On a heavy but perfectly playable surface, Badshot Lea and Ashford found their main problem was not the pitch but the fierce wind that was blowing more or less straight down the pitch.

Ashford had it behind them in the first half and wasted little time in taking the lead on 7 minutes.  Jack Beadle and Alex Fisher conspired to set the latter free down the left flank and his low cross was met by the unmarked Mark Bitmead who carefully steered the ball into the net.

The remainder of the half though did not go so well from Ashford’s point of view.  Badshot Lea defended well but often they didn’t have to, as too many balls went astray in the wind, with crosses and shots sailing over the bar.  Scott Harris was rather unlucky to see his determined header ruled out, which would have given Ashford a second goal but there was no further scoring at half-time and the view prevailing amongst Ashford supporters was that one goal may well not be enough in the conditions.

They need not have worried though as Ashford found it far better against the wind, playing the ball on the ground as much as possible, and defending with purpose, with Will Boye and Samad Kazi at the heart of it, whenever they were required.

The Tangerines doubled the lead just before the hour mark with a goal of some class.  Bitmead started the move, finding Harris, whose clever ball behind the defence saw Dan Fleming the first to react and his quite deliberate lob to the far post gave the keeper little chance.

The home keeper had in fact kept his side in the match, making two point blank saves in rapid succession at one point but just five minutes after the second goal, he conceded again when it looked as if he might have done better, although there could have been a slight deflection.  Again the move came down the left with Tommy Brunton feeding Jack Beadle just inside the opposition half.  Unchallenged he carried the ball, cut inside the full back, as he does so often, and his low accurate effort went in at the near post.

To their credit, the home side did not relax their own efforts and probably should have pulled one back when a long ball caught Ashford out for once but the final effort sailed over the bar.

With the visitors generally dominant though, they had the last word in stoppage time, albeit with a little assistance.  Alex Fisher found himself wide right and with time to cross, he sent in a perfect ball.  Lea defender Elliott Hobden got to it first but miscued his header and sent it into his own goal to make the final score 4-0 in favour of the visitors and a very pleasing clean sheet.

Ashford’s travelling supporters voted for Tommy Brunton as “Ashford Man of the Match” but again there were any number of candidates.  The strength of the squad at the moment was perhaps demonstrated by the bench yesterday, composed entirely of players who would often be automatic starters, one being Max Webb who came on for the final quarter and was immediately in the heart of things.

Looking forward, Ashford’s match away to Knaphill on Tuesday evening is now back ON, as Sutton United could only draw in the FA Trophy yesterday and will thus not be available to play Knaphill in the Surrey Senior Cup, due to the replay taking precedence.  Please note that kick-off at Knaphill is 7.30 p.m.  There will be more on the match in due course but it would seem from the two previous matches this season, that goals will be guaranteed, the first game in the Surrey Senior Cup being won by the home side by 4 goals to 3, and the league match at Ashford a few weeks ago resulting in a 6-4 win for the Tangerines.

Next Saturday sees a welcome return to Short Lane, when Westfield will be the visitors.

Also, the Under-18’s have an attractive looking home match on Wednesday evening in the Ryman Youth League when Hendon U18’s will provide the opposition.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.