The day’s highest attendance in the CCL saw Ashford score another three goals and secure a further three points as they beat a resolute Mole Valley side by three goals to one.

Ashford were not at their best until the latter stages of the match and were stung when the visitors took the lead from the spot just on the half-hour mark.  It was given away in a penalty area scramble by skipper Russell Canderton, who agreed afterwards that the ball did hit his hand but it was one of those where it could hardly be said to be deliberate, as the law demands, and will have to be put in the “harsh” category.  Valley’s Liam Holden gave Tyler Tobin no chance.  To add insult to injury, Canderton was cautioned over the incident.

As so often happens it wasn’t too long before matters were evened up when Ashford were awarded a penalty of their own when Mark Bitmead was impeded and he made no mistake.

The second half still did not find Ashford playing at their full capacity for which credit to some extent must go to the dogged approach of the visitors but after seeing two more efforts hitting the woodwork and rebounding to safety, which has now happened something like a dozen times this season, Ashford were enjoying greater possession and it finally told in the 75th minute, although the goal was controversial.

Valley had conceded an unnecessary free kick out on their own right flank and Bitmead swung the ball inhigh towards the keeper.  He though misjudged it and although he managed to touch it on to the bar it dropped behind him before being cleared, but not before crossing the line according to the assistant referee.  It must have been a very close matter and maybe represents the sort of luck that Ashford never once seemed to get last season when they were at the foot of the table.

Valley protests were in vain though and just three minutes later there was no argument about Ashford’s third goal, which came from “Ashford man of the match” Jack Mullan.  A bullet header from a corner was without doubt the goal of the game and was enough to see Ashford through yet again.

New signing from Hanworth Villa, Philip Osuhar came on near the end for his debut and Ashford will be in good heart as they prepare for next Saturday’s 1st Round FA Vase tie at home to Sussex League side Loxwood.  There will be more on that one during the week, although it should be noted that if the scores are level after extra time the replay will be on the unusual night of Thursday 6 November.

Ashford were also aggrieved at a soft caution for Samad Kazi near the end but in a match that saw very few bad fouls, Mole Valley had more cause to be upset with referee Desai who managed to put six of their team in his notebook, which will undeservedly cost them an FA fine for so called multi-player misconduct, which really was not the case at all.

Other results yesterday were mixed as always but another defeat for Spelthorne at Farnham Town (1-2) saw them lose ground whilst Guildford City finally got their act together winning unexpectedly at Molesey by three goals to two, after being three up.  Ex-Ashford player Matt Baxter saw red for Molesey, with a Guildford player also leaving the field.  Cove scraped through 2-1 against Horley, as did Camberley at home to Epsom & Ewell (1-0) whilst Windsor were this week’s “odd man out” without a match.

There is no midweek match for Ashford this week but the Under-18’s will travel to Frimley Green on Tuesday evening for a Ryman Youth League match.

Finally it is good to see some consistency within the squad with a far lower turn over of players than in recent times.  To illustrate the point, Tyler Tobin, Conor Moody and Tom Brunton have all now passed the 50 match mark, whilst Samad Kazi is now over 100.  They all have a long way to go to beat Russell Canderton’s 529 whilst behind him are Mark Bitmead with 164 and Jack Mullan on 140.