An unusually sparse attendance, no doubt due to the Christmas period, saw Ashford do enough to overcome a stubborn Raynes Park Vale side on Saturday by two goals to one.

With only occasional glimpses of the football Ashford are capable of, the early part of the match was largely a stalemate but the break through eventually came just four minutes before the break, when a clumsy tackle in the area saw Mark Bitmead step up and thrash the ball home from the spot.

In the opening period of the second half, Ashford looked more impressive and just after the hour mark Dan Fleming got on the end of a ball in the box and showed great technique to strike it home on the volley.  The visitors almost started to lose some discipline but they re-grouped and settled down to ensure that Ashford never had an easy ride.  Generally though Ashford looked strong at the back, with the visitors’ main threat coming from set pieces, especially corners, but when Vale’s Smart pulled one back in the 90th minute when the ball seemed to roll along the line before being forced home, it gave Ashford a torrid last five minutes as the referee allowed plenty of stoppage time.  They held out though and three valuable points were secured.

The Chad Beadle “Ashford Man of the Match” award went to Dan Fleming who was impressive all afternoon, not only for his dexterity in front of goal but his non-stop running and harrying, but it was a close thing with the rejuvenated Samad Kazi looking particularly energetic down the flanks.

Other results saw Molesey winning by three goals to nil in the “big” match of the day at Windsor, whilst Cove won 2-1 at Colliers Wood.  With Camberley and Spelthorne out of action though, the three points ensured that Ashford would retain second spot in the table going into Christmas.

Next Saturday Ashford entertain Spelthorne Sports, in an all-Spelthorne derby, kick-off 3.00 p.m. but more of that one later.  In the meantime, the Club will be open every day through the break, including Christmas Eve, and lunchtime on Christmas Day when it will be good to see anyone who can pop down.  Friends and relatives are all very welcome.