On a wet and windy night at Krooner Park, Ashford’s recent indifferent form continued as they were well beaten by Camberley Town in the 3rd Round of the League Cup by three goals to nil.

There are various theories both in and outside the club as to why Ashford have suffered something of a slump in recent weeks such as those who think the team is too young, those who think the more difficult pitches in the winter time are to blame and those who think the team was knocked off course when leading striker Mark Bitmead injured himself and has been missing for several weeks, only making a tentative return this week.  It may well be a combination of all of those things but those who watched the club in the earlier stages of the season will be aware of the quality in the playing staff and it will be turned round.  Ashford are still in second place in the table and a win at Cove on Saturday would open up everything up again, especially with the news that the league leaders have not applied for promotion, which means that the battle for second place will be  ever more important now.  Belief and confidence are probably the two most important words for Ashford to concentrate upon!

Ashford got off to the worst possible start last night despite playing down the slope in the opening period, conceding after just four minutes, when it looked as if the ball should most certainly have been cleared.  The grateful recipient from close range was Matt Bunyan.  The same could be said of the second goal on 33 minutes from Daniel Band.

Ashford’s only real response was a cracking effort on the turn from Dan Fleming from fully thirty yards or more which looked as if it may dip under the bar but a tip over from the very capable Camberley keeper thwarted the effort.

Ashford had a more determined look at the start of the second period and had the ball in the net only for offside to be given.  Indeed there was certainly no lack of effort but when Camberley’s Manny Quarshie  scored their third very soft goal, again from close range, following a throw in near the corner flag, which really should have been dealt with better, it was obvious that it would be the home side making deserved progression to the quarter finals.

Once again the refereeing seemed a little inconsistent, with one or two of the visitors’ fouls seemingly treated more harshly than those of the home side but that is a side issue, as indeed was the appearance of a substitute assistant at half-time from within the Camberley ranks.  That is never ideal but despite one or two shouts to the contrary, he was entirely fair.

Time to dust ourselves down, have faith in the team and the manager and get down to Cove on Saturday.  They have still lost just once in the league this season so fair play to them but they could only draw at Westfield on Saturday and lost at home yesterday evening 2-4 to Alresford, who are in the lower reaches of the Wessex League, in the Aldershot Cup.  Maybe the news that they will not be going up whatever happens will have an effect upon their players! Who knows but the address of the ground is Oak Farm Fields, Squirrel Lane, Cove, GU14 8PB.  Squirrel Lane is no more than a track and is the first left turn when you enter Romayne Close.  Follow the track round and the car park is front of you although there is a larger car park inside the ground alongside the pitch.  The Cove burger bar is also renowned for its excellent fare!

Back to the Camberley match and whilst there was not the usual enthusiasm for picking the Ashford “man of the match” (and a big thank you to all our supporters who made the effort to get there on a horrible evening weatherwise), the recipient was young Alex Fisher, who maybe came out of the match with the most credit within the Ashford ranks, certainly keeping the ball on the ground rather more readily than some of his team mates on this occasion.