This was Ashford’s heaviest defeat of the season in terms of goals but not in terms of the performance.  On a difficult surface (to say the least) that gave neither side the opportunity to play any form of cultured football, Ashford resorted largely to a long ball game and were on top for long periods in the first half, despite missing key personnel once again.

Badshot Lea though are high on confidence at the moment and try as they might, Ashford were unable to break them down.  Dan Fleming was back in the starting line up and he was at the forefront of any chances carved out by the visitors but he was maybe rusty and twice it was the cars in the car park at most risk of damage as he struggled to find his range.

Just after the half hour mark, the home side scored the important first goal or were rather presented with it.  Mitchal Gough, filling in at centre-half had looked imperious to that point but an attempt to head the ball back to Tyler Tobin in goal fell short and Badshot’s Gavin Muir made no mistake.

Within 15 seconds of the second half starting, came probably the defining moment of the match when Fleming finally hit a screamer of shot that looked a goal all the way but ended up just off target, brushing the woodwork on its way.

It could have been all square and game on but within three minutes Badshot doubled their lead with Gough once again the culprit as another misplaced header found its way to the dangerous Dan Turner and he accepted the gift with alacrity.

Ashford looked stunned having generally played well with no reward but the bottom line was that, unlike the home side, they failed to take what chances they had and a third goal deep in stoppage time, scored by ex-Ashford favourite Jon Palmer only deepened the frustration of the day.

There were though positives to the day for Ashford.  Max Webb, once again, was voted “Ashford Man of the Match” by the visiting supporters whilst debutant Sam Balfour looked lively when he came on.  Gough is not the type of player to allow a mistake or two to affect his performance and he certainly didn’t do that.  Leading scorer Mark Bitmead will be back for next Saturday’s match at home to Colliers Wood United and there is the possibility of two significant new signings before that.

After a poor start to the season, Badshot Lea, despite their recent excellent form are unlikely to challenge at the end of the season being too far behind but they still have to play most of the other top challengers and are certainly capable of taking points from any or all of them if they maintain their current momentum.

There is no midweek 1st Team match this week but Ashford will entertain Colliers Wood next Saturday, as mentioned.  Colliers Wood themselves have an interesting home game against Camberley Town on Wednesday should anyone fancy a sneak peak!

Also this week, Molesey entertain Windsor on Tuesday in what will be a highly intriguing match.

Back to Ashford and don’t forget we have a Race Night at the Club on Friday evening when everyone is very welcome.  Please come and spend a few pennies as January and February are always difficult in income terms and you may go away with a good win.