Ashford come up against local rivals from the other side of the airport on Saturday, in the shape of Uxbridge FC.  Kick off at Short Lane is 3.00 p.m.

The Tangerines will be hoping for a better outcome than the last season in which our two sides met which was  in 2013-2014, when we lost heavily on both occasions, 0-4 at home and 1-5 away.  Our solitary goal was scored by Joe Lynch on one of his few 1st Team appearances.  Indeed in 12 matches overall, we have only managed three wins, the most emphatic being a 3-0 win in February 2010, when Isiah Rankin scored twice and Jordan Kiffin notched the other.

Had we managed to win on Tuesday we would be coming into the match in 3rd place but, as it is, we stand in 6th position.  Our visitors are 14th at present but with a match in hand over most clubs so there is little to choose in terms of league results to date.  Uxbrodge have recorded something of a mixed bag in recent weeks, by far the most impressive being a 2-2 draw in midweek away to Farnborough.  On the other side of the coin they lost at home to Royston 0-2 last Saturday and also went out of the FA Cup at the hands of Harrow Borough.  Their other September result was a 1-1 draw against Marlow.

It was good to see Lewis Taylor back in our colours again on Tuesday after his horrific injury and we need to put that result behind us and indeed the refereeing decision that baffled everyone and presented a goal to the opposition.

On Tuesday we have a night off from league action as we travel to Slough’s new stadium in the League Cup.  We won’t be expected to win and can play with complete freedom.  They are now at their new ground, the address of which is:  Arbour Park, Stoke Road, Slough, SL2 5AY.  There are comprehensive directions on the Slough web site, as follows:  from the M4: Exit at Junction 5 (signposted Colnbrook/Datchet/Langley) and head west on London Road (A4). Pass the Sainsbury’s Superstore on your right hand side and drive straight over the roundabout, continuing on London Road. Pass the Tesco Slough Extra store and then the turning to Slough Rail station on your right and at the next junction, turn right onto Stoke Road (B416). Continue along Stoke Road for 0.7 miles, going straight ahead at the crossroads with Shaggy Calf Lane and Elliman Avenue (following the signpost to Slough Cemetery & Crematorium, Wexham Park Hospital and Stoke Poges). The entrance to Arbour Park is a few hundred yards further on the right hand side.

Annoyingly there is very little parking at the ground apparently, and their website suggests various places, all though with a minium10-15 minute walk.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.

A  preview of the 1st Team match at home to Uxbridge on Saturday will appear later today but here are the junior fixtures for this Sunday plus last Sunday's results.

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch
Martin U15s v AFC Westend 10am
Paul U13s v Cheam Sports 11.30am

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Carl Men v Wayfares 10.30 

Ashford Sports Club – 9 – 9 Pitch
No Fixture

 

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 1 
No fixtures

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 2

Chris U8s & Neil U8s v Bedfont/Halliford 10am (4 team tournament)

Bill U8s v Claygate/Corinthian/Epsom 12pm (4 team tournament)

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch
Andy U9s v Doverhouse 10am 
Matt U9s v Rhys U9s 11am
Matt U10s v Bedfont 12pm

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch
Graham U11s v AFC Walcountians 12pm  

Ashford Town – Outfield
Larry U13s v Kew Park Rangers 10.30 
Craig U14s v SCR Colts 12pm  

Ashford Town Stadium
No fixture  

Away Games

Steve U8s v 4 team mini tournament (AFC Fulham)
Ryan U9s v Esher Wizards 
Kirk U11s v Oxshott
Nelson U11s v Lyne
Fin U14s v Ascot 
Ben U16s v Met Police 
Conor U16s v Woking Cougars
Simon U16s v Kingston Town

No Games
Micheal U7
Joe U12s

 

Results 25th September
Andy U9s 2-5 Whitton 
Matt U9s 3-2 Claygate 
Matt U10s 4-2 Bedfont & Feltham
Kirk U11s 3-3 Rocks Lane
Joe U12s 1-9 Chertsey Town
Larry U13s 7-1 Hampton Youth
John U13s 1-1 Elm Grove 
Paul U13s 2-4 Farnham 
Craig U14s 2-2 Whitton 
Fin U14s 2-2 Worcester Park
Martin U15s 3-4 Sandgate 
Ben U16s 1-2 CB Hounslow 
Simon U16s 0-5 Wadden

A new book chronicling the history of Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC has been released and is available to buy in paperback and Kindle formats.

From Albion to Zazzera has been written by the club’s former General Secretary Gareth Coates, who remains involved with the club as a Vice-President.

This new work fills a significant gap, as prior to the start of the project, the club’s own records dated back only as far as 1982. From Albion to Zazzera traces the roots of the Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central club from their formation in 1958, summarising every season up to and including promotion from the Combined Counties League at the end of last season.

The book also contains brief profiles of the seven players who have gone on to play in the Football League or an equivalent abroad and the nine footballers who have won caps for their country and also worn the Ash Trees’ distinctive tangerine and white strip.

The book also includes profiles of a number of notable personalities from different eras, information about the seven known venues the club has used for home matches and also details the achievements of two clubs to have played in the local area prior to the emergence of the current club. A foreword to the book has been written by club Patron and television and theatre personality Russell Grant.

Author Gareth Coates stated: “This project has been a real ‘labour of love’ and to see the book in print after seven years of research, interviews and writing is a dream come true. It’s fantastic to know that there is a proper record of the club’s story available for anyone to read. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity to pay tribute to a handful of the many people who have helped to make the club the brilliant organisation that it is and I hope that the end result will bring pleasure to many people.”

From Albion to Zazzera is available to buy from Amazon in paperback at a cost of £9.99 and in a Kindle edition priced £4.99.

The book will be officially launched at Ashford’s home Evo-Stik League Southern match against Barton Rovers on Saturday 22nd October. This date has been selected as it falls the day before the anniversary of the highest-scoring match in the club’s history. That game – a 13-6 win over Trinity Sports Reserves – saw Graham Atkin score eight times, which remains the highest individual tally by an Ashford player in a single game. It is hoped that Mr Atkin will be in attendance at the match, which is also the latest “Junior Day”, where the club’s various teams for children will be celebrated for their contribution to the club.

A limited number of copies will be on sale at the game and supporters who wish to reserve one should This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as the books need to be ordered in advance.

There will be the opportunity to place orders online for home delivery in the event that the copies on sale at the match sell out. 

Following the fine performances at both Bedford Town and Arlesey Town, Ashford surrendered all three points on Tuesday evening, losing 3-4 to Fleet Town.

It has to be accepted that if you concede four goals at home, you can hardly blame anyone but yourself and doubtless Ben Murray has emphasised that point to his players.   Unfortunately though, the outcome of the match was greatly influenced by an admitted error by the referee for Fleet’s opening goal on 19 minutes.  At both half-time and full-time Mr. Atkin accepted that he had made a big mistake in blowing his whistle for a goal when the ball was a yard or more from crossing the line.  Everybody stopped except Fleet’s Ben White who banged the ball in the net, only for the referee to award a goal when everyone thought he had stopped play to give Ashford a free kick.  The referee was eventually persuaded to speak to the assistant but apparently only to confirm that there had not been a foul of any kind, which there hadn’t been.  Why the assistant did not also tell the referee at the time that the ball was nowhere near crossing the line, when he was only too ready to confirm it later, God only knows.  At the time of the incident not everyone knew exactly what had happened but the sentences above were written exactly as the referee explained afterwards.

At the time Ashford had been enjoying the lion’s share of possession but the whole incident seemed to affect the Tangerines and Fleet, looking a useful outfit, belying their position in the table, took full advantage.  To underline that it wasn’t Ashford’s night something of a bullet header put the visitors two up.  Sadly the header came from Ashford’s left back Alex Fisher who was endeavouring to clear a dangerous looking cross.  Fleet then scored again on the stroke of half-time and it looked game over.

In the end it was but this Ashford squad possess incredible determination and on the hour mark they were given hope when a long ball forward to Samad Kazi on the right flank was skilfully headed on to Mark Bitmead, whose first effort was well saved but he put the rebound in with the keeper unable to recover.

The recovery then fell flat on its face when Fleet scored again with just 18 minutes left on the clock.  Kam English then scored the Tangerines’ second goal following a mazy run and the margin was reduced to a single goal in stoppage time when Samad Kazi notched his first of the season.  There was no time left though and the visitors left with all three points and well done to them.

Ashford will have an opportunity to put this match behind them on Saturday when Uxbridge are the visitors to Short Lane.

There is a very full programme of matches today (Sunday) involving Ashford’s junior sides, the Ladies and the Men’s Social Sunday side and here they are:

Ashford Town 5 - 5 Pitch

Bill U8s v Hampton Youth 10.30

Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch

Matt U9s v Claygate 10am

Ryan U9s v Rhys U9s 11am

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch

Joe U12s v Chertsey Town 11am

Ashford Town – Outfield

Gary Sunday Men 10.30am

Larry U13s v Spelthorne Sports 12.30

John U13s v Elm Grove 1.45pm

Ashford Town– Stadium

Ladies v Carshalton 2pm

Away Games

Micheal U7s v CB Hounslow

Chris U8s v Bedfont Eagles

Neil U8s v Halliford

Steve U8s v Kew Association

Andy U9s v Whitton Wanderers

Matt U10s v Bedfont & Feltham

Kirk U11s v Rocks Lane

Nelson U11s v Sandgate

Paul U13s v Farnham

Craig U14s v Whitton Wanderers

Fin U14s v Worcester Park

Martin U15s v Sandgate

Ben U16s v CB Hounslow

Simon U16s v Waddon Wanderers

A satisfying performance at Arlesey Town on Saturday gave the Tangerines a comfortable 3-0 victory, the three points taking Ashford into 4th place in the table.

Following a fairly even start, Ashford started to click and a sustained period of pressure led to Max Webb sending in a low effort from the edge of the penalty area, to score the opening goal of the match on 22 minutes.

Given that Arlesey had recorded a 6-1 victory in their previous league match, they seemed to have little answer to Ashford’s determination on the day and it was little surprise that the lead was doubled on 31 minutes.  Mark Bitmead picked it up in midfield and was allowed time to put a superb through ball directly in front of goal for the unmarked Jack Beadle who made no mistake.

Further chances were missed and the scoreline remained unaltered up to the break.  Ashford expected the home side to react at the beginning of the second half and they did indeed make some inroads but without really looking like pulling the game round.  Indeed it was Ashford who scored the decisive third goal on 56 minutes, when Bitmead took advantage of a long ball from Ashford “man of the match” Scott Weight and finished with aplomb.

Arlesey did provide one scary moment for the visitors’ defence but Bailey Mummery was able to clear from the line and in truth Ashford should really have extended the margin of victory with shots whistling in regularly as the game went on but all failing to find the net.

All in all though, a 3-0 away victory at this level on an opponent’s ground, with no cautions (for either side) is more than enough and Ashford will now look forward to being back at home on Tuesday evening, when Fleet Town will be the visitors to Short Lane (kick-off 7.45 p.m.)

