A nightmare journey, thanks to grid lock on the A30, and with Hartley Wintney in less than understanding mood concerning any possibility of a delayed kick-off, Ashford found their pre-match preparations hindered to say the least.

In the end the match kicked off barely late in front of the home side’s new influx of supporters and the first half was an even, bruising affair that led more than one person to wonder if the match would finish with 22 players on the field.  The worst incident was a lunging tackle from Mark Bitmead that rightly saw him cautioned.  The referee then missed not one but two blatant retaliatory kicks on Bitmead that should have seen the offender dismissed.  The assistant referee clearly saw what happened but decided to stay mute.

By half-time, the home side had hit the top of the crossbar twice, whilst Ashford saw a snap effort come off the post and be diverted to safety by a defender.

The war of attrition lessened to a degree in the second period and it was starting to look as if the first team to break the deadlock would put themselves in with a good chance of winning the match.  So it proved with Hartley scoring the first goal from a good finish by Ross Cook.

Ashford’s reaction was disappointing as they started to go long too often which played into the hands of the well drilled home defence.  As a result they rarely looked as if they would get back into the match, especially with Bitmead off the field, injured.   A second goal clinched the points for Hartley Wintney albeit that the referee had suddenly decided that Scott Weight had a drop of blood on him and controversially made Ashford’s tallest defender go off for the corner kick that led to the goal.  He hadn’t worried about it at any previous time in the half.  We managed to play football for 100 years or more without anyone dying from Aids or anything similar and this present day requirement can be so frustrating, especially when, as in this case, it came from a stray elbow in the first place.

Quite frankly though, the second goal, despite the individual circumstances, only underlined the stranglehold that Hartley Wintney had managed to secure on the match by this time and overall they deserved the three points.  That said, there were some good individual performances from Ashford and this writer would pick out Joe Robson who dealt with a tricky winger very well, and Samad Kazi who was determination personified throughout.

If Ashford had cause to complain about the assault on Bitmead, it could also be said that keeper Tyler Tobin was fortunate to stay on the pitch when he clattered a Hartley forward as he raced out.  It was just outside the area and with the attacker driven wide, it could not be said to be a clear goal scoring opportunity but the force of the collision could have seen him sent off for violent conduct.  As it was, the referee contented himself with a yellow card.

Ashford will look forward to the return match in March.  Let’s hope the visitors are not late.

Forthcoming Events

26 Mar 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Northwood (H)
31 Mar 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Uxbridge (H)
02 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Moneyfields (a)
04 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Wealdstone (a)
07 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Chalfont St Peter (H)
11 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Hendon (a)
14 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Marlow (a)
15 Apr 2018
10:30AM -
British Airways Vets v Bedfont Sunday Vets
16 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Staines Town (H)
21 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Hartley Wintney (H)
22 Apr 2018
10:30AM - 05:00PM
Middlesex FA Sunday Intermediate Cup Final
28 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v AFC Rushden & Diamonds (a)
10 May 2018
07:30PM -
Annual General Meeting
02 Jun 2018
11:00AM -
Junior Presentation Day and Evening
09 Jun 2018
09:00AM - 09:00PM
Junior Tournament