For those who used the M25/M40/A40 route to reach Hanwell Town last night, where Southall play, it was a nightmare journey that took 2 hours to complete, despite the clubs being only 15 miles apart.  It was little better on the return journey, with a nasty looking accident reducing the A40 to a single lane at one point, resulting in a massive traffic jam.  Possibly a small price to pay if someone lost their life in what looked a very serious incident, so let’s hope that wasn’t the case.

From an Ashford perspective, the journey was worth it as the Tangerines played some excellent football in a 5-2 victory over Spartan S. Midlands side Southall.  That may be looked upon as nothing less than expected, given the current status of both clubs, but with Ashford’s recent poor form plus the fact that Southall are a very decent side and still going strong in the FA Vase, it was enough to re-build confidence and put Ashford in much finer fettle for the trip to Histon on Saturday.

The game could not have started any better for Murray’s men:  within the first 8 minutes Ashford were two up and seemingly coasting.  The first came on 7 minutes when the excellent Dan Fleming converted a low cross and then, a minute later, the second when Kam English generally giving his full back a torrid time, smashed in a shot that gave the keeper no chance.

The third goal arrived on 27 minutes and it rivalled the previous one for “goal of the game”.  A flowing movement down the left flank saw Fleming once again in the right place to make it count.

At this stage Southall had hardly been in the match but they did not lay down and some of their football was equally admirable.  It still came as a bit of a shock though when they quickly pulled one back before half-time and then another just six minutes into the second period.

On a nigh perfect surface for this time of the year and with perfect playing conditions, Ashford controlled the situation well on this occasion and eventually clinched the game when Fleming hammered in the fourth goal and Alex Fisher then popped up with the 5th very soon afterwards.

Southall’s Adam Louth was perhaps fortunate to escape with any sanction when he seemed to punch Harry Herdman in a clash before half-time but following the spate of bookings in Ashford’s two previous matches, it was possibly a relief that the match was controlled by referee Marvin Thompson, who did not once reach for his book, even when he possibly should have done so.  Mr. Thompson, incidentally was refereeing Ashford for the first time since 2008.

Apart from the result, there were other clear positives for Ashford, not least the return to action of goalkeeper Tyler Tobin after three months out.  Young Harry Herdman, stepping up from the Under-18’s, looked a far stronger player than last season and certainly did himself no harm with his performance whilst there was also a very encouraging display from the sub’s bench of debutant Arlan Kadima.

There will be more on the trip to Histon tomorrow but with Max Webb expected to be fit enough to return and no obvious injuries last night, Murray will have almost a full squad from which to select his side.

The Under-18’s, under the control of Nick Bailey, with manager Will Boye engaged with the 1st Team, emphasised their recent improvement with a 6-2 victory at home to Northwood U18 in the Ryman Youth League.  A good night all round!