A powerhouse performance from the Tangerines in the second half ensured another emphatic win last night, at Chertsey Town, by five goals to nil, with four goal hero Mark Bitmead deservedly taking the “Ashford man of the match” award as voted by supporters, of whom there were plenty at Alwyns Lane for the game.

In their previous home game Chertsey had actually beaten league champions Hartley Wintney but Ashford were on the front foot from the start as Ben Murray fielded exactly the same team as in the two previous games, with possibly the strongest bench all season.  It took just ten minutes to open the scoring, Mark Bitmead hammering home as the ball fell nicely for him.

Ashford could have scored more goals in that first period but Chertsey were not a beaten side at this stage and managed to cause one or two uncomfortable moments as the game progressed.  On a difficult surface, crisp passing football was inevitably limited but Ashford might have had a second goal with Bitmead being held back by a Chertsey defender who did not receive what surely should have been a yellow card.  Ashford’s indignation increased as Scott Weight did receive a card moments later, albeit fully deserved.

All was forgotten though as the second half got under way and possibly one of Ashford’s best performances over a long season ensued.  Five minutes in, Bitmead smacked home his second goal and just four minutes later, soon after ex-Ashford Keeper George Armstrong had been lucky to escape sanction for hauling down Bradley Wainwright, Ashford were awarded a penalty for a fairly blatant handball and Bitmead duly completed his hatrick.

Chertsey resistance rather fell away from this point on, even though they stuck to their task defensively.  They were unable though to prevent Wainwright from scoring the fourth goal and several near misses later Bitmead crowned a triumphant performance with his fourth goal, and Ashford’s fifth, on the night.

Whether Ashford can overhaul Camberley for the coveted promotion place remains to be seen but all they can do is to try to win at Epsom & Ewell on Saturday in their final league match and see what happens after that. Epsom are a very good side though, who were very much in the promotion hunt themselves until recently and will have other ideas but we shall see.  We need the same type of support at Epsom (Chipstead) on Saturday as we had last night, so Ashford supporters, please try and get there if you can.