Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2
Bedworth United 2
Slough Town

Zamaretto League Central Division
Robert Parker Stadium
8th January 2011

 

A paltry attendance of just 89 saw Ashford throw away a two goal advantage after dominating the proceedings for much of the match in what, for me anyway, is probably the most disappointing result so far this season given the superb football that they played in the first half.

 

Player/manager Jamie Lawrence kept faith with Jordan Kiffin at right back after his solid display at AFC Hayes on Monday, Russ Canderton returned from injury to the centre of defence in place of skipper Billy Jeffreys, absent on compassionate grounds, and Isaiah Rankin also returned from injury to make the starting line-up.

 

Ashford were slow to settle but early Bedworth pressure gave the Ashford defence little to be concerned about and slowly they built up the momentum to apply considerable pressure of their own, restricting the visitors to trying to hit them on the break.

 

A good turn and through ball by Rankin was wasted as his fellow forwards were not quite on the same wave length then the Ashford striker warmed James Martin’s hands with a crisp drive from a quick Akwasi Edusei throw, following in quick succession, with another powerful shot, after linking with Edusei, that Martin grasped at the second attempt.

 

Jamie Lawrence lofted a free kick, given for a foul on Tom Kanek, over the ‘Greenbacks’ bar from 10 yards outside their penalty box then, shortly after, a break out of defence gave Rankin the chance to run at the opposition and he made some 60 yards before laying the ball right to Lawrence whose cross was volleyed goalwards by Jones Awuah, forcing a tremendous save out of Martin at the cost of a corner from where the ball was headed off the goal line by Gio Dainty.

 

In the end Ashford’s neat passing football told and it came as no surprise when they took a 19th minute lead. What was a surprise though was the manner in which it was scored and the scorer. Canderton broke up a promising Bedworth attack in his own penalty area and embarked on a galloping run up field breaking stride only to play a one-two with Rankin before sliding the ball past the advancing Martin to get, as one wag on the line observed, his hattrick (3 goals in 3 years).

 

Rankin very nearly got on the end of a Lawrence cross, minutes later, but it was just too much of a stretch then, at the other end, a Jai Stanley free kick was only half-cleared and the ball was played back in by Blyth only to see Kanek heading the Bedworth striker’s effort off the line.

 

Martin continued to be much the busier of the two keepers, making important saves from Rankin and Kanek but he was powerless to intervene as a superb passage of inventive play by the home side concluded with Rankin heading a long cross from Hickie back into the middle where Awuah volleyed just wide.

 

Then, shortly before the interval, Awuah mesmerised Ben Twigger, the Bedworth right back, before getting to the goal line and sending in a low cross that eluded the keeper and, unfortunately, Awuah’s team mates.

 

So Ashford went in at half time with just one goal to show for their superiority and for a while it was business as usual as they started the second half.

 

Luke Hickie found Lawrence with a well weighted pass down the right and he in turn continued the move playing in Awuah through the centre but a defender had tracked back and just managed to get in a challenge that sent the ball out for what should have been a corner but referee Mr Richardson awarded the ‘Greenbacks’ a goal kick.

 

Ashford Town FC

 

Bedworth United

Andre Baptiste

GK

James Martin

Jordan Kiffin

2

Ben Twigger

Akwasi Edusei

3

Giovanni Dainty

Russ Canderton(C)

4

Craig Civzellis

Martynas Butkus

5

Adam Cooper

Alain Behi

6

Ben Thackeray

Tom Kanek

7

Dean Rathbone

Luke Hickie

8

Kyle Rhodes

Jamie Lawrence

9

Jacob Blyth

Isaiah Rankin

10

Jai Stanley

Jones Awuah

11

Luke Williams

Mark Bitmead

12

Mark Withers

Paul Burgess

13/17

Chris Goodman

Spencer Taffurelli

14

Mark Williams

Rob Curtis

15

Levi Ramsay

Mitchell Fountain

16

Alex Dean

 

Referee:

Mr. D Richardson

       

 

It is very conceivable that the Bedworth players had been subjected to a somewhat frank discourse from their manager during the break and they responded by suddenly winning more second balls and putting together some good moves of their own with the excellent Jacob Blyth at the fore, and it was he whose shot was deflected into the path of Luke Williams obliging Baptiste to dive prone to the turf to inelegantly punch the ball out for a corner.

 

The visitors had another chance, shortly after, when Stanley’s free kick was headed back across goal by Ben Thackeray only for Dean Rathbone to shoot into the side netting from an angle then a mix-up in the Ashford midfield presented the ball to Stanley who found Blyth whose drive forced a good save out of Baptiste.

 

On the hour a smart passing move involving Rankin, Hickie and Alain Behi gave a good chance to Lawrence but a well timed tackle by Adam Cooper kept the Ashford striker out then Hickie was fouled and played the free kick into Edusei to play in Awuah who shot just over.

 

With the game in the balance, the next goal was going to be crucial, or so we thought, and it went to Ashford. A free kick taken by Hickie found Lawrence on the right whose cross to the far post was forced home by Rankin after the Bedworth defence had failed to clear

 

Two goals up and cruising but, inconceivably, Ashford took their foot off the pedal. Their passing and decision making failed them and, in the 68th minute, they paid the price. A tame back-pass to Baptiste was mis-controlled allowing Blyth to poke the ball home and half the deficit.

 

The impetus was now with Bedworth and Baptiste suddenly found himself busier than he had been all match. Blyth fired over when he looked odds-on to score but, in the 80th minute, it was he who gave his side a share of the points as a poor clearance out of the Ashford defence was played straight back to the Bedworth striker who gave Baptiste no chance for the equaliser.

Kiffin prevented the Warwickshire side from returning home with all three points with just one minute of normal time left as Bedworth finally sprung Ashford’s off-side trap, Kiffin forced the ball carrier wide until reinforcements arrived and the chance was lost.


Jamie will be angry and disappointed in the manner of which his players had thrown away two valuable home points and will hope to put that right for the visit of Slough Town on Tuesday and, of course, before facing Dartford in the FA Trophy 2nd round at Short Lane next Saturday.