Prior to the match at home to Sutton Common Rovers on Saturday, a minutes applause took place following the death of long time supporter Alan Pincham.  It was immaculately observed by both sides and we thank our visitors accordingly.

Playing their third match in five days, manager Ben Murray resisted the temptation to change the team that had won so well at Redhill 48 hours earlier and his decision was vindicated with a further three points in a 2-0 victory.  It is fair to say that the match itself was relatively mundane but there was a solidity about the Tangerines that got the job done, and thus prolong the promotion race for another week, with just Camberley and Ashford now involved, Epsom now unable to catch up.

Mark Bitmead hit an early free kick narrowly over the bar but SCR almost opened the scoring on 6 minutes in, when an excellent header from Phil Page was ruled out by an offside decision, which was certainly unfortunate for the visitors in that it was probably the best move of the match.

Although SCR were well in the match at this point, Ashford gradually asserted themselves and just prior to the half-mark, some desperate defending from the visitors, during which the ball was cleared off the line twice in rapid succession kept the scoreline blank.  Ashford finally got their noses in front in stoppage time in the first period, when Bradley Wainwright went down under a challenge in the area, leaving Alex Fisher to step up and direct his penalty low into the corner.  Ashford almost had another one immediately when SCR gave the ball away from the re-start and Jack Beadle sensing the keeper was off his line sent in an audacious effort which hit the bar.

On the hour mark Ashford doubled the lead.  Wainwright, later named “Ashford man of the match”  was involved again, dummying the ball to give Bitmead his opportunity to crash home his 37th goal of the season.  Max Webb came close to scoring soon afterwards as did skipper Russell Canderton.  SCR also had their moments but generally Ashford looked comfortable and, as an added bonus, Murray was able to give some game time to Perry Luckins and Dan Fleming, both returning from injury.  Fleming looked keen to make up for lost time and he could have had two goals in the final few moments, one effort being well saved and the other coming back from the cross bar.

It’s just a little less hectic this week, with two away matches to complete the season.  On Tuesday evening, the Tangerines go to Chertsey Town, who managed to beat Hartley Wintney in their last home game only to succumb 1-3 to Redhill on Saturday.  We know it will be tough though but we need to grind out another win if we can and we then go to Epsom & Ewell on Saturday.  They blew their big chance by losing at home to Camberley two weeks ago and are now out of the race but will doubtless be keen to beat us and they can play with no pressure.  Camberley are away to Chessington & Hook on Tuesday, although it may be played away from Chessington, and away to SCR on Saturday, before they play their match in hand, away to Hartley Wintney, on Bank Holiday Monday (kick-off 1.00 p.m.)

On to the Ladies, who recorded what is probably the highest winning score in a semi-final of all time, on Sunday, when they beat London Bari Ladies by 22 goals to 1 in the Sue Sharples Memorial Trophy.  The Final will take place against New London Lionesses on 15th May 2016 at Hampton & Richmond Borough FC.