Following the fine performances at both Bedford Town and Arlesey Town, Ashford surrendered all three points on Tuesday evening, losing 3-4 to Fleet Town.

It has to be accepted that if you concede four goals at home, you can hardly blame anyone but yourself and doubtless Ben Murray has emphasised that point to his players.   Unfortunately though, the outcome of the match was greatly influenced by an admitted error by the referee for Fleet’s opening goal on 19 minutes.  At both half-time and full-time Mr. Atkin accepted that he had made a big mistake in blowing his whistle for a goal when the ball was a yard or more from crossing the line.  Everybody stopped except Fleet’s Ben White who banged the ball in the net, only for the referee to award a goal when everyone thought he had stopped play to give Ashford a free kick.  The referee was eventually persuaded to speak to the assistant but apparently only to confirm that there had not been a foul of any kind, which there hadn’t been.  Why the assistant did not also tell the referee at the time that the ball was nowhere near crossing the line, when he was only too ready to confirm it later, God only knows.  At the time of the incident not everyone knew exactly what had happened but the sentences above were written exactly as the referee explained afterwards.

At the time Ashford had been enjoying the lion’s share of possession but the whole incident seemed to affect the Tangerines and Fleet, looking a useful outfit, belying their position in the table, took full advantage.  To underline that it wasn’t Ashford’s night something of a bullet header put the visitors two up.  Sadly the header came from Ashford’s left back Alex Fisher who was endeavouring to clear a dangerous looking cross.  Fleet then scored again on the stroke of half-time and it looked game over.

In the end it was but this Ashford squad possess incredible determination and on the hour mark they were given hope when a long ball forward to Samad Kazi on the right flank was skilfully headed on to Mark Bitmead, whose first effort was well saved but he put the rebound in with the keeper unable to recover.

The recovery then fell flat on its face when Fleet scored again with just 18 minutes left on the clock.  Kam English then scored the Tangerines’ second goal following a mazy run and the margin was reduced to a single goal in stoppage time when Samad Kazi notched his first of the season.  There was no time left though and the visitors left with all three points and well done to them.

Ashford will have an opportunity to put this match behind them on Saturday when Uxbridge are the visitors to Short Lane.