An unspectacular but solid performance against Chessington & Hook United on Tuesday evening saw Ashford safely into the semi-finals of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, where they are joined by Camberley Town, Farnham Town and, from Division One, Cobham, who managed to do what we couldn’t recently, and beat Westfield.

It was a far more spirited Chessington side that took the field last night and it was fairly clear from the start that a repeat of Ashford’s 7-1 romp in the league was unlikely to be repeated.  As the match progressed though, the Tangerines were starting to carve out the better chances and so it proved, when, in the 29th minute, in-form Dan Fleming scored, following an excellent run and cross from Jack Beadle, who was a handful all evening.  The finish was of some quality.

Ten minutes later it was Fleming again as Ashford doubled the lead.  This time the goal came from a corner kick from Alex Fisher that the visitors struggled to defend and it eventually fell for Fleming to head deftly into the top of the net.

To their credit Chessington certainly did not wither and applied considerable pressure at the start of the second period.  Scott Weight though, playing in an unfamiliar central defensive position, along with Samad Kazi, stood firm and kept the troops marshalled, although Chessington’s Ade Oketoki often looked dangerous in possession.  This was somewhat nullified though by his propensity to stray offside far too readily.

There were chances at both ends and Chessington missed one golden opportunity to pull one back when a simple header was misplaced.  The game became a little feisty but referee Kissi generally had control and with time running out, Ashford looked ever more comfortable.  They should have scored a third goal close to the end when energetic work from Bradley Wainwright saw him cross to Mark Bitmead who had the goal at his mercy but Ashford’s leading scorer fluffed his lines on this occasion, only able to direct his effort into the keeper’s grateful grasp.

It was not one of Ashford’s most classic performances but in terms of game management there could be few complaints and the semi-final draw is now awaited.  Supporters voted heavily in favour of Max Webb, restored last night to the starting line-up, as Ashford’s “man of the match” and he deserved it for a strong and determined performance in midfield.

Next up is a trip to Redhill on Saturday, when presumably both Will Boye and Josh Andrew will be available for selection, both being cup-tied yesterday evening.  Club skipper Russell Canderton may also be back, after missing out last night with a knock.

Secretary Geoff Knock has confirmed that Ashford’s home match against Enfield Town in the quarter-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup will take place on Tuesday 5 April.