Ashford faced a tough match at Redhill on Thursday evening, just 48 hours after the Middlesex Charity Cup match at Hanworth Villa. 

Redhill had to win, as a draw or defeat would condemn them to a relegation finish and given their recent vastly improved form, a hard and difficult match was anticipated.  The pitch was not the easiest to play on either but in one of their most dogged and impressive performances of the season, the Tangerines gave an impressive display over much of the match, eventually finishing 4-0 winners to prolong the promotion race.

Although the home side had the first real opportunity, following a slip by Josh Andrew, Ashford started like a train and should have gone ahead rather earlier than they actually did, with Mark Bitmead unable to get sufficient power into his effort.  Bitmead, full of running, then almost put Jack Beadle in but an excellent interception probably prevented a certain goal.  Ashford were not to be denied though and on 18 minutes Bailey Mummery turned and hammered the ball home after being played in by Bitmead.

Despite any number of chances Ashford were unable to increase their lead by the break and it was Redhill who came out firing at the start of the second half and they were unlucky just four minutes in when a snapshot hit the bar and rebounded out with some ferocity.  The game slowly turned again and in the 70th minute Bradley Wainwright, arguably enjoying his finest ever game in Ashford colours, scored from wide, with the keeper caught out.

Three minutes later and the game was safe as Ashford scored their third goal of the evening.  It was down to the persistence of Wainwright who robbed his opponent on the goal line, ran in towards the goal and rolled the ball across to the unmarked Jack Beadle, who made no mistake.

It was virtually all Ashford now and shortly before the end the fourth goal went in and it was the best of the night. Bitmead, running towards his own goal with the ball, turned and sent a perfect pass down the line for the marauding Andrew who slipped it across to the onrushing Wainwright who gleefully struck home his second of the night.

The “Ashford Player of the Match” award was a close vote amongst supporters but in the end it was shared between Wainwright and Scott Weight.  A big thank you goes to the sizeable number of Ashford supporters who travelled.

Had this match “gone wrong” one might have feared what could happen on Saturday when we welcome Sutton Common Rovers to Short Lane for our final home match of the season, for our third match in five days.  As it is, one would anticipate that the whole squad will be re-energised to keep fighting Camberley for that one promotion spot.

Our opponents on Saturday have had something of a mixed season in the League, but enjoyed a superb run in the FA Vase and were dumped out on an awful surface at Bowers & Pitsea after any number of postponements. 

Please note that subject to the approval of the referee and our opponents, there will be a minute’s applause prior to the match following the sad loss of long time supporter and ex-player Alan Pincham, whose funeral takes place at Hanworth Crematorium on Friday 29 April, at 2.00 p.m.

Also tomorrow, Alan Hill will be going round with forms for supporters to vote for the “Supporters Player of the Year”.  There are any number of candidates this season one would think.  Indeed, even if Ashford were to lose their three remaining matches, this will have been an excellent season with very few blips and if we do end up losing out to Camberley, who play at Guildford City tomorrow, we will be back even stronger next season and maybe even win a match in the FA Vase ourselves.