Ashford will break new ground on Saturday with their first ever visit to Histon FC, who play at the Glassworld Stadium, Bridge Road, Impington, Cambridge, CB24 9PH. It will be the longest league journey of the season at around 82 miles, via the M25 (north), A1M, A505, M11 and then A414. Kick-off is 3.00 p.m.
Histon rose to become members of the National Conference in time for the 2007-08 season and finished in 7th place in their first season at that level and then bettered it the following season with a 3rd placed finish. Since then though they have slipped and find themselves competing at this level for the first time in many years following their relegation from the Premier Division of the Southern League last season. They have not endured a great time this season, last winning in the League on 5 November but the win was notable, being a 6-2 victory at Barton, with five goals in the last 20 minutes. The defeats since then though have all been by a solitary goal bar one whilst our League form, of course, has been equally poor in recent weeks.
In Wednesday's win we came close to reproducing our early season form though and Ben Murray, hopefully fortified by the return to the squad of Russell Canderton from suspension and Max Webb from injury, will look for that form to continue. Histon will doubtless see the match as one they can win and it will probably be a close affair.
If selected, the game, incidentally will mark Russell's 599th 1st Team competitive start, with hopefully the big 600 to come at Royston next week.
For those who used the M25/M40/A40 route to reach Hanwell Town last night, where Southall play, it was a nightmare journey that took 2 hours to complete, despite the clubs being only 15 miles apart. It was little better on the return journey, with a nasty looking accident reducing the A40 to a single lane at one point, resulting in a massive traffic jam. Possibly a small price to pay if someone lost their life in what looked a very serious incident, so let’s hope that wasn’t the case.
From an Ashford perspective, the journey was worth it as the Tangerines played some excellent football in a 5-2 victory over Spartan S. Midlands side Southall. That may be looked upon as nothing less than expected, given the current status of both clubs, but with Ashford’s recent poor form plus the fact that Southall are a very decent side and still going strong in the FA Vase, it was enough to re-build confidence and put Ashford in much finer fettle for the trip to Histon on Saturday.
The game could not have started any better for Murray’s men: within the first 8 minutes Ashford were two up and seemingly coasting. The first came on 7 minutes when the excellent Dan Fleming converted a low cross and then, a minute later, the second when Kam English generally giving his full back a torrid time, smashed in a shot that gave the keeper no chance.
The third goal arrived on 27 minutes and it rivalled the previous one for “goal of the game”. A flowing movement down the left flank saw Fleming once again in the right place to make it count.
At this stage Southall had hardly been in the match but they did not lay down and some of their football was equally admirable. It still came as a bit of a shock though when they quickly pulled one back before half-time and then another just six minutes into the second period.
On a nigh perfect surface for this time of the year and with perfect playing conditions, Ashford controlled the situation well on this occasion and eventually clinched the game when Fleming hammered in the fourth goal and Alex Fisher then popped up with the 5th very soon afterwards.
Southall’s Adam Louth was perhaps fortunate to escape with any sanction when he seemed to punch Harry Herdman in a clash before half-time but following the spate of bookings in Ashford’s two previous matches, it was possibly a relief that the match was controlled by referee Marvin Thompson, who did not once reach for his book, even when he possibly should have done so. Mr. Thompson, incidentally was refereeing Ashford for the first time since 2008.
Apart from the result, there were other clear positives for Ashford, not least the return to action of goalkeeper Tyler Tobin after three months out. Young Harry Herdman, stepping up from the Under-18’s, looked a far stronger player than last season and certainly did himself no harm with his performance whilst there was also a very encouraging display from the sub’s bench of debutant Arlan Kadima.
There will be more on the trip to Histon tomorrow but with Max Webb expected to be fit enough to return and no obvious injuries last night, Murray will have almost a full squad from which to select his side.
The Under-18’s, under the control of Nick Bailey, with manager Will Boye engaged with the 1st Team, emphasised their recent improvement with a 6-2 victory at home to Northwood U18 in the Ryman Youth League. A good night all round!
The Clubhouse and Bar will be open at the Club over the holiday period as follows:
CHRISTMAS EVE, 24 DEC Midday – 11.00 p.m.
CHRISTMAS DAY, 25 DEC 11.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m.
BOXING DAY, 26 DEC 10.30 a.m. – 10.30 p.m. (Match v Egham, 1.30 p.m.)
TUE 27 DEC Midday – 11.00 p.m.
WED 28 DEC Midday – 11.00 p.m.
THU 29 DEC Midday – 11.00 p.m.
FRI 30 DEC Midday – 11.00 p.m.
SAT 31 DEC Midday – late (New Years Eve party)
SUN 1 JAN Midday – 5.00 p.m.
MON 2 JAN on Normal hours resume