As well as receiving visitors Barton Rovers, it is a “big” day for the Club on Saturday as Gareth Coates, these days the Club’s Company Secretary, will be down from Liverpool to launch his book upon the history of Ashford Town, entitled “From Albion to Zazzera”, Jason Zazzera having the distinction of being the last player in alphabetical terms to have represented the club over the years. It is a good read, covering every single season of Ashford’s existence and Gareth will have copies for anyone wishing to buy one on the day. Other guests include Graham Atkin, who in 1966 achieved the record for scoring the most goals for Ashford in a single match, when he hit eight in one game. This record has never been broken.
Also present will be Jim Taylor, the President of Middlesex County FA, always a welcome visitor, and Andy Smith, another renowned goal scorer for the club in his day.
On top of all that, the match has been designated as one of our successful “Junior Days” with all junior players invited to attend with their parents, etc, and all those in their kit will receive a free hot dog or burger, courtesy of the generosity of Vice-Chairman Nick Bailey.
Amidst all that, Ashford will be facing a very tough match with Barton arriving in 4th place in the table. Although they lost to our FA Cup conquerors, Herne Bay, in the FA Trophy, they have won their last four league games in a row, including a 6-3 victory at Royston Town.
Our two clubs have met on ten previous occasions, all league matches, with Barton slightly ahead with five wins to our four, with one draw. The first ever season we met was in the 2001-2002 season, in Division 2 of the Ryman League, but all the others have been in the Southern League.
There is more football at Short Lane on Sunday, when Ashford Ladies take on Actonians Reserves in the JGMT Trophy, kick-off 2.00 p.m. Ashford remain top of their division and congratulations go to Ashley Cheatley and Lavana Neufville, who were both selected in the Middlesex County squad for their match against the Army on 19 October. The Ladies remain unbeaten all season and manager Will Boye has now taken over the Men’s Under-18 side playing in the Ryman Youth League. There are some talented players in the squad but they have yet to eradicate the bad habit of conceding last minutes goals which cost them yet again last week when they lost narrowly to Hendon U18. The next match is away to Aldershot Town U18, to be played at Godalming Town next Wednesday evening.
Finally we have all the junior matches for Sunday, as follows:
Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch
Fin U14s v Carshalton 10am
Martin U15s v Ewell Saxons 11:30
Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch
Conor U16s v Leatherhead 10am
Simon U16s v Hanworth Sports 11:30
Ashford Town 7 – 7 Pitch
Ryan U9s v Spelthorne 11am
Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch
Joe U12s v Doverhouse 10:30am
Graham U11s v Nelson U11s 11:30am
Ashford Town – Outfield
Gary Men v Bamyan FC 10:30am
Ben U16s v Dorking Wanderers 12:30pm
Larry U13s v Surrey Predators 2pm
Ashford Town– Stadium
Ladies v Actonians Reserves 2pm
Bill U8s v AFC Wimbledon
John U13s v Hampton Youth
Paul U13s v Leatherhead
Craig U14s v Kew Park Rangers
Following Sunday’s limp performance at AFC Dunstable, Tuesday evening’s match at home to North Greenford United in the 1st Round of the Middlesex Senior Cup assumed a rather greater importance than it might have done. North Greenford play at one level below the Tangerines but they had recently been enthused by the appointment of a new manager and arrived at Short Lane with an 8-0 home victory over Chertsey and a 2-1 win over title challengers Epsom & Ewell under their belts in the previous seven days.
Manager Ben Murray made five changes, including a first start for Hakim Hammami after a number of sub appearances and the side had a determined look about it from the start. The visitors were not overawed though and looked lively themselves in the opening stages. There was almost a real set back for Ashford when Kav Keadell’s misplaced clearance nearly gave a goal away but the attacker with almost an empty net to aim at, failed to steady himself and shot wide.
After that initial flurry Ashford started to assert themselves and it was Hammami who put them ahead on 21 minutes. A mistake at the back for the visitors had allowed the marauding Mark Bitmead, who once had a short spell at North Greenford, to advance and a fine effort came back off the foot of the post. It rebounded though to Hammami who show how it should be done as he coolly sent his low effort into the net to open the scoring.
Soon afterwards, the visitors had to change their keeper who couldn’t carry on after coming down heavily as he claimed a high ball with nobody in close proximity. The immediate prognosis was that he had suffered ligament damage and we send him our best wishes.
Despite this setback, the visitors did not crumble and with no further scoring before half-time, Ashford had to work hard for the second goal which arrived on 54 minutes. Alex Fisher, skipper for the evening, with Russ Canderton on the bench, seemed to catch the visiting defence out with a long ball and Bitmead doubled the lead with a deft finish.
After the second goal Ashford assumed a greater control and, despite one effort which had to be cleared from the line, the result seemed reasonably assured. It proved difficult to extend the lead though with North Greenford attempting to push up and play offside at every opportunity. One or two of the decisions subsequently given in their favour looked distinctly marginal and Bitmead in articular was unlucky to see another effort ruled out but Ashford, now playing within themselves, made it three at the death when sub Kam English embarked upon one of those runs that have become his trademark and finished with aplomb. With the visitors now showing signs of fatigue, Samad Kazi almost made it four with a run that saw him go past three defenders as if they weren’t there only to put his final effort just over the bar.
On an evening that saw no cautions for either side, thanks possibly to the genial and sensible Mr. Andrews in the middle, it was a good game for Ashford to recover their form as they look forward to the visit of Barton Rovers on Saturday. It was mighty close but Tommy Brunton received the Ashford “Man of the Match” award after an assured performance in midfield
The 2nd Round brings a home game against another CCL side in the shape of CB Hounslow, who are doing well in their first season at Step 5, and will also probably see the return of more than one ex-Ashford player, in the shape of both Gavin and Stuart Bamford, along with Nick Hardy, Harry Driver and one or two others. This match is scheduled for Tuesday 8 November.
Here are all the junior results from yesterday:
Michael U7s 7-0 Spelthorne
Bill U8s 3-3 NPL
Chris U8s 5-2 Halliford
Neil U8s 5-3 Kew Park Rangers
Matt U9s 5-0 Halliford
Rhys U9s 1-2 Esher Wizards
Ryan U9s 1-1 Claygate
Matt U10s 5-0 Woking Cougars
Graham U11s 0-4 Halliford
Nelson U11s 0-2 Halliford
Joe U12s 2-9 Corinthian Casuals
Larry U13s 1-1 Surrey Predators
John U13s 5-0 Carshalton
Craig U14s 12-1 Kew Park Rangers
Martin U15s 5-0 Epsom & Ewell
Ben U16s 3-3 Binfield (Lost on Penalties)
Conor U16s (Won on Penalties)