Ashford Town Sunday team started the season with a 2-0 defeat at home to Park Royals in the Cup, followed by a 1-1 draw away against VOS in their first league game of the season.

On Sunday, they hosted AFC Grove in their first home league game of the campaign. Ashford Town, fielding several league debutants, started the match brightly and went ahead thanks to a 7th minute goal from Levi Jefford from close range. Ashford continued on the front foot and were awarded a penalty midway through the first half when Jefford was fouled 8 yards out just as he was about to shoot. Jefford took the penalty himself but his effort was saved by the keeper low to his right. Despite missing that great chance to double the lead, Ashford stayed in full control of the match and were creating chance after chance, only to be denied on several occasions by the AFC Grove keeper. In the 43rd minute, the visitors equalised against the run of play when the striker was played through and finished the chance nicely, which meant the half-time score was 1-1.

The second half started in the same fashion with Ashford well on top and scored 3 goals within 10 minutes to take a 4-1 lead. Firstly, James Cartwright scored with a powerful strike from 20 yards out before scoring again from even further out with an audacious effort which caught the keeper off his line, just 4 minutes later. He then turned provider with an excellent cross from the right which was headed in from 8 yards out by Will Haskins. This 10 minute spell effectively killed the game off and Ashford were now in total dominance. Jefford scored his second of the game in the 69th minute with a strong left-footed shot from just outside the area, before first-half substitute Jordan Smither made it 6-1 in the 75th minute. A minute later, it was 7-1 as centre-back Grant Kelly powered his way through the AFC Grove defence before latching onto a precise pass from Kelvin Karanja and sliding the ball underneath the keeper. It’s fair to say that, at this point, Ashford took their foot off the gas and conceded two sloppy late goals in the 78th and 81st minutes, but still ran out convincing 7-3 winners to register their first win of the season.

Man of the match: James Cartwright