A tortuous trip to Farnham Town on Tuesday night, following major problems on both the M3 and the M25, culminated in a 0-1 defeat for Ashford, the goal itself being a strong contender for the most “controversial goal of the season” award.

Once again, Ashford’s resources were stretched to the limit although various players had been allowed to miss the match for different reasons.  Both Jack Beadle and Mitchal Gough were amongst the absentees and they are, of course, key players for Ashford as was evidenced on Saturday at Camberley.  On the positive side though, there was a start for young Ilia Petrovic and he did well enough to be awarded joint “Ashford man of the match” with Samad Kazi.  Mason Roseboom, another youngster came on later and also managed some decent passing.

The pitch was extremely and unavoidably hard and inevitably three touches were generally needed when on a different surface, one would have sufficed.  Nevertheless both teams made a decent fist of it and although Ashford were on top in the earlier stages, there was some good enterprising play from both sides that drew appreciation from the audience, boosted by a commendable number of Ashford supporters who made the trip down.

Chances were fairly infrequent though and the pattern continued in the second half although Farnham went close with a fiercely hit free kick which hit the bar.  At the other end Samad Kazi had a great chance well saved, and Dan Fleming hit a couple over the bar.  Sadly the goal soured the atmosphere and nobody from Ashford could believe it was allowed to stand.  Firstly Russell Canderton was fouled and then keeper Tyler Tobin in quick succession.  The ball ran free and ended up in the net.  After some of the decisions that went against Ashford on Saturday, it was almost too much to put up with.  The club was warned that, overall, the refereeing standards would be lower at this level and sadly, albeit with exceptions, this has proved to be the case, but although this referee was not the worst, this particular decision just about topped them all, coming as it did some 15 seconds after a strong penalty appeal by Ashford for handball had been denied.  Soon afterwards, a ball driven at Rob Curtis, another strong performer last night, from point blank and much closer range then saw him penalised for handball.  It beggared belief.

It was a good job that the League did not depend upon it and well done to Farnham, the win removing any vestige of relegation fears for them.  Yet again though it raised questions – in recent weeks Ashford have played against Hanworth Villa, Frimley Green, Knaphill, Horley Town and now Farnham,  all of whom produced performances that, had they been consistent through the season, would surely have seen them in the top half of the table rather than fighting relegation.  Not a question that Ashford can answer though.

It was not all gloom this week though.  On Monday evening, fielding a team of mostly 16 year olds in the Ryman Youth League, Ashford went to Aldershot Town and won 4-0, a rare success in a frustrating season for the Under-18’s and one that hopefully augurs well for next season, when incidentally Nick Bailey will take over the management from Sean Caldwell who has landed a plum coaching job in Austria.  Nick and Sean have been working together recently.  For the record the scorers at Aldershot were Keji Adenyini x2, Lovelace Owuse and Jamie Walters (pen).

We move on to Saturday now and the final 1st Team match of the season, when we welcome our friends from Hanworth Villa.  There will be more on that one later in the week but just another reminder that all adults will be admitted for £5, partly to thank our loyal supporters who have travelled everywhere, sometimes in numbers, to support the team this season.  For all our junior players entrance is free but we would like you to wear your Ashford Town shirt if possible and get behind the team for what is bound to be another very tough match against a Hanworth side that are still not completely clear of relegation worries.