Against a good team, Ashford fought out a 1-1 draw at home to Bedford Town on Saturday.

Ashford looked very lively at the start and went ahead on just five minutes when Mark Bitmead and Dan Fleming combined to send Kam English in.  Kam still had plenty to do but Ashford’s on-form player made light of it as he planted the ball firmly in the net.

The visitors started to come into the match but had hardly threatened until they levelled the scores on 18 minutes.  Ashford conceded a daft free kick wide on the right and a fairly straightforward cross allowed Bedford’s unmarked Lee Roache to  head home from close range.  From Ashford’s point of view it was a poor goal to concede although a good enough header.

After that the match was fairly even for the rest of the half with plenty of effort but definite goal scoring opportunities were relatively limited.  The second half continued in much the same vein although Ashford certainly improved their possession percentage.  As the game drew to a close, a fairly soft foul on Scott Weight saw the Tangerines awarded a penalty but unfortunately Dan Fleming, after two impressive penalties in recent weeks, got underneath the ball and it went over the top.

There were further scares and opportunities at both ends, with Tyler Tobin excelling on more than one occasion, whilst his counterpart in goal for the Eagles looked equally solid.  In the boardroom at least, both sides agreed that it was a fair result overall.

The vote for “Ashford man of the match” went to Samad Kazi by a significant margin, for an immaculate display at the back bot others also played well, not least Mark Bitmead, who has suffered something of a slump in the goal scoring stakes recently by his own standards but he worked his socks off for the team, popping up at left back on one occasion to clear a dangerous situation.

Player news is that goalkeeper Kav Keadall has gone to Spelthorne Sports to ensure he remains active but by agreement we have retained his registration.  Also it is understood that Romario Jonas is back in training after dislocating his shoulder two months ago.  Max Herbert was unwell on Saturday.

Ashford now face two very tough away matches, firstly at Marlow on Tuesday evening and then Kempston Rovers on Saturday.  The address of the Marlow ground is The Alfred Davies Ground, Oak Tree Road, Marlow, SL7 3ED.  Kick-off is 7.45 p.m. and hopefully the traffic will be less severe than it was when we went there shortly before Christmas only for the referee to postpone the match due to a frozen surface.  Marlow have done well in recent months despite losing at home to Egham on Saturday and currently sit in 5th place in the table.  We did enjoy a fairly convincing win against them at Short Lane early in the season though.

The Under-18's are in action this midweek and will be playing at Wealdstone on Wednesday evening in the Ryman Youth League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

The majority of our junior sides are also continuing to do well and here are yesterday’s results:

Chris U8s 4-2 Manorcroft

Andy U9s 3-1 Walton

Joe U12s 1-6 Caterham Pumas

Larry U13s 4-1 Halliford

John U13s 4-3 AFC Ewell

Paul U13s 0-1 Caterham

Fin U14s 5-2 Shelton Athletic

Martin U15s 2-1 SCR Colts

Ben U16s 6-2 Barnes Eagles

Conor U16s 1-2 Binfield

Simon U16s 1-12 NPL 

Next Sunday no less than three of our sides have reached the quarter finals of their County Cup.  Paul’s Under-13’s will be away to Old Isleworthians, whilst Fin’s Under-14’s will be away to Pinner United.  Ben’s Under-16’s though will be playing at home to Teddington with the match taking place at the Cricket Club, kicking off at 10.30 a.m.

The Ladies suffered a rare defeat yesterday losing 3-4 to Hemel Hempstead in the John Greenacre Trophy.  Ashford’s scorers were Laura Huse, Vicky James and Irisha Smith. Next Sunday the Ladies play away to Greenhouse Sports in the Greater London Women’s League.