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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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