A workmanlike performance from the Tangerines on Tuesday evening saw them safely into the semi-final of the Middlesex Senior Cup, with a 3-0 defeat of Harrow Borough.

The draw has yet to be made we understand, but we will be playing one of, Northwood or Spelthorne Sports, Staines Town or Enfield Town.  As soon as it is available it will be shown on here.

Manager Ben Murray gave skipper Russell Canderton a rest and re-introduced Samad Kazi, unavailable last Saturday, into the starting line up.  With Perry Luckins cup-tied, Ilia Perovic came in on the bench.  Otherwise the starting line-up was unchanged with Max Webb still nursing a niggle.

On an evening when most of the CCL programme, including all six scheduled league matches, was wiped out, Ashford’s pitch once again rose to the occasion and was in nigh perfect condition.

In the first half Harrow played with the wind largely behind them although it was swirling about at times and it was gusty rather than sustained.  With the forecast being that it would strengthen through the evening, Ashford knew that if they could negotiate the first half safely, they would be more likely to be able to exert a greater pressure in the second period.

A poor foul on Dan Fleming just three minutes in saw the offender escape with a lecture, doubtless because it was so early on, but both sides played football throughout and at times it really was a pleasure to watch.  The visitors had the greater share of possession but Tyler Tobin, whose handling of a greasy ball was impressive throughout, was not unduly troubled.  Fleming had Ashford’s first effort of note just after the 20 minute mark but the competent Harrow keeper was more than up to it.  As the match progressed, Ashford enjoyed more of the ball and the level scoreline at the break was about right.

The second period continued in the same vein but it took two special saves from the keeper to deny firstly Fleming, whose angled low curler had looked destined to go in at the far post, and then Will Boye whose header was pushed over the top.

The match remained relatively even but Ashford were more than holding their own against their Step 3 opponents and made the breakthrough on 68 minutes.  It was Bailey Mummery who scored it, being put through albeit via a slight deflection and steering the ball wide of the keeper for an exquisite finish.

Harrow went looking for an equaliser and Ashford had to defend one or two dangerous free kicks in particular around the penalty area.  That said, Murray’s men continued generally to enjoy as much possession as their visitors and as the match went into stoppage time and the tension grew, it was relieved by a Jack Beadle special.  With Borough having little option but to press forward, Ashford counter-attacked and Jack had time to look up and plant his effort into the roof of the net giving the keeper no chance.

With referee Herb’s watch seemingly having stopped, the match went on, and on, but it was to Ashford’s advantage as Mark Bitmead put the icing on the cake with an effort that matched Beadle’s all the way.

Mr. Herb, who actually had a very good game, finally blew his whistle and Ashford were in the semi-final for the first time since the 2012-2013 season when they reached the Final.  The scoreline of 3-0 was slightly flattering given the two very late goals but there was no denying that Ashford had matched a skilful side, who played good football, all the way.  It would be very difficult to pick anyone out as the whole team were as one but the supporter vote for “Ashford Man of the Match” went to the versatile Samad Kazi.

We now look forward to the visit of Colliers Wood United on Saturday.  There is no room for complacency as on their day they are an excellent side with plenty of pace, and strikers who know how to finish in Mario Embalo and Dan Harding, the latter incidentally the current top scorer in the League.  Whether our visitors can match that attacking prowess at the back is maybe less certain but it would be a foolish man who bets on a nil-nil draw on Saturday.  More on the game later in the week.

The Under-18’s are due to be in action on Thursday evening, away to Northwood in the Ryman Youth League.  Northwood’s 1st team match was postponed on Tuesday because the pitch was waterlogged so there is a doubt.  Once we know for certain, the information will be put on the web site.

Finally, don’t forget we have our Race Night on Friday evening.  With sponsors for every race and all the horses sold, it should be a good night and should raise plenty of funds.  Hope to see everyone there.