Ashford departed the FA Cup for this season on Saturday, losing 1-3 away to Herne Bay.

With crucial motorway closures, the journey to the North Kent coast, with three and a half hours on the bus, did not help the situation but it did not seem to bother Ashford in the first half, as the Tangerines took just 8 minutes to go ahead.  Sparkling work from Jack Beadle led to a pull back to Max Herbert, who found the net for his first ever goal for the Club.

Ashford were without regular keeper Tyler Tobin, injured by falling off a ladder, whilst Samad Kazi, the standout Ashford player against Egham on Bank Holiday Monday was absent on holiday.  Bailey Mummery was also still away and skipper Russell Canderton still injured but Romario Jonas was able to return, forming a generally solid partnership with Will Boye at the back.

In those early stages the absentees were not unduly missed as Ashford piled on the pressure and can only blame themselves for failing to add to the tally.  Herne Bay though had started to come into the game as the half progressed, even though more than one of their supporters were unhappy at half-time with the home performance.

One half sensed that one goal would not be enough and that sense crystallised as Ashford found themselves on the back foot almost from the resumption.  Despite Herne Bay dominating the possession though, Boye and Jonas looked solid, and with Scott Weight, in a defensive mid field position, looking equally strong, there was speculation amongst the Ashford supporters that Herne Bay had given it their best.  That proved not to be the case though as the equaliser arrived with 20 minutes left on the clock when keeper Kav Keedle, who had been playing well, misjudged a long throw and was unable to clear his lines, the ball ending up in the net courtesy of Mark Lovell.

Ashford had started to look strangely out of sorts at times but nevertheless, soon afterwards  the visitors had two golden opportunities to go ahead again.  Both fell to Dan Fleming but Ashford’s usually reliable striker saw his first effort supremely well saved by the home keeper and then put the rebound just wide.  Herne Bay went straight down the field and as another long throw caused problems, the home side found themselves in front for the first time as a half-clearance was volleyed straight in with gusto by Sam Hasler.

Ashford’s general play was screaming out for someone to get on the ball and pass it and it seemed strange that Tommy Brunton, ideal in the role, was held back until basically it was too late.  Kam English had also come on and he certainly had his moments down the left flank but the match was sealed with two minutes on the clock as Ashford were caught on the break, the scorer once again being Hasler

Ashford now have a full week to prepare for the next challenge which will be at home to Kidlington in the League next Saturday.  We thank Herne Bay for their hospitality and also for acknowledging the spotless way we left the dressing room, thanks to Luke Munns who has taken on this role whenever we travel.  This was the message received from Herne Bay:  Just a brief note to say a huge thank you to your team.

I have never seen the away dressing room at our ground looking so tidy after a game.  Our match day assistants are very grateful to your team. They have set an excellent example.

Good luck for the rest of the season.”

Likewise in turn we wish Herne Bay good luck in the next round.

With the 1st Team inactive during the week, the Under-18’s will take the spotlight on Thursday evening when they travel to play the Under-18 side of Potters Bar Town in the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  One day we’ll get a home draw in an FA competition!