Ashford will travel into Bedfordshire for the second Saturday in a row, Arlesey Town being this week’s destination.  The address of the ground is New Lamb Meadow, Hitchin Road, Arlesey, Beds, SG15 6RS.  It is a journey of just under 50 miles via the M25 and the M1, leaving the latter at Junction 10.  These are the more precise directions on Arlesey’s excellent web site:  From M1 South Junction 10, take A1081 Airport Way onto A505 Hitchin Road towards Hitchin. Turn left onto A600 Bedford Road, past Hitchin Town FC, turn right at second roundabout to Ickleford. Go through village, bear left to Arlesey ground which is on the right.

Last week’s hard fought draw at Bedford Town enabled Ashford to climb one place in the table to 7th position, whilst Arlesey currently sit in 16th place, although the season is still far too early to draw any conclusions from that statistic.  Arlesey got off to an indifferent start, losing their opening three league matches but their most recent result shows a 6-1 home win over Petersfield Town, and, like ourselves, they drew at Bedford Town, so a close contest is almost certainly on the cards.

We have played each other in both the Ryman and the Southern League in the past, and also in the FA Cup.  Goals from Scott Harris (2), Byron Harrison and Ricky Wellard (penalty) gave us a 4-1 victory in the FA Cup in season 2008-09 but in league encounters Arlesey are ahead with 4 wins to our 1.  The most recent match between our clubs was on 26 March 2011, when we lost 0-3 at home.  Indeed we have never managed to beat them at home.

Arlesey play in dark and light blue so we will need to be in our normal tangerine kit tomorrow whilst the admission price is £9 (£5 concessions with all U-16’s admitted free of charge).

Ashford travelled to meet Bedford Town on Saturday, for the first time in ten years and for the first occasion in a competitive match and came away with a point following a 2-2 draw.

Overall that was probably the fairest result with Ashford having to batten down the hatches for much of the first half as the home side often laid siege to the away goal, a situation enhanced by Ashford giving away too many unnecessary free kicks in dangerous areas.  The second half was completely different as Ashford got on top for much of the time and deserved the two goals that rescued the situation and indeed, should have scored the winner right at the death when Mark Bitmead, through on goal, was only able to direct his effort straight into the arms of the grateful home keeper.

Ashford were without key players in Scott Weight and Dan Fleming, for reasons unknown to the writer.  Kav Keadell retained his place in goal whilst Bailey Mummery started, as did Samad Kazi, back from holiday.

On an excellent surface, Ashford did not start too badly with Kam English causing a problem or two with his pace but it was not too long before Ashford started to look somewhat lethargic and second best and it was no surprise when Bedford took the lead on 12 minutes through Lee Roache who finished off a decent left wing move.

Eleven minutes later Bedford doubled their lead following a very soft penalty award.  Keadell jumped for a high cross but could only get finger tips to it at best and he landed upon a Bedford forward.  It was completely involuntary but referee Cutmore, after taking an age, awarded a penalty to the home side, duly converted by their new signing, Nathan Frater.

Before half-time Bedford, who had ex-Ashford player Sam Balfour in their ranks, also hit the post and there wasn’t too much optimism within the ranks of the away followers at the half-time break.

However, no doubt heading the wise, if rather loud, advice offered by manager Murray, the Tangerines came out a different proposition for the second period and set about retrieving the situation.  The job became half done on the hour mark, when good work from Jack Beadle saw Bailey Mummery getting the deftest touch to divert the ball into the net.  The Bedford tannoy man credited the goal to Beadle but without Mummery’s touch, it would probably have gone just wide.

Although Bedford always looked dangerous when breaking, Ashford now had the bit between their teeth and Mark Bitmead found himself in on goal only to be pushed in the back in desperation by home skipper James Peters, leaving the referee with no option but to send him off.  Bitmead made no mistake and it was two apiece with around 20 minutes left, against ten men.

At that point it seemed quite likely that Ashford could well go on to take all three points but Bedford defended strongly and then out of the blue Tommy Brunton launched into a tackle that took just about everything and was sent off, thus evening matters up, personnel wise.  The referee said afterwards that Tommy’s feet left the ground and he was thus out of control. lThetwo sides bettled it out for the final ten minutes but neither could produce a winner even though, as mentioned, Bitmead had a golden chance to seal all three points.

There is still no midweek match so the next game brings another trip into darkest Bedfordshire when we make the journey to play Arlesey Town.  We next play at home on Tuesday 27 September when Fleet Town are the visitors, whilst on Saturday 1 October we entertain Uxbridge FC.  The game has been designated “junior day” with all our junior sides invited to the match and we also hope to welcome our guest of the day, Alan King of Hitchcock and King, who are have been our main sponsors for the last two seasons.

Whilst not completely new ground, as there was a pre-season friendly between our clubs on 10 July 2006, which ended one apiece, Ashford will be meeting (almost) new opponents on Saturday when they travel to Bedford Town in search of league points to augment their current 8th place in the table.

The address of the ground is The Eyrie, Meadow Lane, Cardington, Bedfordshire MK44 3LW.  Kick-off is at 3.00 p.m. and it is a journey of just over 60 miles mostly M25 and M1.  Bedford currently sit in 15th place in the table with two wins and five defeats in their eight league matches to date, but every single defeat has been to an odd goal, including to AFC Dunstable in the FA Cup.  For this level they are well supported with an average home attendance this season of 205, second only to Farnborough.

The Tangerines will be in good shape following last Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Kidlington and to the writer’s knowledge there are no new injuries.

 

It was the opening day of the Junior season last Sunday, and there were plenty of matches involving the junior tangerines.   As might be expected, the results were mixed and here they are:

Chris U8s 9-0 Staines Town

Andy U9s 3-2 Kew

Matt U9s 9-3 AFC Westend

Ryan U9s 6-1 Whitton Wanderers

Matt U10s 6-0 AFC Westend

Graham U11s 3-4 Old Isleworthians

Kirk U11s 1-7 Woking Town

Joe U12s 0-8 Hanwell

John U13s 5-3 NPL

Paul U13s 12-0 CB Hounslow

Craig U14s 14-4 SCR Colts

Martin U15s 0-5 AFC Westend

Ben U16s 6-0 Headstone Youth

Simon U16s 0-9 Teddington 

 

Well done to all the winning sides.

 

Ashford Town Ladies, promoted to Division 2 South of the Greater London Women’s League have started as they played last season and recorded a 7-1 home victory over Balham Panthers to go top of the fledgling league table, with maximum points after 2 matches.

After the match, it was just about everyone’s view that they would not have seen this result coming at half-time.  Just before the break Ashford had got their noses in front for the second time but Kidlington were certainly very much in the game at that stage and had they not missed a penalty early in the second period, which would have given them a second equaliser, the outcome might have been different.  That miss though seemed to click Ashford into gear and for the remainder of the game, whilst not a classic, loyal supporters were treated to some excellent football from the Tangerines as their visitors visibly wilted.

Ashford were still without Russell Canderton and Samad Kazi but Bailey Mummery was back and he started on the bench.  Manager Murray did a spot of tinkering with both Tommy Brunton and Jack Beadle starting the match, which was relatively even for the first half an hour.  On 26 minutes though, Ashford drew first blood when a free kick wide on the left, taken by Mark Bitmead, eluded everyone and nestled gently in the back of the net.

It took the visitors just three minutes to equalise when a misplaced header from Dan Fleming seemed to catch everyone out, even though it was nearer the half-way line than Ashford’s penalty area and Kidlington’s Lewis Cole took full advantage to bring his side level.

Both Will Boye and Alex Fisher found themselves in the book for fouls but on the stroke of half-time, Fleming did what he does best and, finding himself in the clear, hit a low effort that hit one post and ended up in the back of the net at the other post, to put Ashford ahead again.

It is always good to score just before half-time and the anticipation was that Ashford would resume very much on the front foot but it wasn’t like that as Kidlington enjoyed most of the early pressure at the start.  Fisher slightly mis-timed a tackle inside the area but as stated, the visitors failed to make the most of their opportunity, a poor effort allowing Cav Keadell to make a good save and keep Ashford ahead.

The match changed from that point and the Tangerines went 3-1 up when a mazy run from Kam English took him close in and his cross led to an unfortunate defender turning the ball into his own net.

Kidlington’s cause was not helped when Coyle received a straight red for what looked an elbow on Tommy Brunton, although the player maintained his innocence afterwards.

It was all Ashford now and five minutes later it was 4-1.  Superb approach work between Bitmead and English led to the latter getting himself on the score sheet.  Max Herbert on for Fleming in the closing stages then finished the scoring off as he pounced on a poor clearance following a corner and drilled the ball home to ensure an emphatic three points for the Tangerines, now up to 8th place in the table.

Again, there is no midweek match so the next outing is on Saturday when Ashford travel to Bedford Town for only their second ever visit, whilst the following Saturday, another trip to Bedfordshire awaits when we go to Arlesey Town.  There will be a summary regarding the ladies and the Junior teams in the next report.

It’s match day again and this afternoon Ashford entertain Kidlington FC as we return to league action.  Without repeating ourselves, Kidlington were one of the best teams we faced last season, deservedly knocking us out of the FA Vase and it is a surprise to see that they have made a poor start to their Evostick campaign, even to the extent where their very successful manager has left the club, leaving the experienced Jermain McSporran in temporary charge.

We are under no illusions though and expect a tough match, although Ben Murray will have close to a full squad to select from, the only known absentees being Samad Kazi, away, and Tyler Tobin, out for a few weeks following his fall from a ladder.

It is disappointing to result that the Under-18’s sent out of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday, losing 2-5 at Potters Bar Town but the Ladies last Sunday got their season up and running with an opening day league win over Surrey Eagles by three goals to one.  The girls are at home again tomorrow when the visitors for a Greater London League match will be Balham Panthers, kick-off 2.00 p.m.

Ashford departed the FA Cup for this season on Saturday, losing 1-3 away to Herne Bay.

With crucial motorway closures, the journey to the North Kent coast, with three and a half hours on the bus, did not help the situation but it did not seem to bother Ashford in the first half, as the Tangerines took just 8 minutes to go ahead.  Sparkling work from Jack Beadle led to a pull back to Max Herbert, who found the net for his first ever goal for the Club.

Ashford were without regular keeper Tyler Tobin, injured by falling off a ladder, whilst Samad Kazi, the standout Ashford player against Egham on Bank Holiday Monday was absent on holiday.  Bailey Mummery was also still away and skipper Russell Canderton still injured but Romario Jonas was able to return, forming a generally solid partnership with Will Boye at the back.

In those early stages the absentees were not unduly missed as Ashford piled on the pressure and can only blame themselves for failing to add to the tally.  Herne Bay though had started to come into the game as the half progressed, even though more than one of their supporters were unhappy at half-time with the home performance.

One half sensed that one goal would not be enough and that sense crystallised as Ashford found themselves on the back foot almost from the resumption.  Despite Herne Bay dominating the possession though, Boye and Jonas looked solid, and with Scott Weight, in a defensive mid field position, looking equally strong, there was speculation amongst the Ashford supporters that Herne Bay had given it their best.  That proved not to be the case though as the equaliser arrived with 20 minutes left on the clock when keeper Kav Keedle, who had been playing well, misjudged a long throw and was unable to clear his lines, the ball ending up in the net courtesy of Mark Lovell.

