Ashford threw away the opportunity to go to the top of the table on Saturday, losing 1-3 at home to Epsom & Ewell.

After an excellent start by the home side, the match turned upon a very early decision by the official to send Jack Beadle from the field of play, leaving Ashford with a mountain to climb.  Beadle was the victim of a poor tackle, seemingly unseen by Mr. Donaldson but he had no difficulty in seeing the retaliation and that was that. 

Ashford tried to make the best of it and probably had more of the ball throughout the first period although Tyler Tobin had his goal rattled shortly before the break, with the effort ending up going over the top.  Nevertheless, optimism was still strong at half-time that a positive outcome could be reached from Ashford’s point of view but Epsom’s Kyle Hough finished off a good move on 54 minutes that gave the visitors something to hang on to and, despite their best efforts, and some good football at times, Ashford rarely looked as if they could come back.

As the game went on, changes had to be made to try to push on for a goal and it was inevitable that gaps would appear at the back and with six minutes to go Panayotou appeared to have made it safe for the visitors when he doubled the lead.  There was something of a sting in the tail as Ashford were finally rewarded when Samad Kazi, a constant menace after coming on, made finishing look easy.  We were already into stoppage time though and as Ashford threw caution to the wind, up popped the dangerous Hough to score again and finally ensure an away win.

Reece Yorke, lent to us by Slough Town, had a strong game whilst James Cottee, signed from Chertsey Town, came on later and showed some nice touches.  It is important now to put this match behind us as we go into the second half of the season still in second place, with everything to play for.  On Wednesday we should have both Jack Mullan and Mitchal Gough back from holiday and suspension respectively as we travel to Leatherhead in the Surrey Senior Cup, whilst next Saturday we have the opportunity to make amends for Saturday’s performance.  More of this week’s matches, weather permitting, later.