Ashford secured their 20th league win of the season on Saturday with a 3-2 victory away to Guildford City.

It sounded close and indeed the home side missed a glorious opportunity right at the death to equalise but over the 90 minutes Ashford enjoyed more of the possession and deserved the three points although, as mentioned they almost contrived to throw them away.

On a drying pitch accompanied by a stiffer breeze than predicted, both teams made a decent fist of it but the visitors absolutely dominated the first 20 minutes or so.  They had only one goal to show for it, when Dan Fleming hit one of his trademark free kicks on 16 minutes but it is not an exaggeration to state that Ashford could have been as many as four goals up in that opening period.

Nevertheless matters still seemed to be going the general way of the visitors despite the occasional worrying break from the home side but Ashford were becoming casual and were rocked out of their complacency when Guildford equalised five minutes from the break through Dan Stewart, who latched on to a through ball and rounded Tyler Tobin in goal.

The second period saw the home side continuing to look dangerous at times but so did Ashford and the deadlock was eventually broken when skipper Russell Canderton managed to loop a header back into the top corner of the net from a corner kick, on 70 minutes.  It made up for an early miss when he had crashed the ball against the bar from point blank range.

Eight minutes later Jack Beadle finished well to make it 3-1 and once again it looked like game over.  The young Guildford side though continued to make life difficult and in the 83rd minute they popped up with another goal of their own.  It was a good one as well with Nathaniel Williams somehow retaining the ball despite the close attention of three Ashford defenders and then rolling it back for Jack Collins to thump home off the post.

It made for an uncomfortable ten minutes or so but Ashford held out, albeit not exactly comfortably at times, although both sides had further chances, especially Guildford’s Stewart right at the death, but he shot over the bar.  Referee Harrison added a considerable period on, to prolong the agony, after adding just 10 seconds in the first half but in the end it was another three points and with the news that both Camberley and Molesey had suffered unexpected defeats, it was all the more important, with the manner of the victory becoming largely irrelevant.

The “Jack Beadle Ashford Man of the Match Award” went to Russell Canderton but it was a close run affair this week with multiple players receiving votes.  For the writer, one of the players who  stood out was Joe Green at right back, in for the injured Elliott Jones, and possibly enjoying his best match to date in an Ashford shirt.

Ashford will now turn their attention to a difficult Surrey Senior Cup semi-final away to Merstham on Tuesday but more on that one tomorrow.

Finally congratulations go to ex-Chairman and Club President Bob Parker upon his 75th birthday.