might bring further dividends but it was Uxbridge who scored the next goal on 19 minutes when Beadle committed a rather clumsy foul just outside the area and an excellent free kick from Luke Warner-Eley found the net.

Ashford were still looking stronger though and just ten minutes later Mark Bitmead restored the lead when he wasn’t shut down and a fine run ended with another unstoppable effort.  Not to be outdone was strike partner Dan Fleming who latched on to a free kick from Bitmead soon afterwards, swivelled and unleashed a cross shot which found the net for a 3-1 lead.

There was no further scoring before half-time and for a while in the second period, the home side mounted a determined come-back.  With Russell Canderton showing all his experience at the back though, along with Samad Kazi, who was everywhere, Uxbridge were unable to make any kind of breakthrough and Ashford’s 4th goal arrived just past the hour mark.  It was a penalty taken by Alex Fisher after Bitmead had been brought down in the act of scoring by McCarthy.  It might have been worse for the custodian but referee Donellan explained afterwards that, as Bitmead had taken a slightly diagonal tract as he went to round the keeper, he saw no need to issue a card of any colour.  Without a doubt, other referees would have taken a different view but in the end it made little difference, although the home side did manage to pull one back on 76 minutes through Dylan Kearney, which made life a little more uncomfortable for the visitors.  Uxbridge were unable though to make any further headway and Ashford ended with a two goal margin of victory, which saw them jump six places in the table to 5th place.

There were several pleasing aspects to Ashford’s play, not least the performance of subs Jabir Laraba and Yah-Ya El-Kabouche, both of whom have found themselves having to spend a lot of time on the bench during Ashford’s invigorating start to the season.  They have earned the praise of the management during this period with their patience and professionalism and both showed up well when they came on.

Once again there is no midweek match, so the next outing is away to Marlow next Saturday in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, more of which to come later in the week.  The Ladies are without a match tomorrow whilst the Under-18’s, still trying to find their feet after largely coming from Sunday junior football last season, will travel to Camberley Town on Thursday evening, kick-off 7.45 p.m. for a Ryman Youth League game.