Thatcham Town

Thatcham Town 3

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Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2

Evo-Stik League Southern, Division One Central
Waterside Park, Thatcham
3rd November 2012

Momentum in sport is essential to success. When Samad Kazi equalised for Ashford on 80 minutes, the momentum was fully with the away team. It seemed the points were only heading in one direction.

But sometimes in sport, results can't be accounted for. After Ashford had levelled the match, Danny Seaward redirected a scuffed shot past a helpless Kyle Merson to seal only a second league win of the season for Thatcham Town. 

This was a game of two markedly different halves. There was a feeling that at 0-2 at half-time Ashford had a lot more to give, and two deserved goals brought them level, only for the game to swing once again.

Ashford fell behind when Thatcham top-scorer Seaward scored from a quickly taken free-kick. The ball was passed around the Ashford wall and Seaward slotted a shot under Merson. 

All the early play was happening down Ashford's right side, and it was congested, making it difficult for Ashford to find a rhythm. 

A Mark Bitmead free-kick had to be tipped onto the post and from the resulting corner, Bitmead was denied again when his improvised shot was pushed over. 

Bitmead switched wings with Joe Bennett to vary their play and as Ashford were coming to life, the league new boys doubled their lead. Nicholas Obanuifi went around Ed Thomas and played a ball across to Jack Coventry who poked in to double Thatcham's lead.

Ashford were rattled and Thatcham had a chance to score a third, but narrowly missed.

As the play was concentrated largely down one side, Ashford had space to exploit when they were able to disengage the ball. Some key cover tackles and blocks, though, meant nothing came to fruition. 

Jacob Mingle, a former Ashford player, enjoyed an excellent first-half as a box-to-box midfielder. A interception on the edge of the box with Ashford threatening was pivotal to maintaining their lead. 

Ashford's biggest goal threat continued to be Mark Bitmead. The winger cut inside and powered a shot at goal but was denied again by goalkeeper Beames. 

Long shots appeared to be Ashford's best hope of scoring at first as they struggled to find a player with crosses; most were being headed out at the near post or claimed by the goalkeeper. 

Thatcham continued to fashion chances and another opportunity for 3-0 arose when goalscorer Seaward was released down the left and worked the ball into the centre. But Merson did extremely well to tip a deflected shot onto the crossbar and catch the follow-up. 

Ashford continued to seek a period of sustained pressure under which their opponents might crack. The match refused to change shape and continued in the same mode: Thatcham held firm and countered whenever possible to good effect.

Ashford, though, began to look on top midway through the second period, firing in shots from consecutive corners, the second of which Beames caught from close range from Russell Canderton's attempt. 

It was a goalkeeping error that broke Thatcham's resistance and substitute Samad Kazi lashed the ball into the vacant net. 

Bitmead looked a continual threat and was deserving of his goal, as were Ashford Town, that brought the game level. Ashford attacked down the left, found Lockhart-Adams who turned his centre-back and pass to Bitmead, in plenty of space, to apply the finish. 

As the game seemed destined to be heading Ashford's way, with momentum fully on their side, Thatcham regained the lead. A low shot was redirected on goal by Seaward, consigning Ashford to a first loss in seven matches, a bitter pill to swallow having fought so valliantly to bring the match level.