Ashford duly beat Epsom Athletic on Tuesday evening in the 2nd Round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup and will now travel to Epsom & Ewell (at Chipstead FC) in the 3rd Round on a date to be determined.

It should firstly be said that Epsom Athletic impressed everyone last night with both their spirit and discipline, especially in the face of some seemingly rather odd offside decisions in the first half that never came and which generally favoured Ashford.  Referee Tesilyurt was making his second appearance of the season at Short Lane and this time there were no problems whatsoever with neither side incurring a caution, which was good and he generally refereed the game well despite incurring manager Murray's displeasure on one occasion when he failed to stop play following a head injury.

The manager made a number of changes from Saturday’s side, including a full debut for 16 year old Harry Herdman, who did well enough to impress sufficient numbers of Ashford supporters for him to be voted Ashford “Man of the Match”.  A touch sentimental perhaps but he certainly showed he is one for the future.

The first half saw Ashford dominating possession without making it count.  Visiting keeper Jason McGregor was on top form and it took until five minutes before half-time before the break through was finally made.  A ball was squared to Scott Elgar who held it up well before slipping it to Alex Fisher, who slammed it home giving McGregor no chance.  Full back Fisher will doubtless now be wishing he had negotiated a goal scoring bonus in pre-season as this was his third goal in as many matches.

Having finally taken the lead, many expected the floodgates to open in the second half but Ashford continued to border on the lethargic and their visitors grew into the game to some extent.  Their hopes were dampened on 64 minutes though when a left wing corner from Scott Elgar eluded everyone and nestled into the far corner to double the lead.

Game over?  No was the answer as Epsom’s Carl Thomas got one back for his side five minutes later and the visitors suddenly started to believe they might get something from the game.  Ashford always had that extra little bit of class though and repelled boarders without too much difficulty seeing the match out with no additions to the score line.

Looking at the other results, although Cobham were the only Div One side to actually beat a Premier club, a few others went close, including Banstead who were defeated by the narrowest of margins by our next opponents in this competition, Epsom & Ewell, who went through on penalties (7-6) after a 1-1 draw after extra time.

Ashford’s Under-18 side are back in action tonight (Wednesday) when they travel to meet Wealdstone in the Ryman Youth League, kicking off at 7.30 p.m.  They have already drawn with Wealdstone this season at home, four apiece, after surrendering a 4-1 lead.  Whether young Herdman will be up for it again tonight after leaving the field looking exhausted in the last few minutes last night remains to be seen!

It’s back to the League on Saturday with the short trip to Bedfont Sports and there will be more on that one later in the week.