Ashford had started to look strangely out of sorts at times but nevertheless, soon afterwards  the visitors had two golden opportunities to go ahead again.  Both fell to Dan Fleming but Ashford’s usually reliable striker saw his first effort supremely well saved by the home keeper and then put the rebound just wide.  Herne Bay went straight down the field and as another long throw caused problems, the home side found themselves in front for the first time as a half-clearance was volleyed straight in with gusto by Sam Hasler.

Ashford’s general play was screaming out for someone to get on the ball and pass it and it seemed strange that Tommy Brunton, ideal in the role, was held back until basically it was too late.  Kam English had also come on and he certainly had his moments down the left flank but the match was sealed with two minutes on the clock as Ashford were caught on the break, the scorer once again being Hasler

Ashford now have a full week to prepare for the next challenge which will be at home to Kidlington in the League next Saturday.  We thank Herne Bay for their hospitality and also for acknowledging the spotless way we left the dressing room, thanks to Luke Munns who has taken on this role whenever we travel.  This was the message received from Herne Bay:  Just a brief note to say a huge thank you to your team.

I have never seen the away dressing room at our ground looking so tidy after a game.  Our match day assistants are very grateful to your team. They have set an excellent example.

Good luck for the rest of the season.”

Likewise in turn we wish Herne Bay good luck in the next round.

With the 1st Team inactive during the week, the Under-18’s will take the spotlight on Thursday evening when they travel to play the Under-18 side of Potters Bar Town in the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  One day we’ll get a home draw in an FA competition!

 

Our Junior section kick start their season this Sunday with an internal friendly day against our neighbours CB Hounslow.

Then at 14:00 in the Stadium our Ladies play Surrey Eagles FC in their first match of the new season. 

There will be refreshments on offer during the day and the bar will be open from midday.

Come and show your support. 

Fixtures below: 

U7s (5V5)

CB v Ashford Micheal 10am 

U8s (5V5) 

CB Green v Ashford Neil 10am 

CB Whites v Ashford Chris 11am 

U9s (7V7)

4 team mini 7v7 tournament

1- CB 

2- Ashford Andy 

3- Ashford Matt 

4- Ashford Ryan 

1v2 10am 

3v4 10:20am

1v3 10:40am 

4v2 11am

1v4 11:20am

3v2 11:40am 

U10s (7V7)

3 team mini tournament 

1- CB Green 

2- CB White 

3- Ashford Matt 

1v2 12pm 

2v3 12:15

3v1 12:30

2v1 12:45

3v2 1pm

1v3 1:15

U11s (9V9)

CB White v Ashford Kirk 10am

CB Osterley v Ashford Nelson 11:15am (use the 9v9 pitch marked inside the 11v11 pitch) 

CB Green v Ashford Graham 11:15am 

U12s (9v9) 

CB White v Joe 10am (use the 9v9 pitch marked inside the 11v11 pitch) 

 

Ashford travel to Herne Bay FC on Saturday in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, having managed to get the better of Shortwood United in the previous round.

After tackling the cows on the road in deepest Gloucestershire, not to mention the narrow path leading to the football club at Shortwood, we now have to contend with the closure of various motorways in Kent tomorrow to remove the bridge that collapsed last weekend.  Because of that the coach will now be leaving Short Lane at 10.00 a.m. an hour earlier than envisaged to allow for the anticipated delays.  We would like to thank Herne Bay Match Liaison Officer, Peter Guise, for his assistance with travel details and the motor way closure.

The address of the ground is The Altira Park Stadium, Winch’s Field, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 5SG.  In normal circumstances it is a journey of around 96 miles each way, although it may be a little longer tomorrow due to the diversions, so supporters travelling independently probably need to allow plenty of time.

Apart from an FA Youth Cup tie some years ago, we have never met with Herne Bay before but they are members of the Ryman League, Division One South, in which they have finished in 9th and 8th positions respectively, since their promotion from the Kent League as it was then known.  Last season they reached the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup before bowing out to Hastings United following a replay, whilst this season they overcame East Grinstead Town by a solitary goal to reach this stage.

In the League this season, they endured a rather heavy defeat last Saturday at the hands of Faversham Town but suffered two sending-offs, including the keeper, so there were mitigating circumstances.  That has been their only league defeat so far, as they have won one and drawn two of their previous matches.

Should the scores be level after 90 minutes, there is no extra time and we will proceed to a replay at Short Lane on Tuesday evening.  Otherwise there is no match in midweek for the 1st Team.

The Under-18’s threw away a 3-1 lead in the Ryman Youth League Lucas-Fettes Cup on Wednesday when a strong Bedfont Sports team scored three times late on to turn the tie around.  We wish them the best of luck in the next round.  Ashford should not be too disappointed though as in the two matches so far this season, the squad under Mark Oliver certainly looks stronger than in recent seasons and if we stop conceding late goals they should be fine.

Ashford get themselves along the A30 this Tuesday evening to play Hartley Wintney, kick-off 7.30 p.m.

Boosted by a number of ex-Cove players from last season, HW are in something of a purple patch at the moment having reached the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday and having won all six of their league matches to date, although they have not yet played anyone in the top six. 

As a result, the Ash Trees face probably their most difficult match of the season especially coming off the back of a disappointing display at Westfield on Saturday.   Apart from that game though, Ashford themselves have been in superlative league form this season and will certainly not be there as cannon fodder.  Indeed it is an opportunity for manager Ben Murray and his squad to show their mettle this evening and Ashford supporters will hope they do not disappoint.  Hopefully, as many Ashford supporters will get themselves to the game as possible as, doubtless, the home side will have picked up some extra support on the back of their cup run.  Whether they will still be there in January and February remains to be seen but that has no relevance to this evening’s match.

The address of the ground is The Memorial Playing Fields, Green Lane, Hartley Wintney, RG27 8DL.  From the Ashford area, the journey is either, all the way along the A30 until reaching the town, where you turn left at the duck pond at the end of the high street, and then right into Green Lane, or you can use the M3.

Hartley Wintney play in orange so Ashford will be wearing blue this evening.

Whatever happens, the match is unlikely to be as farcical the game at Hartley in November last season, when the match was played throughout in torrential rain for much of the time.  It was doubtful whether or not the it should have started in the first place but there was little doubt by the end, that with the pitch a quagmire and flooded in places, it should never have run the full course.  Neither side managed to break the deadlock on that occasion.

Ashford have boosted their squad today with the signing of the experienced 26 year old Ricky Farnden, who goes straight into the squad for the match at Hartley Wintney on Tuesday evening.  Ricky is a powerful defender, with a penchant for scoring goals and has skippered Hanworth Villa on many occasions in the past.  He has also played for both Egham Town and Bedfont Sports.

Ashford were as poor on Saturday against Westfield as they were good the previous week against Hanworth Villa, and whilst Westfield should be congratulated upon their win, they are hardly a better side than Hanworth Villa, so what went wrong?

Well, manager Murray was a little concerned beforehand with two immense away games coming up this week at Hartley Wintney and then Camberley, that his squad may lose focus for this match and so it proved.  There are no poor sides in the League this season and if a team lets its standards fall for a specific match, as we did on Saturday, then you can lose to the bottom side whoever they may be, let alone a determined and committed side such as Westfield were on Saturday.  Their manager was probably saying the same kind of thing seven days ago when they lost to Sutton Common Rovers.

Neither can injuries be blamed as everyone suffers from them at times although the loss of both regular centre backs in the shape of Russell Canderton and Lewis Taylor did not help.  Ashford had adequate cover in Scott Weight and Max Webb who both dropped back from midfield and whilst both gave their all, they were in unfamiliar positions and it also left the midfield lacking a little bite. With full backs Joe Green and Alex Fisher arguably not quite at the top of their game, the defence was not as solid as it has been for much of the season.

It is always a temptation when you lose to blame the officials.  Mr. O’Hene, in the middle, was one of those vocal referees who shout to players to be careful as they go into tackles and he also treated us to a verbal run down of the clock, minute by minute as the match reached its conclusion.  Do referees not realise how off putting that is?  He also seemed to miss a blatant foul on Weight just prior to Westfield’s second goal but controversial decisions even themselves out and we should not blame him.  He wasn’t the worst we have seen.

It was simply a sub-standard performance, apart from the opening 15 minutes which saw two excellent finishes by Mark Bitmead and Bailey Mummery which seemed to give Ashford a commanding, although clearly not unassailable, lead.  Westfield’s first goal soon afterwards seemed to come out of the blue a little but it changed the match with the home side going from no-hopers to a team that suddenly sensed there might be something in the game for them.  The second goal could have been disallowed but, as it was, the effort took a tremendous deflection and gave Tyler Tobin no chance.

In the second half Ashford could not get going again and Westfield’s long ball game worked as they got a third goal more or less on the hour mark, to turn the game on its head.  Ashford still had 30 minutes to do something about the situation but Westfield were in no mood to surrender their hard won lead and only rarely were they seriously troubled.  One or two excellent stops from their keeper and a gradual deterioration in their passing game, uusually so excellent did not help Ashford’s cause, and as the visitors chased the game, it was Westfield who could have increased their lead.

It’s hardly all doom and gloom though.  It is likely, prior to the start of the season, that the Tangerines would happily have settled for 8 wins out of 9, and with Camberley only able to draw, and Horley losing at AFC Hayes, not too much ground was lost although wins for both Hanworth and Epsom have tightened things up.

Ashford now travel to Hartley Wintney on Tuesday when the kick-off time is 7.30 p.m.  Like everyone else in the League, we greatly congratulate Hartley upon winning in the FA Cup on Saturday at Merthyr and given their previous form this season, we will be going to the Memorial Playing Fields as underdogs.  That will suit Ashford as it takes the pressure off but more on that later in the week.

Before closing, three members of the Ashford family are to be congratulated this week.  Firstly Daryl Watson, who has been selling the raffle tickets and team cards at Ashford for the last 15 years at least celebrated his 50th birthday last Friday.  He does a vital job for the club week in, week out, and we wish Daryl a very happy birthday and hope he enjoyed the surprise meal planned for him on Saturday.

Secondly, congratulations also go to Chad Beadle, who became a grandfather on Thursday when daughter Jenny was delivered of a baby girl, Isabella, who weighed in at 7lb 13 oz.  Congratulations to all concerned and finally, well done to Dan Butler's daughter who has achieved a degree.

Ashford find themselves on the road tomorrow, albeit not too far, when they travel to Westfield FC.

Westfield find themselves in 13th place in the table at the moment and come into the match on the back of a possibly unanticipated defeat, 1-2, at Sutton Common Rovers last Saturday, although, prior to that, they had fought out a tough 1-1 draw at home to Camberley.  Ashford are fully aware that a tough match is on the cards.

Last season the Tangerines won 2-1 at Westfield, courtesy of goals from Alex Fisher and Rob Curtis but Westfield had their revenge at Short Lane, winning by 3 goals to 1, Ashford’s coming from Samad Kazi.  Ashford also managed a 3-1 victory in the Surrey Senior Cup, with another two from Kazi and one from Dan Fleming.

The address of the ground is Woking Park, Kingfield Road, Woking, GU22 9BA and you enter through the Leisure Centre, where parking is available, opposite Woking FC.

Good luck to BA who entertain top of the table West Essex FC in the Middlesex County League and to all the junior sides on Sunday.  The Ladies are without a match this weekend.

