Ashford duly made it ten league victories in a row with a 3-1 win but visitors Chertsey Town certainly did not make it easy for the Tangerines and played their full part in an entertaining match, in front of an excellent attendance of 162, which incidentally bettered the attendances at five Ryman Premier Division matches on Saturday.

Ashford were still without Dan Fleming but all the players who had missed the midweek League Cup tie against CB Hounslow returned and once again the bench looked extremely strong.  Chertsey had suffered a pre-match blow when two of their players went to Ashford in Kent by mistake and could only be named on the bench.

Chertsey had enjoyed a good win in the League Cup in midweek and were further buoyed when they took an early lead through Joe Jones on just four minutes following an uncharacteristic error at the back.  Veteran John Pomroy, who had gone close in the opening two minutes, also showed he had not lost any of his craft, despite the attentions of re-called skipper Russell Canderton and could not be ignored as the visitors looked eager to bring Ashford’s long winning run to an end.  Ex-Ashford defender Ben Ewing was a little too eager on one occasion chopping down Joe Hughes just outside the area and he will know he was fortunate to escape a caution from the generally benevolent Mr. Letheren in the middle, who nevertheless controlled the game sensibly, as evidenced with just the one caution near the end for one of the visitors.

Despite Chertsey’s best endeavours,  Ashford were starting to enjoy more possession and despite an unusual wastefulness at times when passing the ball around, an equaliser was looking likely, with both Joe Hughes and Mark Bitmead going close.  It duly arrived just on the stroke of half-time when a low cross from with Bitmead or Hughes (no-one seemed certain) found the lively Jack Beadle turning the ball in at the near post.

It was an important time to score and although Chertsey never once made it easy, one sensed that the tide had turned.  Indeed the writing was possibly on the wall as Bitmead almost at once hit a shot cum cross that became yet another Ashford effort this season to come off the woodwork.  There was no further scoring though before the break.

Chertsey suffered a blow just on the hour mark though when they lost central defender Steve Newman to injury and as Ashford continued to press, they eventually went in front with just over fifteen minutes on the clock.  Some good movement led to Hughes on the ball just outside the area and he let fly with a low effort that was past the keeper before he could move.

That just about ended Chertsey’s resistance and Ashford made is three with ten minutes left, through Russell Canderton.  A corner kick was not properly cleared and with the ball bobbing about it wound up in the net courtesy of Ashford’s longest serving player, making his 535th appearance for the Club.  There was an element of good fortune about the goal as, although completely accidental, it certainly touched Canderton’s hand before it crossed the line.

Jack Beadle was the worthy recipient of the “Ashford man of the match” award but once again, few could be faulted, apart from the careless spell in the first half.  There were not too many other league matches yesterday as the majority of the clubs were engaged in the FA Vase.  Cove though kept it up with a 3-1 home success over Guildford City.  In the Vase nine clubs won through and they will join those clubs who were exempt.  The draw for the 1st Round Proper will be announced on Monday and whilst it is always an unknown, the days when we always seemed to be drawn against Surrey or Sussex sides seem to be over.  The writer would almost bet that we will be drawn against a club from the Bedfordshire/Northamptonshire area but we will see.

There is no midweek match for the 1st Team this week but the Under-18’s will entertain Cobham U18 on Wednesday evening in the 1st Round of the Grant-McLellan Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Before that, on Tuesday evening, there is another match at Short Lane when Staines Lammas will host Sheerwater in the 1st Round of the RPM Records Division Challenge Cup, also kicking off at 7.45 p.m.