Ashford departed this season’s Middlesex Senior Cup at the 2nd Round stage on Tuesday, losing 1-3 away to Barnet FC at The Hive.

Once again the journey to get there was fairly tortuous and, pleasurable as it was for the players to have the opportunity to play on a superb surface at a Football League ground, we have suggested to Middlesex County FA that the early rounds at least should be regionalised.

As on Saturday, Ashford found themselves without key players due to injury but their absence does allow opportunities for others which they need to take.  As far as this match was concerned, Ashford still played some excellent football at times, coming close to scoring twice in the opening five minutes.  Up against players of the calibre put out by Barnet though, it was not enough as their players were more skilful and fitter than ours and, with the Tangerines showing them far too much respect, they carved open the defence three times in the first half to give them an unassailable lead at half-time.

To their credit, Ashford produced a far more committed second half:  some tackles were going in and whilst Barnet were always dangerous they did not look as unbeatable in the second period.  Arguably Ashford had the better chances and twice Barnet’s giant keeper somehow saved goals when it looked as if the ball must go in from firstly Jack Beadle and then Dan Fleming.  A free kick from Fleming hit the bar also.  Had those opportunities been taken, it might have produced a different outcome but Ashford could leave the pitch with their heads held high, finally seeing a reward right at the death from the spot, duly converted by Alex Fisher.  It was difficult to see what the award was for and Barnet certainly weren’t happy about it. 

Although it made no difference to the game, the refereeing seemed benevolent, especially to the home side, illustrated by a home player quite deliberately booting the ball away in the second half only to receive a friendly warning from Mr. Rea. It could be deemed to be sensible officiating maybe but the inconsistency persists and we remain more than aggrieved having to pay a £250 fine for having too many players booked against Hastings when every tiddly indiscretion resulted in a caution.  Only Yah-Ya El Kabouche went into the book for Ashford for the one foul he committed but in all honesty he couldn’t really argue about it, coming in late at the back of an opponent, which caused a managerial exchange of views for a moment or two.

A big thank you goes to those Ashford supporters who made it.  Barnet had plenty of stewards around, almost one each for everyone from Ashford and the difference between the levels was demonstrated at the end when at least five groundsmen came on to attend to any divots.

Ashford won’t lose too much sleep over this game as all attention is now concentrated upon the match at home on Saturday to Kingstonian in the FA Trophy.

Forthcoming Events

25 Nov 2017
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v AFC Rushden & Diamonds (H)
28 Nov 2017
07:45PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Hartley Wintney (a)