The fledgling Under-18 side went out of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday evening, losing 0-2 at Northwood.  Frankly they only have themselves to blame after dominating possession throughout the second half but wasting so many opportunities to score.  The squad possibly just needs to settle down as there are some good players in it and they play good football.  It’s back to the League next week, with Ashford at home to Camberley U18 on Wednesday evening, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  Good luck to Northwood in the next round in which they will entertain St. Albans City Youth.

 

This evening (Thursday), the Under-18’s make the short but not always easy trip to Northwood FC, in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

In the past, Ashford have come mighty close to reaching the 1st Round Proper, when most of the Football League clubs enter the competition but not in recent seasons, where our showing has bordered on the dismal.  This season though, it was clear from the one league match played so far, that this year’s crop, under the management of Nick Bailey, have something about them, even though they surrendered a 4-1 lead at home to Wealdstone to only share the points in the end, a fortnight ago.

Northwood are fellow members of the Central Division of the Ryman Youth League and they sustained a defeat in their opening league game at home to Hayes & Yeading by 3 goals to 1, although Hayes & Y are always very strong at this level, so that may not be much of a pointer.  Northwood have also lost in the Lucas- Fettes Cup (which is the League Cup) to Dorking Wanderers.  The match has to be settled this evening one way or another.

The prize for the winners is a 2nd Qualifying Round home match against St. Albans City.

The address of Northwood’s ground is Chestnut Avenue, Northwood, HA6 1HR.  As you go down Chestnut Avenue, which is a right turn off the main road after having just gone under a railway bridge, the ground entrance is not easy to spot but it is a left hand turn along a narrow path down to the club.  There is ample parking.

Ashford Ladies delivered a reminder of their dominating football in this one-sided affair against London Phoneix at The Robert Parker Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The visitors could not handle the speed, precision and decisiveness of Ashford from early on when on-fire striker, Ashley Cheatley recorded a hatrick in the opening five minutes of the game.

The was a rare moment of relief for London Phoenix as twenty minutes of the game went by without another goal, before Lavana struck just shy of the half hour mark after tireless work on the wing just before captain Vicky James beat the offside trap to slide ball underneath the goalkeeper.

Soon after the second half kicked off Cheatley scored her second hatrick of the game demonstrating such a ruthless eye for goal.

Chealtley was through on goal after round three players, only to be brought down just before she shot. The referee awarded a penalty in which James tucked away convincingly.

Player of the match Irisha Smith worked tirelessly all game creating a number of chances and got her reward after the hour mark when she cut inside the defender from 20 yard and firing into the top corner out of the reach of the oppositions goalkeeper.

The pick of the goals was soon to come when the a cleared cross bounced kindly for James who scored a remarkable volley whcih looped over the goalkeeper – this was James’ first hatrick in Ashford colours.

Claire Samuels added another soon after and Cheatley rounded off proceedings in the last minuted for Ashford Ladies to record a 13-0 victory over London Phoenix.

Credit to the opposition who were a great sport despite the scoreline and hour long journey.

Ashford have now scored 46 goals in their opening four matches, with maximum points.  There doesn't seem to be a match for the Ladies this coming Sunday but on Sunday 4 October, the girls will be at home again, to Old Actonians, kick-off 2.00 p.m.

Ashford once again found their best form on Saturday, beating close rivals Hanworth Villa by 4 goals to 1 on a beautiful sunny afternoon at Short Lane in front of an audience of more than 200.

Ashford knew this match was likely to present their toughest match of the season so far in the shape of the unbeaten Villa and were clearly ready for it, enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the earlier stages.  They thought they had scored the opening goal some 25 minutes in when Max Webb got up to power home a header but it was disallowed for a push that none of us on the stand side saw.  It was later confirmed by Ashford Chairman Dave Baker that there had indeed been a push albeit slight.

It did not take too long though before Ashford were able to go ahead when a slide rule through pass from the excellent Bailey Mummery saw Samad Kazi in the clear and a deft finish sent it past the invariably efficient Villa keeper, Terry Buss, who had already denied Ashford on several occasions.

Tyler Tobin at the other end also had to be sharp just before half-time but the match had barely resumed in the second half when Ashford were awarded a penalty for a trip in the area.  Mark Bitmead made light work of scoring, to give Ashford a two goal cushion.

Ashford soon increased the lead again from the penalty spot when Mummery was fouled as he weaved his way in from the goal line, having made another characteristic break from his full back position.  This one was more controversial as Villa felt the ball had been played first, with the result that it took a little time to restore order.  It did not worry Bitmead though as he calmly sent the ball past Buss to make it 3-0.

Play had been more even in the second period with Villa forcing a series of corners.  Ashford defended stoutly though and the Villains then handicapped themselves when they had a player sent off for a second caution.  The second tackle did not look horrendous by any means but having been booked already for quite a bad foul, the player concerned was perhaps unwise to commit himself to the tackle in question.

They are not though the type of side to lay down and there was a brief period of anxiety in the Short Lane camp on 82 minutes when Jesse Atiase pulled one back with a fine effort giving Tobin no chance.

Ashford though are fast becoming a resolute side and it was Scott Elgar, receiving the ball from a short free kick, who made his way into the area without being challenged and stabbing the ball past Buss for the final goal of the game.

Once again there is no midweek 1st Team match but the Tangerines now face four tough away matches, starting next Saturday at Westfield, followed quickly by a midweek visit to Hartley Wintney and then Camberley and Colliers Wood United.

Ashford had a number of junior teams and their parents present yesterday and we thank them for their attendance.  At least one visitor was highly appreciative of the fare on offer, served up by the lovely Louise and Charlotte and we hope that some of them at least will become regular supporters.  It did not go unnoticed either that virtually all the Villa players and several supporters stayed on at the club for a long time afterwards, which was great to see and they were very welcome.

There is more football on offer at Short Lane this afternoon when Ashford Ladies take on Phoenix Ladies in the Greater London Women’s League, kicking off at 2.00 pm.  Will they be able to improve upon last week’s 18 goals?

Unfortunately British Airways suffered a close 1-2 defeat away to Kensington Dragons yesterday in the Alec Smith Middlesex County League Cup.  Next Saturday they will be at home to West Essex FC in a league match.

Ashford face what is likely to be their toughest test in the League so far this season on Saturday, when they look forward to the visit of neighbours Hanworth Villa.

Villa seem to be rejuvenated this season after only being saved from relegation last season by the transfer of AFC Croydon Athletic to another league but that is all in the past now and they will arrive at Short Lane unbeaten in the League all season.  The only points they have dropped came in their most recent outing when they drew at Chessington with neither side able to break the deadlock.  Their stand-out victory has been a 6-0 home demolition of Windsor.  They will have been disappointed to lose at Berkhamsted in the FA Cup but made progress in the FA Vase with a solitary goal victory against Desborough Town and will play at home to Oxhey Jets in the next round.  It should also be noted that Villa have conceded just the one goal in the League so far this season.

Our two matches against each other last season quite frankly were damp squids for the losers.  We gave probably our worst performance of the season in losing 0-3 at Hanworth, even though two of the goals came quite late, whilst here at Short Lane right at the end of the season, Hanworth had a dispirited look about them as they lost 0-2, both goals coming from Samad Kazi. 

We welcome any number of our junior teams and their parents this afternoon and thank you all for supporting the club.  If you enjoy the football on offer please come back and consider becoming a regular supporter.

Tuesday’s win maintained our position at the top of the table, although it means little at this stage.  Hot on our heels, as well as Hanworth, are Epsom & Ewell, Hartley Wintney, who seem to have gone goal mad so far plus Camberley, Horley, Colliers Wood and others.  We face some difficult away matches in October including visits to both Camberley and Hartley Wintney but we seem to be well prepared at the moment with a full squad and some great football being played in the last two home games, especially on Tuesday when the margin of victory over Farnham was arguably more convincing than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.

There is no midweek match for the 1st Team this week but the Under-18’s will be travelling to Northwood on Thursday evening in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup.  We have made little impression on that competition in recent times but this year’s new look team look to have something about them and we will be hopeful of progress.

Ashford Ladies, after scoring 30+ goals in their opening three league matches will be at home in the Greater London Womens's League on Sunday to London Phoenix, here at Short Lane, kicking off at 2.00 p.m. and will welcome your support.  A nil-nil draw seems unlikely!

British Airways are away on Saturday in the Middlesex County League in the Alex Smith Premier Division Cup to Kensington Dragons, who play at the Linford Christie Stadium.

Finally a big thank you to Mark Tobin and his gang for their work on the fences this week.  Hopefully all the work will be completed behind the goal in time for today’s match, with all the posts for the new fencing going in on Thursday, with the job intended for completion on Friday.

Ashford manager Ben Murray demanded a reaction from his players after the FA Cup defeat at Hoddesdon on Saturday and despite the apparent closeness of the scoreline, he got just that as Ashford gave another impressive home performance that would have seen them win by more than one goal apart from Farnham keeper Matt Petts who performed heroics for his club especially in the first half.

That said, Farnham themselves when in possession played some excellent football as well and one would imagine that any neutral spectators would have enjoyed a match full of fine football for much of the time.  It was only in the last ten minutes or so that the game finally became a little more ragged as Farnham chased a second equaliser.

Ashford had the returning Tyler Tobin back in goal whilst Samad Kazi was on the bench after his protracted absence.  Dan Fleming was not quite fit to return but it is hoped he will be raring to go on Saturday.

Despite the football on offer, there were no goals in the first half, despite any number of close calls but the second period sprang to life immediately as straight from the kick off Jack Beadle fed Mark Bitmead and Ashford’s leading scorer made no mistake.  The goal was scored on just 22 seconds.

The immediate feeling was that Ashford had finally made the breakthrough and that supporters could now settle down and hopefully enjoy a few more goals.  Farnham though had other ideas and with the game now more even, equalised soon afterwards, when Luke Whiddett provided a tidy finish that gave Tobin little chance.

Suddenly it was game on but Ashford did not have to wait too long to go ahead again as Tommy Brunton put Jack Beadle in and his immaculate finish gave Petts no chance.

Both sides continued to look good in possession although it was noticeable that Farnham were now playing the long ball more often.  The two defences held out although there was a hearts in the mouth moment for Ashford when Lewis Taylor clashed with an opponent in the penalty area but referee Desai waved play on, saying afterwards that in his view it had been shoulder to shoulder.  From the other end of the field it certainly looked a close call.  The decision not to award a penalty led to a flurry of dissent and cautions, the match being held up for some time.  It was not in the visitors’ interest though to waste valuable time and the final whistle came soon afterwards with no further incident.

It does seem to the writer that the CCL is now more competitive than ever.  Although one would not have anticipated as such when the fixtures were issued, Ashford’s opponents to date have largely been clubs currently in the bottom half of the table and yet every one, with possibly one exception, has looked a decent side.  Although it will decide nothing at this early stage, Ashford have a big test on Saturday when they look forward to the visit of Hanworth Villa who themselves are unbeaten in league matches to date, only dropping points when they drew at Chessington & Hook United a week or so back.  There will be a preview of that gamelater in the week.

