Ashford travel to Herne Bay FC on Saturday in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, having managed to get the better of Shortwood United in the previous round.

After tackling the cows on the road in deepest Gloucestershire, not to mention the narrow path leading to the football club at Shortwood, we now have to contend with the closure of various motorways in Kent tomorrow to remove the bridge that collapsed last weekend.  Because of that the coach will now be leaving Short Lane at 10.00 a.m. an hour earlier than envisaged to allow for the anticipated delays.  We would like to thank Herne Bay Match Liaison Officer, Peter Guise, for his assistance with travel details and the motor way closure.

The address of the ground is The Altira Park Stadium, Winch’s Field, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 5SG.  In normal circumstances it is a journey of around 96 miles each way, although it may be a little longer tomorrow due to the diversions, so supporters travelling independently probably need to allow plenty of time.

Apart from an FA Youth Cup tie some years ago, we have never met with Herne Bay before but they are members of the Ryman League, Division One South, in which they have finished in 9th and 8th positions respectively, since their promotion from the Kent League as it was then known.  Last season they reached the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup before bowing out to Hastings United following a replay, whilst this season they overcame East Grinstead Town by a solitary goal to reach this stage.

In the League this season, they endured a rather heavy defeat last Saturday at the hands of Faversham Town but suffered two sending-offs, including the keeper, so there were mitigating circumstances.  That has been their only league defeat so far, as they have won one and drawn two of their previous matches.

Should the scores be level after 90 minutes, there is no extra time and we will proceed to a replay at Short Lane on Tuesday evening.  Otherwise there is no match in midweek for the 1st Team.

The Under-18’s threw away a 3-1 lead in the Ryman Youth League Lucas-Fettes Cup on Wednesday when a strong Bedfont Sports team scored three times late on to turn the tie around.  We wish them the best of luck in the next round.  Ashford should not be too disappointed though as in the two matches so far this season, the squad under Mark Oliver certainly looks stronger than in recent seasons and if we stop conceding late goals they should be fine.