An 88th minute goal for visitors AFC Dunstable meant a narrow defeat for Ashford on Saturday by three goals to two.

From the Tangerines’ point of view, this was a disappointing outcome but the performance overall was far better than the previous Saturday at Fleet Town.  Ashford manager Ben Murray rang the changes, forced to an extent, with the unavailability of Max Webb and Samad Kazi and also the departure of Kam English to Marlow earlier in the week.  The Club did not have to release the player as Marlow failed to sign the player within 21 days of their original approach but there is little point holding on to a player who thinks his future will be better elsewhere so he has gone.  Romario Jonas returned to the starting line-up at right back whilst Eli Ogunseye and Theo Alexis both made their full debuts for the club.  Against their high flying opponents, Ashford looked determined from the start to put the previous week behind them but that intent suffered an early blow when the visitors took the lead on 7 minutes, a low cross evading Tyler Tobin’s grasp, leaving Jermaine Hall to stroke the ball into the net.

Despite the recent indifferent form there is no lack of spirit within the team and Ashford got well on top after that and equalised on 24 minutes.  An effort from Mark Bitmead proved too difficult for Dunstable keeper Gary Malone (who played a single match for Ashford a few seasons ago) and as he spilt it Dan Fleming was on hand to force it home.

This was Ashford’s best period of the game and just six minutes later, Fleming did it again, as he put the Tangerines ahead from close range as Malone once again failed to gather from Bitmead’s effort.

The match was largely end to end and Ashford were indebted to Tobin for a superb stop from an effort by Jermaine Hall for the visitors.  Fleming almost then notched his hatrick but it was Dunstable who had the last word of the first half when in the second minute of 1st half stoppage time Will Boye made an attempt to tackle an opponent who was actually going away from goal at that moment.  Both players fell but it was adjudged a foul by referee Kyle and Hall made no mistake from the spot.  It was ironic as the additional time had largely come from an injury suffered by Bailey Mummery who was tackled with incredible force on the edge of the Dunstable penalty area earlier on.  His opponent may well have got the ball but the tackle was made with no concern for the safety of the player and Mummery was down for a long time receiving treatment.  Incredibly, the referee had allowed play to go on, for yet another injustice at the hands of officialdom suffered in recent weeks by Ashford.  That solitary incident should not though overshadow the fact that generally Mr. Kyle had a reasonable match and the game was played in good spirit.

At two apiece at the break, it was anyone’s match and the general view was that there would be further goals.  There certainly could have been with chances at both ends.  For Ashford, Dan Fleming was so unlucky not to score again when an astute lob over the keeper just went wide, whilst Mummery’s fierce effort suffered the same fate.  A draw had started to look inevitable and would have been fair but with just two minutes left, AFC scored the goal that gave them all three points.  A break down the left and a pin point cross gave Nathan Frater an almost unmissable opportunity to head home.

Despite the defeat, Ashford should remain in good heart for forthcoming games as it was arguably the best performance for some time.  There was no “Ashford man of the match” award this week but had there been one, Bailey Mummery would have been one of the main contenders, along with Dan Fleming.  Devante McKain had his best game for the club since joining on loan from Staines Town, whilst Ogunseye looked even faster than the departed English.  Alexis also showed some excellent touches in midfield.

On Tuesday evening, Ashford make the short but traffic ridden journey to meet North Greenford United in the 2nd Round of the Middlesex Charity Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  North Greenford’s game at home on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and we did offer them the opportunity to come to Short Lane, as they did last season, but they feel that everything will be OK tomorrow evening, so we should be on.

The address of the ground is Berkeley Fields, Berkeley Avenue, Greenford, UB6 0NX.  The draw for the 3rd Round does not appear to have been made or at least it doesn’t show on the County web site, which has not always been up to date this season but we can worry about that when and if we have to.

Sadly Ben Murray’s Under-16’s were defeated on Sunday in the semi-final of their County Cup losing by three goals to one whilst the Under-13 County Cup semi-final was postponed at Ruislip, so they will go again next Sunday.  The other junior results from yesterday were:

Larry U13s 0-2 Whitton

Craig U14s 1-4 Whitton

Ben U16s 1-3 Conquest (county cup)

Conor U16s 3-0 Met Police  


The Ladies duly won their league match against Putney Vale by 13 goals to nil, despite the loss of top scorer Ashley Cheatley who left the club last week, having signed a contract for Millwall Lionesses in the Women’s Super League.  There will a separate article on this in due course but in the meantime we all wish Ashley every success.