Ashford were pleased to see some of the missing players return to the squad on Saturday but in the end it was another defeat as visitors AFC Rushden & Diamonds scored twice without reply.

Early play was even enough but it was the visitors who went ahead, a simple long ball finding home defenders AWOL and in the end it was a simple chance for Tom Lorraine to put his side in front.  They did not then take too long to double the lead, as an Ashford clearance was weak and an adept finish by Rushden’s Ryan Robbins was the outcome.

In recent weeks Ashford themselves have often taken a two goal lead only for the opposition to come back at them and either equalise or win the match, which has been highly disappointing as a two goal lead should generally be enough to see a match through.

On this occasion, it was the visitors who showed exactly how it should be done.  Throughout the second half Ashford more or less dominated possession but without creating too much thanks to the excellent organisation shown at the back by the visitors who always looked dangerous on the break.  Nobody in a tangerine shirt played poorly and the effort was there to the finish but the visitors came to do a job and they did it very well, obviously helped by the two early goals that were conceded.

We need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible and with the midweek match at Hartley Wintney being called off due to their FA Trophy commitments, the next opportunity is away to Barton Rovers on Saturday

Without in any way decrying the efforts of the lads who played at Kempston in midweek, we can confirm that tomorrow all the following will be back in the squad:  Alex Fisher, Romario Jonas, James Cottee, Dan Fleming and skipper Russell Canderton.  The only absentees will be Mark Bitmead and Joe Green both sadly out for the season as we know, and Scott Weight who is still two weeks away.

It is just as well that the lads are back as Ashford entertain AFC Rushden and Diamonds for the first time ever and in what will probably be their only ever league trip to Short Lane, given the pending re-structure at the end of the season which will see us (presumably) in a South based division and our opponents in a Central based division.  They will bring plenty of support with them today though and we welcome them to Short Lane

Transferred laterally from the Northern Premier last season, Rushden were always one of the favourites for promotion this season and they will arrive tomorrow in 3rd place.  We have dropped to 10th following all the injuries to key players but we are still the Division’s joint top scorers with anything up to four matches in hand over the clubs above us, so there’s a long way to go yet.

It is all in the programme (via the club website) but once again a big thank you to everyone who got themselves up to Kemspton on Tuesday night.  A make shirt side got off to a poor start, conceding twice early on but did not crumple.  Thanks to sterling work by Jack Beadle and Jabir Laraba, we pulled a goal back through the latter before half-time and then equalised with around 15 to go when Will Boye powered home a header from a Tommy Brunton corner.  Possibly we then sensed that we were capable of getting the winner and maybe we risked too much going forward but we hurried a clearance which ended up with Kempston scoring the winner late on.  It’s gone now and we move on.

Just in case you are not aware, the scheduled match away to Hartley Wintney on Tuesday is OFF as they have a delayed FA Trophy match.  Thus the next match is now on Saturday 2 December when we travel to Barton Rovers, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

The Under-18’s make the short trip to Bedfont Sports on Monday evening in the Ryman Youth League whilst the Ladies are away on Sunday to Clapham United Ladies, kick-off 2.00 p.m.

Back to this evening when we have a Race Night in the Club largely to help both Mark and Joe.  Even if you can't be present please consider making a donation as neither of the lads have been able work whilst they get over the injury.  There may even still be horses available (at £5) or races to be named for £20.

Our scheduled league match away to Hartley Wintney on Tuesday 28 November has been postponed.

This is because Hartley Wintney willl be engaged that evening in the FA Trophy against either Banbury or Farnborough.  There was a problem with this latter match which had to be postponed because Farnborough didn't get to the game due to a massive traffic accident and this is the FA's decision.

Given our backlog of league matches, the game against Hartley Wintney is unlikely to be played now before the New Year.

Ashford’s dismal record against Chalfont St. Peter continued on Saturday with a 0-2 loss against a side who have enjoyed some impressive victories lately.

On a heavy surface made worse by continuous rain throughout, Ashford were still missing a number of regulars but the match did at least see the return of Tommy Brunton from injury and the return to the club of Kameron English who left us midway through last season to play for Marlow.  Both started, but key players such as Russell Canderton, Scott Weight and James Cottee amongst others were still on the injured list.

The opening exchanges were even with the Tangerines, if anything, having more of it as both Jack Beadle and English went close.  Dan Fleming did likewaise with a free kick that shaved the bar.  It was something of a slog all round though and more and more it started to look as if the first side to score would certainly have the whip hand.  Ashford have scored a fair number of early goals in recent matches but this time it was the home side who went ahead on 24 minutes when a back heel caught Ashford out at the back, leading to a goal from Chalfont’s Ben Ward-Cochrane.

There was no lack of effort from the visitors and English was deliberately tripped in full flight, leading to the game’s only caution for the offender.  Soon afterwards referee Rushton did not endear himself to the visiting contingent when he gave an incredibly harsh free kick against Ashford as Tyler Tobin handled an alleged back pass when it was nothing of the sort, a mistake he half rectified by allowing the Ashford wall within about six yards of the kick.

That was a minor excitement and once again Ashford started the second half well.  Despite that though it was proving very difficult to break down a determined and efficient home defence and chances were limited.  It has to be said that Ashford looked less solid at the back and when Chalfont doubled the lead on 56 minutes with a header from George Beattie one could sense that Ashford would not do what several other clubs have done this season against the Tangerines and that is recover from a two goal deficit.

So it proved.  Ashford fought to the end but that little bit of guile that was needed and which Ashford possess was missing today.

Next up is another away trip, this time to Kempston Rovers on Tuesday evening, the second season in a row that we have had to go there on a Tuesday evening, this time it being the price to be paid for the FA Cup run which had caused league matches to be postponed.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m. and the address of the ground is Hillgrounds Leisure, Hillgrounds Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK42 8SZ.  It is just over 60 miles each way ground to ground, leaving the M1 at Junction 13.  There is ample parking once you arrive.

In the meantime, the Under-18’s are away this evening (Monday) to Staines Town in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.30 p.m.

Ashford head to Chalfont St. Peter this afternoon and will be glad to get back to playing league matches, with a lot of catching up to do after the two cup runs in the FA Cup and Trophy.

Firstly, congratulations to Alan Hedley of Chalfont who will be playing his 500th match for the club.  In non-league football today, that is a tremendous achievement and we congratulate him upon it.  Whether our own long serving skipper Russell Canderton will be in action remains to be seen following his back strain incurred last Saturday.

Our opponents have hit some form with consecutive wins over both AFC Dunstable and Kempston Rovers recently as a result of which they have risen to 9th place in the table.  We are in 6th with at least two matches in hand over all the clubs above us.  A win today could see us in 3rd position this evening but defeat could see us dropping several places as it is all very bunched.

We can take little comfort in our recent playing record against Chalfont which can reasonably be described as ropey.  Last season, on exactly the same weekend we managed a 0-0 draw but we have now not beaten them in the last eight games.  Indeed it is necessary to go back to our second ever meeting which was in March 2001, when we last won, although that was a good one by eight goals to nil in our first season in the Ryman League Division 3.  One player scored five goals for us in that match, a certain D. Logie who had previously been a prolific scorer for Bedfont and we thought it was a real coup getting hold of him but he went on to disappear again after just five games.

Kick-off today is 3.00 p.m. as usual and the address of the ground is Mill Meadow, Gravel Hill, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, SL9 9QX.  There is plenty of parking available and from ground to ground it is a journey of 17 miles each way.