Following Sunday’s limp performance at AFC Dunstable, Tuesday evening’s match at home to North Greenford United in the 1st Round of the Middlesex Senior Cup assumed a rather greater importance than it might have done.  North Greenford play at one level below the Tangerines but they had recently been enthused by the appointment of a new manager and arrived at Short Lane with an 8-0 home victory over Chertsey and a 2-1 win over title challengers Epsom & Ewell under their belts in the previous seven days.

Manager Ben Murray made five changes, including a first start for Hakim Hammami after a number of sub appearances and the side had a determined look about it from the start.  The visitors were not overawed though and looked lively themselves in the opening stages.   There was almost a real set back for Ashford when Kav Keadell’s misplaced clearance nearly gave a goal away but the attacker with almost an empty net to aim at, failed to steady himself and shot wide.

After that initial flurry Ashford started to assert themselves and it was Hammami who put them ahead on 21 minutes.  A mistake at the back for the visitors had allowed the marauding Mark Bitmead, who once had a short spell at North Greenford, to advance and a fine effort came back off the foot of the post.  It rebounded though to Hammami who show how it should be done as he coolly sent his low effort into the net to open the scoring.

Soon afterwards, the visitors had to change their keeper who couldn’t carry on after coming down heavily as he claimed a high ball with nobody in close proximity.  The immediate prognosis was that he had suffered ligament damage and we send him our best wishes.

Despite this setback, the visitors did not crumble and with no further scoring before half-time, Ashford had to work hard for the second goal which arrived on 54 minutes.  Alex Fisher, skipper for the evening, with Russ Canderton on the bench, seemed to catch the visiting defence out with a long ball and Bitmead doubled the lead with a deft finish.

After the second goal Ashford assumed a greater control and, despite one effort which had to be cleared from the line, the result seemed reasonably assured.  It proved difficult to extend the lead though with North Greenford attempting to push up and play offside at every opportunity.  One or two of the decisions subsequently given in their favour looked distinctly marginal and Bitmead in articular was unlucky to see another effort ruled out but Ashford, now playing within themselves, made it three at the death when sub Kam English embarked upon one of those runs that have become his trademark and finished with aplomb.  With the visitors now showing signs of fatigue, Samad Kazi almost made it four with a run that saw him go past three defenders as if they weren’t there only to put his final effort just over the bar.

On an evening that saw no cautions for either side, thanks possibly to the genial and sensible Mr. Andrews in the middle, it was a good game for Ashford to recover their form as they look forward to the visit of Barton Rovers on Saturday.  It was mighty close but Tommy Brunton received the Ashford “Man of the Match” award after an assured performance in midfield

The 2nd Round brings a home game against another CCL side in the shape of CB Hounslow, who are doing well in their first season at Step 5, and will also probably see the return of more than one ex-Ashford player, in the shape of both Gavin and Stuart Bamford, along with Nick Hardy, Harry Driver and one or two others.  This match is scheduled for Tuesday 8 November.

Forthcoming Events

26 Mar 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Northwood (H)
31 Mar 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Uxbridge (H)
02 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Moneyfields (a)
04 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Wealdstone (a)
07 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Chalfont St Peter (H)
11 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Hendon (a)
14 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Marlow (a)
15 Apr 2018
10:30AM -
British Airways Vets v Bedfont Sunday Vets
16 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Staines Town (H)
21 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Hartley Wintney (H)
22 Apr 2018
10:30AM - 05:00PM
Middlesex FA Sunday Intermediate Cup Final
28 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v AFC Rushden & Diamonds (a)
10 May 2018
07:30PM -
Annual General Meeting
02 Jun 2018
11:00AM -
Junior Presentation Day and Evening
09 Jun 2018
09:00AM - 09:00PM
Junior Tournament