The Under-18’s are without a match this week, again, but we should finish by congratulating Hartley Wintney upon their FA Cup replay win at Fleet last night by four goals to nil, a victory which has secured them a trip to Wales to meet Merthyr Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round.

 

It is time to concentrate back upon the League on Tuesday evening as Ashford entertain Farnham Town at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 pm.

Tyler Tobin is expected to be back in goal for the Tangerines, with Samad Kazi also in contention, as manager Ben Murray has a strong squad from which to pick his side.  As a result of their cup exploits, Ashford now find themselves with additional midweek away fixtures in October, so it is important to pick up as many points as possible when at home.

Visitors Farnham though are unlikely to be an easy touch, getting the better of the Tangerines at their own ground towards the end of last season, and indeed, being the only side to inflict a league defeat upon Ashford in their last 14 such matches.  They are currently 14th in the table with two wins and two defeats from their five league matches to date.  The two wins have been substantial ones, by 4 goals to nil at home to Spelthorne and 3 goals to nil at Cove whilst they have lost to Badshot Lea, 1-2 at home and Guildford City, also 1-2, away.  The solitary draw was a home game against Chessington which finished one apiece.

Last season, as mentioned, Ashford lost 0-1 at Farnham but managed to win at home by three goals to one, the goals coming from the three B’s, Bitmead, Brunton and Beadle, all of whom will be in contention to start the match tomorrow.

Ashford Ladies did rather well on Sunday, knocking in 18 goals to win 18-0 at Club Langley.  They have scored 36 goals in their opening three matches and it does now rather look as if they have been placed in too low a division by the Greater London Women’s League.  Sadly the ladies web set is not bang up to date so we can’t bring you the details of the scorers but doubtless that will follow.

Our partners British Airways FC won again, this time by three goals to two, at home to CB Hounslow Reserves and now have four wins from six and stand 5th in the Middlesex County League Premier Division table, three points below the leaders, Hillingdon FC, with a game in hand.  Goal scorers were J.Kalejaiye(2) and S.McCormick.

Back to Ashford, and if he plays tomorrow, it will be Tommy Brunton’s 100th competitive match for the club.  Tyler Tobin also recently reached that milestone while Mark Bitmead needs three more for his 200th game in Ashford’s colours.

Although it had not been publicised before the match, Ashford knew beforehand that they would be going into their FA Cup match at Hoddesdon Town on Saturday without three key players in regular keeper Tyler Tobin (unavailable), Samad Kazi (unavailable) and striker Dan Fleming (not quite recovered from a knock the previous week).  With reserve keeper Jake Tayler also unavailable, Ashford managed to sign Loughborough University keeper Jamie Kiff, just in time to register him for the match. 

After an early flourish from the home side, the match settled down into a fairly even affair but Ashford gradually seemed to be assuming a degree of control, with Jack Beadle and Joey Robson in particular, combining well down the right flank at times.  Both sides could have taken the lead and Ashford thought they had done just that when Mark Bitmead crashed a free kick against the bar from long range and Bradley Wainwright put the rebound into the net, only to be given offside, a dubious decision, to say the least, sadly one of many throughout the match.  Wainwright was not in an offside position at the moment Bitmead hit the ball.

Ashford did score soon afterwards though on the half-hour mark and this time there could be no argument as Scott Elgar made space for himself and smashed home a shot from some 30 yards giving the home keeper no chance.

There was no addition to the scoreline before halftime but soon after the re-start it all went wrong for the visitors in the space of two minutes.  A header from the seemingly unmarked Tom Wade at the far post enabled the home side to equalise and two minutes later they were awarded a penalty when Kiff was adjudged to have fouled his man, yet another controversial decision that went against the Tangerines.  Hoddesdon's Ed Taylor though made no mistake.

The home side were then largely in control for some 25 minutes restricting Ashford to a few long hopeful efforts.  They did not add to their goal tally though and the game changed again when Connor Scully was given a straight red card for a tackle that could only be described as disgraceful, as he launched himself violently at Wainwright with both feet off the ground.  The referee at least got that one right.

Dominance of possession turned to Ashford as Hoddesdon changed their tactics to defend their lead, and whilst Ashford now looked more threatening, it cannot be denied that Hoddesdon did the job well, assisted by some ridiculous time wasting, totally ignored by the official.  A snap shot from skipper Russell Canderton which just missed, was the closest to a goal.

As so often happens with the visitors having no option other than to throw men forward, Hoddesdon broke away for a third goal close to the end, scored by O’Connor, to seal Ashford's fate.

The match was refereed by yet another very young looking official who seemed out of his depth and the abuse and mickey taking at the end by the Hoddesdon management and players,  was totally unnecessary and quite frankly left a sour taste and certainly let their club down.

Ashford will soon put this behind them though and will look forward to meeting Farnham Town on Tuesday evening, back at Short Lane, for a 7.45 pm kick-off and with a full squad.

 

The League will be put to one side on Saturday when Ashford travel to Hoddesdon Town, members of the Spartan South Midlands League, in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup, having managed to see off the challenge of two United Counties League sides, Wellingborough Town and AFC Kempston Rovers.

Hoddesdon beat both Sawbridgeworth Town and Romford (after a replay and penalties) to reach this stage and they are currently in 13th place in their table, having won two and lost two of their five league matches to date.

The address of the ground is Lowfield, Park View, Hoddesdon, EN11 8PX  (Tel:  01992 463133).  The journey is just under 49 miles via the M25 and the A1(M).  At the last time of checking there were just a few spaces left on the coach (£10 per head) which is leaving Short Lane at midday sharp.  The nearest railway station is Broxbourne.

Hoddesdon were founded back in 1879 and are the third oldest club in Hertfordshire.  Their main claim to fame though is probably the fact that they won the first ever FA Vase competition back in 1975, beating Epsom & Ewell in the Final by 2 goals to 1.  Also they were (are?) renowned for producing a massive programme that took several awards in the National Programme Competition over a number of years.

There is no extra time tomorrow, so if the scores are level after 90 minutes, it’s all back to Short Lane on Tuesday evening when there will have to be a definite result.  We do not know who the winners will be facing in the next round.

If there is a definite result on Saturday, the 1st Team will resume their league programme on Tuesday evening, at home to Farnham Town.

The Under-18’s in their first competitive match drew at home to Wealdstone U18 on Wednesday evening, four goals apiece.  In one sense, it was a disappointing result for Ashford as they were 3-0 and then 4-1 up, before allowing a very useful Wealdstone side back into the match, and in the end it was Ashford who were more pleased to hear the final whistle!  That said, most of the lads have not played in such a high standard competition before, being fresh from Sunday football and they acquitted themselves pretty well overall, with some deadly finishing in the first half.

The next match for Ashford Ladies is on Sunday 13 September, when they will travel to Club Langley FC, in the Greater London Women’s League, whose ground address is  Hawksbrook Lane, Beckenham, BR3 3SR.  Ashford have hit 19 goals to ensure maximum points in their opening two matches to go top of the table.

Our partners British Airways FC will be playing at Short Lane tomorrow (Saturday) at home to CB Hounslow United Reserves in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League.  BA have made a good start to their league campaign, with three wins and a draw from their opening five matches and are nicely tucked in at 5th place in their bid for promotion at the end of this season.

 

The attendance was down on Saturday which was a shame as those present witnessed 45 minutes of football from Ashford that could genuinely be described as scintillating; it was that good at times as they beat Badshot Lea by 4 goals to nil.

Badshot Lea came to play football and that is exactly what they did throughout the 90 minutes but Ashford looked unstoppable in the first half, running in all four goals and threatening to run riot.

It took 10 minutes for Mark Bitmead to open the scoring, when he sent in a low curling free kick past Ashley West in the away goal who was making his debut for Badshot.  The quality of football was incredible at times for a Step 5 side and the second goal on 19 minutes from Max Webb was the icing on the cake as the ball was passed around incisively with at least five players involved, before Webb slotted home with aplomb.

On 25 minutes it was Dan Fleming with a lob over the keeper, as he came out.  It was Tommy Brunton who who sent in the defence splitting pass in the first place.  He was fouled as he did it but referee Smith played a superb advantage and was entitled to give himself a metaphorical pat on the back.

On the half-hour mark it was four, as Brunton got in the act, slamming home after Bitmead’s effort had been blocked on the line.

The second half was different.  With the match effectively lost, the visitors deserve great credit for keeping their heads up and preventing any further goals going in.  Ashford seemed content to hold on to the lead and some rather indifferent finishing at times did not help, coupled with some excellent saves from  West in the away goal.

Mr. Smith having done so well with the advantage in the first half, rather let himself down in the second period when he pulled play back for a free kick to the Tangerines just as Mark Bitmead was about to roll the ball into an empty net but this was one day when we could afford to be charitable and both sides agreed that, overall, he enjoyed an good afternoon.

Manager Murray, rotating his squad with some finesse each week, had another strong bench available and will probably rotate again next Saturday when we have our latest break from league fixtures as we travel to Hoddesdon Town in the FA Cup.  More on that one later in the week.

On Wednesday evening, the Under-18’s should finally get their Ryman Youth League season underway after two postponements, when they entertain Wealdstone U18 at Short Lane, kick-off 7.45 pm.  The Ladies had another big win on Sunday and we will bring news on that as soon as it is available.  Our partners British Airways FC also had another good win on Saturday, winning 3-2 away to Sporting Hackney.

Ashford look forward to welcoming Badshot Lea to Short Lane on Saturday I another important Premier Division match.

Having watched them at Camberley on Tuesday evening, it is a little difficult to understand why the visitors are still winless this season.  There is no doubt that they have a talented side who try to play good football.  They played down the slope at Camberley in the first half and had by far the better chances but they couldn’t make them count which was their downfall as Camberley’s power play down the gradient in the second period gradually allowed them to get on top and eventually win the match.

Ashford have a strong squad to pick from and the confidence that comes with seven straight wins will be an advantage but it is likely to be a close affair, probably very different to Monday’s encounter with Chertsey when their tactics generally were to defend and try to hit us on the break, which just failed to succeed in the end. 

The FA Cup needs to be put to the side for the moment but just to remind supporters that we do have a coach running to Hoddesdon next week and you need to get your name on the list on the notice board if you want to be on it.  With several slots gone, at the time of writing we have just 20 places left.

Finally a special welcome back to John Palmer, who is still playing and is also a member of the Management Staff at Badshot Lea.  John played in 116 competitive matches for Ashford and will always be remembered as a member of the side that beat Woking in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup in 2009, when he scored the winning goal.

Ashford now know their opponents in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, as Hoddesdon Town from the Spartan South Midlands League won what sounds an incredibly tight match last night against Romford, eventually triumphing by 5 goals to 4 on penalties, following 120 minutes football last night which was unable to separate the two sides.

Hoddesdon have already confirmed on Twitter that the match will be on Saturday 12 September at their own ground (their previous home match was played at Ware FC, presumably down to cricket although we don’t know).

We are considering a coach or mini-buses for supporters but only if they are self-funding.  There will be further details on this site shortly.

In the meantime we have an important league match at home to Badshot Lea on Saturday and that needs to be the focal point for the moment.  A full preview will be put on the site on Friday.

FROM THE ATFC LADIES WEB SITE

RESULT: Old Actonians 1 Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies 11

Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies won their first game of the season running out 11-1 winners in their first league game at the Riverside Boathouse in Chiswick.

