Ashford departed this season’s Middlesex Senior Cup competition on Tuesday evening, losing 2-3 to Hanworth Villa.
On an unexpectedly frosty surface, given that the thermometer was not due to hit zero until 4.00 in the morning, Ashford and Villa fought out what could reasonably be deemed an end to end contest, a penalty kick for Villa shortly after the resumption effectively clinching victory for the away side, who will now meet Hampton in the semi-final.
Max Webb and Tommy Brunton were given a rest, no doubt with Saturday’s big match at home to Royston in mind. The early play was frantic and it was a surprise that nobody was able to break the deadlock until the 31st minute, when Villa’s Jesse Atiase took full advantage of a void at the back to put his side ahead. Within minutes though, Kam English had equalised and well done to him for his persistence. Put through by Dan Fleming, he went round the keeper but then stumbled over the ball and it looked as if the chance had gone but Kam recovered well, got back on his feet and slammed home.
Just two minutes later though Tom Neale put his side ahead for the second time but with barely time to breathe Ashford equalised again, a short corner kick leading to a cross to the far post, powerfully headed in by Scott Weight for his first goal of the season.
One hoped that Ashford might now go on to take the initiative, especially as some of their approach play was impressive but the Villains, who are a strong outfit this season, had other ideas and took the lead for the third time on 52 minutes, from the spot, scorer Jack Buckle. It was impossible to see from the far end why the penalty was awarded but it was telling that there seemed to be very few arguments.
The remainder of the match saw Ashford frantically trying to notch a third equaliser which on the balance of possession they probably deserved, but chances that were flying in earlier in the season now seem to be flying just over or wide instead, or the opposition keeper makes a great save, or, as in this case, the referee points to the spot and then changes his mind and gives the foul outside the area which it probably was.
Let it also be stated that Villa, although under the cosh at times, still made chances of their own, one header in particular bringing a wonder save from Tyler Tobin in goal. Indeed whether it was the need to push forward that caused it but there was a point where it seemed that whenever the visitors broke they were getting through the home defence with alarming ease at times.
It would be hard to criticise anyone for effort on a very cold evening but for the writer, the stand-out Ashford player was Bayley Mummery who showed both tenacity and no little skill throughout the match, whilst Kam English also produced some telling runs at times.
Ashford are something of an enigma at the moment, still producing some excellent football at times but without getting the results. They certainly made enough chances last night, but are just not making them count at the moment. Bad luck and some poor refereeing decisions have not always helped but the earlier part of this season amply demonstrated that Ashford can compete well at Step 4 and it is time to re-prove it with the opportunity to do so on Saturday when league leaders Royston Town come to Short Lane. They enjoyed an emphatic win (5-0) over Farnborough yesterday evening and will be perhaps the toughest competitors that we will face over the remainder of this season. It will obviously be a tall order against a powerful side at this level but It does not need saying that a win for the Tangerines would lift any despondency and without doubt, would be a springboard for the remainder of the season.
The Under-18’s are due to travel to meet Hendon U18 this evening (Wednesday) at Silver Jubilee Park in the Ryman Youth League unless the weather steps in.
Other news is that we now lose Alex Fisher for a while as he has to undergo an operation not connected with football and we wish him well and hope to see him back as soon as possible. We also extend huge thanks to Ginge from the Juniors whose latest contribution has seen a third television put up in the bar. His next self-stated task is to build a new trophy cabinet, just in case!
There is a break from league action on Tuesday evening when Ashford will entertain Hanworth Villa in the Quarter-Final of the Middlesex Senior Cup.
The postponement of Saturday’s league encounter at AFC Kempston will mean that Ashford will be ready and raring to go and the writer is advised that Romario Jonas will be back from injury and in the squad which is great news. Villa, under the control of Rufus Brevett, will be no push overs, that’s for certain, standing as they do, in 3rd place in the CCL and fresh from a solitary goal victory over Epsom & Ewell on Saturday. That goal was scored by Cyril Ocansey who had a spell at Short Lane, playing in 21 matches for us in the 13-14 season.
We have some pedigree in the Middlesex Senior Cup, our best run coming in the 2012-2013 season when we reached the Final, losing 0-2 to Staines Town at Uxbridge, whereas last season an epic battle away to Enfield Town eventually saw us going out by 6 goals to 4 after extra time.
The match kicks off at 7.45 p.m. and if the scores are level after 90 minutes, we go straight to penalties as there is no longer any extra time in this competition.
Two of our junior sides reached the semi-finals of their respective County Cups yesterday, namely Ben’s Under-16’s who will now play at home to CB Hounslow U16 or Conquest U16 in the semi-final on 12 February, and Fin’s U-14’s whose 4-2 win at Pinner will see them making a similar journey in their semi-final away to Ruislip Rangers on the same day.
Fin’s Under-13’s Quarter Final match is now next Sunday away to Old Isleworthians.
All of yesterday’s junior results are shown below:
Michael U7s 7-2 Bedfont Eagles
Cass U8s 5-5 Bedfont Eagles
Bill U8s 3-1 Hampton Youth
Neil U8s 7-2 Claygate
Andy U9s 0-6 Kew Association
Matt U10s 1-2 Halliford
Graham U11s 4-3 CB Hounslow
Fin U14s 4-2 Pinner (County Cup)
Martin U15s 3-2 Victoria
Ben U16s 1-0 Teddington (County Cup)
The Sunday Social side sustained a heavy defeat 3-11 away to Heston Celtic whilst the Ladies’ match away to Greenhouse Sports was postponed. They are due to be back at Short Lane next Sunday (22 Jan) at home to Putney Vale Ladies. A belated well done to Ashley Cheatley and Lavana Neufvill who were selected to represent the Middlesex FA Rep Squad in their recent Southern Counties Cup Tie against Kent FA, which Kent won 4-3 after being three down. Needless to mention, Ashley was on the scorers’ sheet, notching two of the three Middlesex goals.
A new innovation will see music at Ashford one Friday evening every month. More information to follow shortly.
There is to be a pitch inspection at Kempston at 10.15 a.m. to see if the game can go ahead