Ashford travelled to meet Bedford Town on Saturday, for the first time in ten years and for the first occasion in a competitive match and came away with a point following a 2-2 draw.

Overall that was probably the fairest result with Ashford having to batten down the hatches for much of the first half as the home side often laid siege to the away goal, a situation enhanced by Ashford giving away too many unnecessary free kicks in dangerous areas.  The second half was completely different as Ashford got on top for much of the time and deserved the two goals that rescued the situation and indeed, should have scored the winner right at the death when Mark Bitmead, through on goal, was only able to direct his effort straight into the arms of the grateful home keeper.

Ashford were without key players in Scott Weight and Dan Fleming, for reasons unknown to the writer.  Kav Keadell retained his place in goal whilst Bailey Mummery started, as did Samad Kazi, back from holiday.

On an excellent surface, Ashford did not start too badly with Kam English causing a problem or two with his pace but it was not too long before Ashford started to look somewhat lethargic and second best and it was no surprise when Bedford took the lead on 12 minutes through Lee Roache who finished off a decent left wing move.

Eleven minutes later Bedford doubled their lead following a very soft penalty award.  Keadell jumped for a high cross but could only get finger tips to it at best and he landed upon a Bedford forward.  It was completely involuntary but referee Cutmore, after taking an age, awarded a penalty to the home side, duly converted by their new signing, Nathan Frater.

Before half-time Bedford, who had ex-Ashford player Sam Balfour in their ranks, also hit the post and there wasn’t too much optimism within the ranks of the away followers at the half-time break.

However, no doubt heading the wise, if rather loud, advice offered by manager Murray, the Tangerines came out a different proposition for the second period and set about retrieving the situation.  The job became half done on the hour mark, when good work from Jack Beadle saw Bailey Mummery getting the deftest touch to divert the ball into the net.  The Bedford tannoy man credited the goal to Beadle but without Mummery’s touch, it would probably have gone just wide.

Although Bedford always looked dangerous when breaking, Ashford now had the bit between their teeth and Mark Bitmead found himself in on goal only to be pushed in the back in desperation by home skipper James Peters, leaving the referee with no option but to send him off.  Bitmead made no mistake and it was two apiece with around 20 minutes left, against ten men.

At that point it seemed quite likely that Ashford could well go on to take all three points but Bedford defended strongly and then out of the blue Tommy Brunton launched into a tackle that took just about everything and was sent off, thus evening matters up, personnel wise.  The referee said afterwards that Tommy’s feet left the ground and he was thus out of control. lThetwo sides bettled it out for the final ten minutes but neither could produce a winner even though, as mentioned, Bitmead had a golden chance to seal all three points.

There is still no midweek match so the next game brings another trip into darkest Bedfordshire when we make the journey to play Arlesey Town.  We next play at home on Tuesday 27 September when Fleet Town are the visitors, whilst on Saturday 1 October we entertain Uxbridge FC.  The game has been designated “junior day” with all our junior sides invited to the match and we also hope to welcome our guest of the day, Alan King of Hitchcock and King, who are have been our main sponsors for the last two seasons.