With players still away, the new look Ashford side had players drafted in for their debuts for the club such as Rebecca Thurlow and Judith Densu.

The Ladies got off to a great start in the first minute of the game when they won a corner whipped in by the skipper V James and powerfully headed in by Lucy Easton.

Ashley Cheatley grabbed her first of the game when she raced through and found the bottom corner of the goal.

Cheatley raced through again ten minutes later, rounding the goalkeeper, only to be brought down and awarded a penalty. James stepped up and decisively scored from the spot.

The remainder of the first half followed in similar finish with Cheatley getting her tally up to 6 for the game, James grabbing another and Lavana Neufville scoring also.

The Ladies went in at half time 10-0 up.

The second half was a different game however and Old Acotnians showed more fight belief in this half.

Cheatley grabbed her seventh goal of the game just before Lisa Penteado grabbed a cancellation goal for the home side.

A great result for the ladies beginning their campaign in the GLWFL Div 3 South and a sign of intent for the fixtures to come.

Player of the Match - Ashley Cheatley

Our 1st Round Surrey Senior Cup match at home to Beckenham Town has been arranged for Tuesday 27 October, kick-off 7.45 p.m. at Short Lane.

The winners will be away to Knaphill or Camberley Town in the 2nd Round

There was little doubt that, over the full 90 minutes, Ashford deserved to win their ninth consecutive league match, beating visitors Farnham Town by three goals to one.  Indeed, it would not have been a travesty on the balance of chances created, had Ashford at least doubled their scoring tally and yet considerable credit goes to Farnham Town, who, when in possession, played some neat football, belying their lowly position in the table, and they succeeded in scoring against Ashford, the first side in five league matches to do so, and may have scored more as Ashford became a little careless at times.

Ashford were without Dan Fleming, injured, whilst Rob Curtis took his turn on the bench along with the returning  Samad Kazi and club captain Russell Canderton who at the moment cannot reclaim his place from young central defender Kieran Wright, who is growing in maturity match by match.

Ashford looked determined at the start and it took just eight minutes to take the lead when Mark Bitmead, slipped in by Joe Hughes, made no mistake.  Although Farnham sometimes looked dangerous on the break, Ashford continued to dominate possession but thanks to some determined defending, along with some weak shooting, which rather undermined the impressive approach work at times, there was no change to the scoreline before half-time.  Joe Hughes had come closest to increasing the lead, hitting a fierce low drive that hit the foot of the post and rebounded to safety.  The effort deserved a better reward.  So many efforts this season have hit the woodwork and come out again that maybe we ought to think about getting square goalposts back again.

It did not take too long though in the second half before the lead was doubled.  This time it was Tommy Brunton whose snap shot gave the keeper no chance.  That might have been the signal for the floodgates to open but Farnham had other ideas and having forced a corner, the unmarked Jack Dillon powered home an unstoppable header to give them a lifeline.

There was a period of anxiety in the Ashford ranks but Farnham did not often look as if they would achieve any greater success and the result was sealed when Jack Beadle, scoring in his fourth consecutive match, knocked the ball home to make it 3-1.

The Chad Beadle "Ashford Man of the Match" award this time went to Tommy Brunton, whose goal was a highlight of the game.

Other results saw both Cove and Molesey maintaining their challenge as both won but Spelthorne surprisingly lost again, this time by three goals to nil at home to Epsom & Ewell.  It was their first home defeat since March 2013, a wonderful record under the managership of ex-Ashford favourite Paul Johnson.

There are two midweek games this week.  This evening (Monday) the Under-18’s are away to Hayes & Yeading U18 in the 1st Round of the Lucas Fettes Cup.  It will be a tough ask as the Under-18’s continue to make their way through a set of demanding early season fixtures.  The match is to be played at the home of Bedfont Sports FC., where both teams can expect an excellent surface.

On Tuesday the 1st Team are at home again, this time in the 2nd Round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, to give it its full name, against Division One side CB Hounslow United.  CB have found themselves in the lower reaches of the table in recent seasons but hopefully it will not be too long now before they move into their new home in Green Lane, Hounslow, when they can surely expect an exciting future.  This season they have shown an improvement and will arrive at Short Lane for the first ever competitive match between the clubs, in 12th place out of 16 in the Division One table, having won two league matches and lost four.  After an excellent win at Epsom Athletic, they have slipped in their last two league matches, losing 2-4 at Sheerwater and then 1-6 at home to Cobham on Saturday.

They have already visited Short Lane in pre-season and in a match played on the back pitch were good enough to beat the Ashford side that played that evening by the only goal of the match.  Kick-off on Tuesday is 7.45 p.m. and, if necessary, there will be extra time and penalties to ensure there is a winner on the night.  The draw for the 3rd Round has not yet been made but amongst other 2nd Round ties, all being played on Tuesday 14 October (our match has been brought forward because CB have a County Cup match on that evening) there are some interesting games, not least the clash between Camberley Town and Molesey.  Other ties include Bedfont Sports at home to Cove whilst Spelthorne Sports travel to Frimley Green.

Finally for the moment a big thank you to Phil Marshall and his assistants for organising the Race Night on Saturday and thank you to everyone who attended what was an excellent evening.

 

Ashford are back at home on Saturday when they will entertain Farnham Town FC in the League, kicking off at 3.00 p.m.

Farnham are currently in 17th place in the table, with one win and seven defeats from their twelve matches to date.  The victory was over Guildford City, but prior to Tuesday they drew with both Mole Valley at home and away at Raynes Park Vale.  We needed them to do us a favour on Tuesday at home to Cove but they were defeated by six goals to two.  Neither club appears to have produced a report on their respective web site as yet so we don’t know anything about the match but it is worth remembering that Farnham scored one more goal against Cove than we did.

Farnham were very much the side to beat when Ashford first entered the CCL in 1990.  In that first season as a senior club we went unbeaten for several games but Farnham were the club who inflicted our first ever senior defeat when they beat us on their own ground on 15 September 1990 by one goal to nil.  Not content with that, they then became the first ever club to win at Short Lane in December of that year, again by one goal to nil.  We met regularly after that until the last league match against them in April 2000, when a goal from Des Vertannes was good enough to secure all three points for Ashford.  Since then we have only met once and that was in the Semi-Final of the Aldershot Senior Cup in March 2012, when we managed to win by three goals to one, thanks to two from Kofi Lockhart-Adams and one from Perry Luckins, now at Spelthorne, along incidentally with Harry Driver who has recently joined them

Talking of the Aldershot Senior Cup, we are again playing in that competition and have received a bye in the 1st Round and will be at home to Ash United in the 2nd Round, to be played on Tuesday 4 November.

Following tomorrow’s match, we are at home again on Tuesday in the 2nd Round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup against CB Hounslow United.  This match has been brought forward from its first date due to CB having a County Cup match on the original evening. 

The Under-18’s were unsuccessful in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday, eventually going down by six goals to one against a strong Met Police side.  Our scorer was Jamie Walters.  On the positive side, the lads never gave up and despite the scoreline are not too far away from developing into a decent side.  They have had some exceptionally tough opponents in their opening three matches but there is some fantastic pace in the team and they will soon start to win matches.

They are due to visit Hayes & Yeading next week in the Ryman Youth Cup (the Lucas Fettes Cup) but our opponents apparently have no venue available so it may (and only may, at the moment) be played here.  The web site will confirm as soon as possible.

Our thanks go to Alan Cox who this week has donated a complete set of new chairs for the club, including some very nice leather ones for the new boardroom cabin which will be arriving on 1 October, as a gift from Vice President Bob Lewis.  Our thanks go to Bob for this great gesture and also to Dan Butler, Simon Munns and others who have helped to demolish the old green building that had reached the end of its useful life.  Hopefully our visitors on Saturday will forgive us that the existing board room will be a bit squashed.

Finally, don't forget that we have a Race Night at the Club on Saturday evening, when everyone is welcome.  The players will be in attendance and you may make a few bob if you are lucky!

Ashford’s only midweek game this week features the Under-18’s who, this evening (Wednesday) will be entertaining Metropolitan Police U18 in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup, both sides having received a bye in the Preliminary Round.  The match is at Short Lane and kicks off at 7.45 p.m. and there has to be a result on the night.

The winners will be at home to either Marlow U18 or Slough Town U18 in the 2nd Qualifying Round.  They also play this evening.

Met Police play in the Central Division of the Ryman Youth League and currently sit in 3rd place in the table having drawn 2-2 at home to Leatherhead and won 5-0 away at Crawley Down in their two league matches to date.  After playing well in their opening match against Wingate & Finchley, Ashford suffered a heavy defeat last week against Hayes & Yeading and will need to show considerable improvement if they are to make progress tonight.

In the Combined Counties League last night, although possibly not unexpected, results did not go Ashford’s way with both Molesey and Cove recording emphatic wins against Knaphill and Farnham respectively.  Ashford remain in 2nd place but Cove have opened up a four point margin at the top, albeit they have played a game more.  Spelthorne Sports play away this evening at Colliers Wood United.

The Club’s thanks go to Alan Cox who has arranged for a delivery of new chairs to the club.  They arrived yesterday and the clubhouse will be a little cramped until we can dispose of the old ones.  We also have some exceptionally nice leather chairs for the new boardroom which will arrive on 1 October.

If anyone can help this evening from 4.00 p.m. to demolish the old green building which has served us well but has now reached the end of its working life, you will be very welcome.  Please bing any demolition tools you have, such as axes and sledgehammers etc.

Ashford made it eight league wins in a row on Saturday beating Horley Town on their own excellent ground by four goals to nil.

After a first half that could have seen the Tangerines scoring more than the two they did, it was the home side who got on top for quite a while in the second period but they had no fire power on the day and two more goals in the final ten minutes ensured a comfortable victory for the visitors in the end.

In front of the League Chairman, Ashford produced some excellent football in the first half and whilst Horley looked dangerous once or twice, the level of possession enjoyed by Ashford led to them deservedly going in front on 27 minutes, albeit that the goal came from a fairly soft penalty.  There was no doubt that Mark Bitmead was the recipient of something of a shove and the referee could not be faulted in his application of the law but it wasn’t a huge shove and it is a fair bet that on another occasion a penalty might not have been awarded.   Bitmead took it and duly scored into the bottom right corner.  On the overall run of play, it was no more than the visitors warranted and when Bitmead scored again four minutes later, one wondered if the floodgates may open.  His name isn’t to hand but Horley’s keeper kept the home side in the match on several occasions, denying both Conor Moody and Bitmead’s fierce efforts, to name just two.

Ashford keeper Tyler Tobin was less busy but still had to be sharp on a few occasions but, as we have come to expect, he once again gave a flawless performance.  In the meantime Joe Hughes had come on for Dan Fleming, suffering from a knock.

The second half was different.  It was bound to be the case that the home side would be looking to fight back and they did so with gusto for quite a while.  Ashford were suddenly sloppy in possession and Horley should have pulled one back when a misplaced pass from Tommy Brunton, who otherwise played well, put Horley’s leading scorer Ashley Nadesan in on goal.  Fortunately for the visitors, his attempt to swerve the ball round Tobin went wrong and well wide.   Other efforts though were well saved by Tobin whilst Jack Mullan and Kieran Wright, ably assisted by full backs Elliott Jones and Alex Fisher, looked solid at the back for the visitors.

