Ashford play at home to Chertsey Town on Saturday and will be looking to make it ten league wins in a row.  That said, Ashford are very much aware that Chertsey are likely to pose a greater threat than maybe one or two of the clubs they have played in recent weeks, having overcome a miserable start to the season which saw them lose their opening three league matches.

They will arrive in 15th place in the table having won four and lost seven league matches to date with no draws.  On Wednesday evening they enjoyed a confidence boosting victory over Hartley Wintney, albeit in the League Cup, winning by four goals to two.  Two of the four were scored by ex-Ashford player Pietro Palladino, who came on at half-time and had a major influence on the match, scoring twice.  He is on dual registration with Godalming Town so may not be with Chertsey today but as we all know at Short Lane, Pietro can be a real threat if he is not carefully watched.  Allied to that is fellow striker John Pomroy who also had a season with Ashford, although it seems a long time ago now. John seems to have been around for ever and maybe doesn’t have the pace he used to but he still has the craft and certainly knows where the net is, as demonstrated on Wednesday evening.  The third ex-Ashford player in the Chertsey ranks at the present time is Ben Ewing, who gave everything for us in his 21 matches for Ashford last season.  This is an opportunity to thank Ben who never gave less than 100% in our colours.

Prior to Wednesday, Chertsey suffered defeat at home to Cove in the League, losing narrowly 2-3, Cove’s winner coming from the penalty spot near the end.  Prior to that, they were beaten at home 0-2 by Knaphill but in between the results enjoyed a good 3-1 victory at Westfield.

There have been fourteen previous competitive meetings between the clubs over the years but by far the most exciting clashes came fairly recently in the 2011-2012 season when there were three games, two in the league and one in the FA Trophy.  The first clash was in August of that season when we won a close match by five goals to four, but in the FA Trophy a few weeks later, Chertsey had their revenge, winning in the Trophy by six goals to five, after a stupendous fight back by Ashford which in the end was not quite enough.  The third match of that campaign was a less exciting 2-1 win for Ashford.

Last season, of course, both clubs were in the Southern League and honours were shared with Ashford winning 4-3 at Chertsey, courtesy of goals from Samad Kazi (2), Alex Duffy and Mark Bitmead, while Chertsey won here by two goals to nil in January.

One other current Ashford player who will remember scoring against Chertsey is skipper Russell Canderton who hit the first goal in a 2-0 win back in November 2002, nearly twelve years ago, in a Ryman Division One South match, the other coming from Richard Butler.

There are not too many league matches on Saturday as many of the clubs will be battling it out in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Vase to see who can make it into the 1st Round Proper.  We have a bye until that stage, as do Chertsey, and the draw will be made on Monday.  In order to reach the Final we would have to play eight matches, including a two-legged semi-final, a very tall order but the competition is solely for clubs playing at Steps 5-7 and in blowing our own trumpet for once,  we are currently one of the leading clubs at Step 5, based on league positions.  If we believe we can win the thing, who knows?  We haven’t played in the competition for many years but our best ever effort was in the 2000-2001 season when we reached the 4th Round (last 32) only to lose to Oadby Town from Leicester by the only goal of the game.  That though is getting ahead of ourselves and it is important that 100% concentration goes into this afternoon’s match.

There is some fixture news.  The Under-18’s have been drawn at home to Cobham U18 in the 1st Round of the Grant-McLellan Youth Cup and will meet Cobham U18 here at Short Lane next Wednesday, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

The 1st Team will travel to Chessington & Hook United in approximately two weeks on Tuesday 14 October in the 2nd Round of the Southern Combination Challenge Cup, the latter having overcome Spelthorne Sports in the week, on penalties, after a 1-1 draw after extra time.

Finally today, a big thank you to Bob Lewis for his donation of the smart new cabin you cannot avoid seeing in the ground as you come in.  That will be up and running shortly and a big thank you also goes to Dan Butler, Chris Canderton, Simon Munns and others who helped in the demolition of the old building and the arrival of the new one.