It was something of a surprise to Ashford's ever growing support when the buccaneering Moody was substituted but Ashford still made chances of their own and another excellent run from Bitmead had seen Brunton knock his effort just over the bar.  Joe Hughes and inevitably Bitmead also went close.  The match was sealed with ten minutes left and once again it was Bitmead, who thus completed his hatrick and was the well deserved recipient of the Chad Beadle “Ashford man of the match award”. Hughes in the meantime had been showing some fantastic skills on the ball, and had been unlucky not to notch himself.  Max Webb was the unwitting recipient of a clump on the head from Horley’s big central attacker in a curious and  isolated incident that inevitably saw the offender dismissed, leaving Ashford to finish matters off with the fourth goal in stoppage time, Jack Beadle scrambling it home to set his own personal Ashford record of scoring in three consecutive matches (four if you count the Hanworth Villa friendly).

With the news that Spelthorne had finally dropped some points, having shared a goalless draw with Camberley and that Molesey had lost against Hartley Wintney, the win was good enough to see Ashford nicely tucked in, in second spot behind Cove, who won again, beating Bedfont Sports by two goals to nil.

In other news, Ashford have added to their squad by signing Joe Green from Knaphill FC.

There is no midweek 1st Team match so the next outing will be on Saturday 27 September when Ashford will entertain Farnham Town, who could do themselves and Ashford a big favour on Tuesday evening when they entertain Cove in a local derby.  The Under-18’s, doubtless keen to improve upon last week’s display, are at home on Wednesday evening when they will welcome Met Police U18 in the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

It’s back to the League on Saturday with Ashford making their longest trip of the season to play Horley Town FC, although it should not take more than 45 minutes.

It will not be easy with Horley having shown some form, especially in cup competitions recently, making progress in the FA Vase by three goals to two against Sevenoaks Town, and then,  on Tuesday evening, beating Division One side Sandhurst Town by five goals to one in the League Cup.  The player to look out for is Ashley Nadesan, who scored all five in Tuesday’s victory.  League form has not been quite so good, the most recent match resulting in a 3-4 defeat at Colliers Wood United.  Overall Horley sit in 12th place in the table with nine points from their eight matches.

Horley only moved to their impressive new ground a few seasons ago and the address is The New Defence, Anderson Way, Court Lodge Road, Horley, Surrey, RH6 8SP.  Court Lodge Road is a long windy affair through a large housing estate but you need to look out for Horley Leisure Centre as the ground is through the same entrance and just behind the Leisure Centre.  If you come in from one end, you need to go through the estate before turning left into the Leisure Centre, if you come from the other, it is a fairly swift right hand turn.

Although Southall made it difficult on Tuesday, it was Ashford who knocked in another three goals just as they had last Saturday at Frimley.   With players returning, Ben Murray will again have a difficult choice in selecting both his team and squad, with just about everyone seemingly on form at the moment.  With Spelthorne, Molesey and Cove continuing to set the pace though, nothing can be taken for granted and, as mentioned, Horley will be no push overs.  Kick-off, as usual, is at 3.00 p.m.

The Under-18’s suffered an unexpectedly heavy defeat on Wednesday, losing 0-7 to Hayes & Yeading and will need to improve if they are to have any chance of progression in the FA Youth Cup next Wednesday when they entertain Met Police U18.

A Boardroom crisis, occasioned by a paucity of officials from their opponents, threatened at one point to leave the Chairman’s after match casserole largely uneaten.  Fortunately it was narrowly averted with the help of Junior Chairman Nick Bailey, on hand to consume two large portions and he was ably assisted by MCFA rep Doug Douglas who also did his bit.

Prior to the match, Southall had not endeared themselves to their hosts by turning up late with referee Herb a little too readily agreeing to a delayed kick-off for Ashford’s liking.  The match finally got underway just over ten minutes late and it quickly became clear that Southall were going to prove worthy opponents playing some impressive football throughout the match that belied their mid-table position in Division One of the Spartan S. Midlands League (not the Hellenic as mistakenly quoted yesterday).

With both teams showing an exemplary attitude throughout the match, a very enjoyable game of football broke out.  The pattern generally was one of Ashford doing the majority of the attacking, shooting frequently, but seeing all efforts going wide or being saved and then having to be careful as Southall frequently counter attacked at pace, but without too much of a cutting edge.  Ben Murray had left leading scorer Mark Bitmead on the bench as well as skipper Russell Canderton but with Ashford dominating much of the possession, and buoyed up by recent performances, the Ashford faithful were reasonably confident of a breakthrough in the end.

However, the second half continued in much the same vein and when it got to less than ten minutes left and no extra time, one wondered if the first penalty shoot out of the season was looming.  Then it all happened as Conor Moody, always dangerous when coming on, finally thumped the ball past the nameless keeper (we didn’t get a team sheet from Southall) who had stood up to everything up to that point.  With Southall having finally abandoned their passing game which had caused Ashford so much frustration, it seemed the victory was in the bag but suddenly the visitors were attacking and Tyler Tobin, superbly alert all evening, had to push a fierce effort against the post to safety.  Another decent shot went just wide but in front of their new manager who must have been impressed at times, Southall had finally shot their bolt and Ashford doubled the lead in the first minute of stoppage time when Jack Beadle crashed the ball home for his second goal in as many matches. 

The floodgates were finally and fully open as Mark Bitmead then finished exquisitely with the third goal in the fifth minute of stoppage.

In terms of overall possession, it could be argued that the final 3-0 scoreline was about right but that would be to overlook the fact that Southall played some of the best football seen at Short Lane this season when in possession, and their pace on the break was a constant concern, although another clean sheet demonstrates that Ashford defended well enough, with young central defender Kieran Wright being awarded the Chad Beadle “Ashford Man of the Match” award.  Finally a word for referee Andrew Herb, officiating at his first ever senior match we were told.  Although it was not a difficult match to control, with both teams showing commendable behaviour, he was quietly confident in his approach and looks well placed to climb the refereeing ladder.  Must get it from his dad!

Ashford will entertain either North Greenford United or Enfield Town in the next round on a date to be determined.

All eyes now turn to the next league match, away to Horley Town on Saturday, Ashford’s longest trip of the season (although it will still seem like a local derby in comparison with recent seasons).  Horley disposed of Division One Sandhurst Town seemingly in style last night, winning 5-1 in the CCL League Cup (known as the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, to give it its full name) and will not be easy opponents in their excellent stadium, but more on that one later in the week.

There is another match at Short Lane this evening  (Wednesday), when the Under-18’s have their second match of the season, at home to Hayes & Yeading U18, in the Ryman Youth League.  They will appreciate your support for the game which kicks off at 7.45 p.m.

 

 

Ashford have a rest from league competition on Tuesday evening when fellow Middlesex side Southall FC come to Short Lane to contest the 1st Round of the Middlesex Charity Cup, to see who will entertain either Enfield Town or North Greenford United in the 2nd Round.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.

Southall are, of course, one of England’s great non-league names but after losing their superb old Western Road ground in 1992, they were in the doldrums for several years but hung on in there and have now made their way back into senior football, playing in Division One East of the Hellenic League, in which they currently sit in mid-table with seven points from seven matches.

In the past more than one famous player has worn the colours of Southall but perhaps the most well known face these days is no longer on the field but their chairman, Tommy Taylor, ex-West Ham stalwart.  This evening’s match will be the first under newly appointed manager Emanuel Asare, appointed to the position over the weekend.

There has to be a result “first time” but for some odd reason there is no extra time in this competition.  If the scores are level after 90 minutes, the match goes straight to a penalty shoot out.

Unlike one or two in the past, manager Ben Murray is taking all the cup competitions very seriously this season and whilst it is not the FA Cup or Vase, Ashford will be fielding a strong team, although given the current excellent form in which every senior player is playing his part, it would be difficult to say exactly what our strongest team is at the moment.

Having mentioned Southall’s old ground, it was one of the highlights of our very first season in senior football, back in November 1990, to have the opportunity of playing there in the Middlesex Senior Cup, when a one-one draw after extra time necessitated a replay.  Due to not having lights at the time, Alan Boon at Staines was kind enough to allow us the use of Wheatsheaf Lane for the replay a week later and an incredible match saw us winning by six goals to four, once again after extra time.  Our scorers that evening were Andy Smith (2), Ian Miles (2), Colin Hammond and Nigel Mathurin.  Our team was Burgess, Oram, Wharf, Vaughan, Andrews, Xibberas, Hammond, Mathurin, Miles, Smith and Cloke, SUBS:  Hill, Steve Wyatt, Mark Wyatt and Fabian.  Ref was Mr. Barnard-Smith to whom we awarded 8 out of 10, so he must have done well!

Since then senior meetings with Slough have been spasmodic and always in one or other of the Middlesex Cup competitions.  The most recent occasion was back in November 1999, when we recorded a 1-0 victory, again after extra time in the Charity Cup.

Ashford have won this competition twice in our history and nobody who was there for the most recent occasion will forget it as we turned round three goals down against Northwood at half-time, only for Kofi Lockhart-Adams to come on and score four goals in a dramatic turn round which saw the game end four apiece.  Ashford then won the penalty shoot out and Kofi scored again.

It took some time but Ashford eventually recorded their seventh consecutive league victory, beating an obstinate Guildford City by three goals to nil, to move into second spot in the table.

Kieran Wright continued in central defence for Ashford, with skipper Russell Canderton at a wedding whilst Max Webb took his turn on the bench.  Samad Kazi is still on holiday returning this week.  At first, Ashford were unable to reproduce too much of the excellent football that has been a feature this season and their opponents certainly did not look like a team occupying a relegation place.  Referee O’Hene livened up proceedings with some of the loudest whistling heard for some time at Short Lane but there was nothing to get anyone too excited even though Elliott Jones looked to be the victim of a wallop on the head in the corner under the assistant’s nose at one point.  It may well have been accidental.

The game meandered along until the 30th minute but increasing pressure eventually saw Ashford take the lead, when a sublime through ball from Alex Fisher put in Dan Fleming and he calmly slipped the ball under Guildford keeper Antony Hall who had otherwise been up to everything thrown at him

Play had been slow at times and even after going a goal down, Guildford did not seem to over exert themselves to retrieve matters but a defining moment of the match arrived immediately after the break.  The consumption of three jam tarts had delayed the writer’s return to the pitch but he was just in time to see Tyler Tobin pull off arguably the save of the season so far as the defence seemed frozen waiting for the ball to be smashed into the net.  Tobin somehow managed to block the ball at almost point blank range.

After that, although by no means as one sided as one or two of the previous matches, Ashford rarely looked like loosening their grip on the game and had Dan Fleming, in particular, had his shooting boots on, although he was not the only one, Ashford might have made the match safer a lot earlier.

As it was, it was the ever industrious Jack Beadle who doubled the lead on 70 minutes, a snap shot entering the net low and close to the post.  Once again Alex Fisher was involved in the move.  Following that, Guildford seemed to lack the will to fight back to any great extent and there was clearly some dissent in the ranks, with Ashford making it three just five minutes later from the penalty spot.  Mark Bitmead’s effort was destined for the net but Guildford defender Elvis De Freitas pushed it away with his hand.  It was a good save but nobody could argue against the inevitable dismissal and Bitmead made no mistake from the spot, before leaving the pitch in favour of Clark Thorley, another exciting prospect, making his first competitive appearance of the season.

For the final fifteen minutes it was exhibition stuff from Ashford with all Guildford resistance seemingly broken Chances were still being squandered though and there were no more goals but it didn’t matter too much as news came through that Molesey had dropped their first points of the season at Cove, leaving just one 100% record, that being held by Spelthorne Sports who pulled off another decent win at Hartley Wintney.  The team of the day though, without a doubt, were Raynes Park Vale, who alone kept the CCL flag flying in the FA Cup, pulling off a 2-1 victory at Ryman League Ramsgate.  Let’s hope they get a good draw on Monday.  Our conquerors, Daventry Town, went out themselves, losing 1-2 at Hitchin Town.

After the match Chad Beadle’s unofficial “Ashford man of the match” award went to Alex Fisher.

It is another home game up next, on Tuesday evening, when Ashford entertain Southall in the 1st Round of the Middlesex Charity Cup.  They play in Division One East of the Hellenic League and currently occupy 11th spot.  A fuller preview will appear in a day or so.

Ashford will hope to record their seventh successive victory in the League on Saturday, when they entertain Guildford City FC at Short Lane, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

Guildford are currently in 19th position in the table with just a solitary win under their belt in the league, that coming in an away match at Farnham Town by the only goal of the game.  Nevertheless nobody expects an easy match and manager Ben Murray firmly believes that Guildford are in a false position at present and that they are certainly not a relegation team. Last week was apparently a case in point when Guildford lost at home to Chertsey despite dominating much of the possession.

Guildford won the CCL in successive seasons in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, losing just eight games over two seasons,  before they were granted promotion to the Southern League.  They were possibly more pleased than some to go into the Southern as opposed to the Ryman, as the club had enjoyed a major connection with the Southern League in the past.  After a decent first season they found themselves moved into the South West Division last season, with all the resulting trips to places like Taunton, Cinderford, Mangotsfield, etc., which, as we know ourselves only too well, is draining and the club found itself back in the CCL after just two seasons.

Meetings between our clubs are restricted to the 2012-2013 season, when in a remarkable match at the Spectrum, two very late goals turned a likely defeat into a 3-2 victory for Ashford right at the death.  That match was one of the last in which Dan Brown played for us and he marked it with a hatrick.  Dan, incidentally, has just been released by Staines Town.  We would love to see him back here but he has more than proved his ability to play at a higher level and will doubtless have offers from other clubs.

Guildford had their revenge in March 2013 when they came to Short Lane and won by three goals to one, ours coming from Kofi Lockhart-Adams, now at Burnham.

Although nothing can be guaranteed in football, there is no doubt that Ashford have been playing some tremendous football throughout much of this fledgling season which has been shown by the results.  Once again team selection will be difficult tomorrow, with everyone coming through the Hanworth Villa friendly in the week unscathed and the lads on the bench will be able to say to a man that they are unlucky not to be starting.  Guildford are one of the few sides in the CCL who have some travelling support and we are looking for a three figure crowd if possible.

Looking slightly ahead, we are also at home next Tuesday evening, when we entertain Southall FC, currently playing in the Spartan S. Midlands League, in the 1st Round of the Middlesex Charity Cup to see who will entertain either North Greenford United or Enfield Town in the 2nd Round.

Ashford played out a low key friendly at Hanworth Villa on Tuesday evening, it being an opportunity for both clubs to try out players and use as many members of the squad as possible.  Ashford had two of their Under-18 squad being given an opportunity and both took the eye, namely Gabriel Bediako, playing at left back and flying winger Jahmaan Francis.

The match ended two goals apiece, Ashford’s coming from Dan Fleming and Jack Beadle.

We thank Hanworth Villa for hosting the match.

There is to be a Race Night at the Club on the evening of Saturday 27 September.

Phil (Marshall) is organising it and with Phil having already sponsored one of the races, we are looking for six more race sponsors at £20 each.

Following that, the horses will be sold at £5 a horse

They are always good evenings, so please support the event if you can.

Unfortunately, Ashford have had to cancel the planned friendly against Wokingham & Emmbrook on Tuesday evening, due to the fact that tenants Staines Lammas drew their FA Vase tie away to Irchester United on Sunday afternoon, and now have to replay the match at Short Lane on Tuesday.  Our apologies to Wokingham but the Vase tie has, of course, to be given priority.

Ben Murray has moved fast, as always, and has quickly arranged instead to play a low key friendly at Hanworth Villa on Tuesday, kicking off at 7.30 p.m.  Thanks go to Gary Jenkins, manager of Villa and the club for making these arrangements.

With the Under-18’s not having a match, that is the only midweek football involving Ashford’s senior teams in midweek, the next game being the home league match this coming Saturday against Guildford City.  More on that one later in the week.

Unfortunately, Ashford have had to cancel the planned friendly against Wokingham & Emmbrook on Tuesday evening, due to the fact that tenants Staines Lammas drew their FA Vase tie away to Irchester United on Sunday afternoon, and now have to replay the match at Short Lane on Tuesday.  Our apologies to Wokingham but the Vase tie has, of course, to be given priority.

Ben Murray has moved fast, as always, and has quickly arranged instead to play a low key friendly at Hanworth Villa on Tuesday, kicking off at 7.30 p.m.  Thanks go to Gary Jenkins, manager of Villa and the club for making these arrangements.

With the Under-18’s not having a match, that is the only midweek football involving Ashford’s senior teams in midweek, the next game being the home league match this coming Saturday against Guildford City.  More on that one later in the week.

Ashford made it six wins in a row in the League on Saturday defeating Frimley Green by three goals to one.  Despite the previous assumption of being able to field a full strength side, Ashford found themselves without both Russell Canderton and Max Webb, unavailable, whilst Rob Curtis was only on the bench after a minor knock in the Daventry game.  Manager Ben Murray also shuffled his pack a little as Alex Fisher returned at left back and Conor Moody, Tommy Brunton , Joe Hughes and  Kieran Wright all started.  Tom Hill was a little unlucky to only find himself on the bench, whilst  Dan Fleming and Mark Bitmead continued to look threatening up top.

On a good albeit sloping surface, Ashford tried hard to re-create the smooth passing game that has been a feature so far this season.  Against physical opponents, who saw three men cautioned in the opening half, it did not always come off but Ashford were still able to turn round two goals up, both coming from Mark Bitmead, who also hit the woodwork with another fierce effort.  The two goals were both as a result of impressive combination play between Moody and Bitmead, both of whom were the main contenders for the Chad Beadle unofficial “Ashford Man of the Match award” won in the end by a single vote by Moody.

Things looked comfortable as the second half started but Frimley came out fired up and suddenly Ashford did not look as much in charge as they had for the opening 45.  It was crucial for the home side that they scored a goal to get back in the game, and they did so on 54 minutes, from the spot, when Alex Fisher’s tackle was eventually deemed to be inside the penalty area, after consultation between referee and assistant.  It was confusing as the referee initially awarded a free kick outside the area, and the assistant made no move to take up the penalty position, as they are apparently required to do this season, rather than putting the flag across the chest.  It was confirmed and admitted afterwards though that the referee eventually got it right.

For a while Frimley were in the ascendancy.  Their main tactic was to hit it long towards the big Darryl Bloxham, normally a defender but playing up front.  It worked to a large extent as the hard working Bloxham seemed to win the ball almost every time for a while but it failed in another sense as no-one was able to get on the end of any of his touches, which were a little hit and miss on occasions.

Nevertheless, Frimley remained in the match for an uncomfortably long period as Ashford spurned two or three opportunities to put the match beyond the home side.  Relief finally came though with around five minutes left, when a defensive error put Moody in possession and for the third time in the match he laid in Bitmead, whose finishing was deadly yesterday and he completed a well merited hatrick to put the game beyond Frimley.

It was another three points for Ashford but further proof that there will be no easy games in the way that there used to be when Ashford were in the League last time round.  Coming after the rigours of the two tough matches against Daventry in the FA Cup, the win though was good enough, with both Cove and Spelthorne in FA Vase action, to take the Ash Trees into second spot behind Molesey, who maintained their 100% record with a 3-0 win over Westfield.

In midweek Ashford are without a competitive fixture but will entertain Wokingham & Emmbrook on Tuesday evening, in a friendly, kicking off at 7.45 p.m.  As an added incentive, the current guest ale is Rev James 4.5% Bitter on tap from the Brains Brewery.  Brains is a Welsh brewery, based in Cardiff,  and this particular beer is brewed to a recipe first used in 1885.

Ashford have the pleasure of meeting up with Frimley Green FC on Saturday for the first time at senior level for almost 21 years, the last meeting in the CCL being on 18 December 1993, when a rare hatrick from Ian Miles, two from Keith Hoad and one from Lee Holman enabled us to win by six goals to two.  (For those who like nostalgia, our team that day was:  Underwood, Miles, Heggarty, Scott, Newey, Lyons, Mathurin, Silbery, Wharf, Holman, Hoad  subs, Hammond and Rix).  Not many of our matches against Frimley though were that straightforward as Ashford have only won once in their four previous games at Frimley.

Frimley gained promotion to the Premier Division of the CCL in time for last season and finished in a creditable mid-table position with 57 points from their 42 league matches.  This season they again find themselves currently in mid table with one win, two defeats and three draws from their six league matches to date.  Like ourselves they went out of the FA Cup last week, losing narrowly to Hartley Wintney, whilst in their most recent league match they drew four apiece at Farnham Town.  One player springs to mind who has played for both clubs and that was as recently as last season when Jamie Connor left us to join Frimley.  He has since moved on to Reading Town.

The address of the ground is Frimley Green Recreation Ground, Frimley Green Road, Frimley Green GU16 6JY and there is plenty of parking available.  The entrance to the ground, on the left hand side as you come up from the town is signposted, but it is quite easy to miss so best go steady as you come up Frimley Green Road

Ashford are still smarting at the unfair manner in which they went out of the FA Cup but now have five consecutive league wins under their belt and whilst it will be far from easy, a win at Frimley could just take them to the top of the league if Molesey were to drop points at home to Westfield, with both Spelthorne and Cove in FA Vase action.  Ashford should be at full strength.

With no competitive match in the coming midweek, Ashford have arranged a home friendly next Tuesday evening against Wokingham & Emmbrook from Division One East of the Hellenic League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Thanks to the efforts of Commercial Manager, Angie Payne, Ashford have secured various forms of sponsorship from a number of new firms and organisations recently.

We are obviously extremely grateful to Angie but perhaps we can publicly thank the following who have been kind enough to support the Club.  I would stress that this is only the first list and I am aware that there have been some more recent sponsorships that we will feature in the next list.

If you can patronise any of the following establishments, and mention that you have done so due to their association with the club, please do so:

Kouchins Indian restaurant in Ashford

The Moon In Moon Chinese restaurant in Sunbury

The Stanwell Hotel

Vermuelens Garden Centre

Peter Doble

Heathrow Personnel

Norman Prince Opticians

More to follow