On a bog of a pitch, that made any normal football difficult, to say the least, Aylesbury and Ashford share the points in a 2-2 draw on Saturday, and fair play to both sides who gave spectators a committed display despite the conditions.

Despite once again being without key players through injury and suspension, Ashford started well and Max Webb had an early effort saved by the keeper but on six minutes Aylesbury took the lead with one of the poorest pieces of defending all afternoon.  A routine high ball seemed straightforward enough to be cleared without real pressure but it wasn’t and with Tyler Tobin wrong footed, Aylesbury’s Brian Haule put his side into the lead.

Ashford to their credit fought back with gusto and no little skill at times and the equaliser arrived just after the half hour mark when Jack Beadle, looking back to his best form, slotted home to level things up.  The opportunity came following excellent work by Tommy Brunton to win the ball for Samad Kazi to shoot.  It came out and Jack was on hand to ram it home.

With the pitch becoming ever wetter and the tackles flying in, it was inevitable that referee Gill would be busy, with Scott Weight picking up a booking for a deliberate trip, which on another day could have been deemed serious foul play and a red card.  Matters got worse though on the stroke of half-time, when Aylesbury’s Ty Deacon suddenly threw a punch at Max Webb in a mad moment, when he did not get the foul he thought was merited.  The referee had no choice but to send him off for violent conduct.  To his credit, Webb made no effort to retaliate.  A number of others, inevitably, involved themselves but Mr. Gill blew for half-time to allow everyone to cool down.

Facing ten men in the second period, the advantage had swung in Ashford’s favour but although they held territorial advantage for much of the half, poor and hurried finishing ruined a number of good opportunities and sure enough it was the home side who broke away and it was Haule with a cool finish who put his side ahead for the second time.  Minutes earlier Ashford had been incensed when Aylesbury’s giant defender Derek Feyi had attempted to pull down Beadle as he ran through, only for the referee to play an assumed advantage which came to nothing.  Feyi escaped without even a yellow card.

Ashford persevered though and once again it was Webb at the heart of it, crossing for Samad Kazi to power home an unstoppable goal for the Tangerines.  After that matters rather petered out and whilst it could and should have been all three points, the conditions had taken their toil and with Haule showing all his experience up front for Aylesbury whenever he had the opportunity, a draw seemed satisfactory enough on the day.

If anyone is still wondering why Mark Bitmead is an automatic selection for Ashford when fit, one only had to look at the number of chances created through excellent play that were not taken for one reason or another.  Tommy Brunton, Jack Beadle, Max Webb and Samad Kazi all had excellent matches for the Tangerines but all of them had good chances to score and couldn’t take most of them.  In the end Beadle took the “Hitchcock & King Ashford Man of the Match Award” and it was well merited although others were close, but the whole side deserved their applause at the end.  Effort and determination remain at 100% despite the indifferent run in recent times.  Well done also to the number of supporters who travelled, many thinking it may have turned into a wasted journey.

On Tuesday this week, Ashford have a “Meet the Manager & Players Evening” when individual player sponsors can have their photo taken with their chosen player and there is also an opportunity to quiz the manager and players upon anything you wish to ask.  In addition, there will be hot food for everyone, plus bar deals and plus the big European matches on television.  Everyone is welcome to come along for a good evening.

The next 1st Team match is next Saturday when we host Kempston Rovers.  We played in midweek at their ground earlier in the season and lost 2-3 on an evening when we had almost a whole squad missing for one reason or another.

The Under-18’s, now reinforced with a number of 2nd year players travel to Aldershot Town on Wednesday evening, and will be boosted to an extent by their draw at Northwood last week.  Meanwhile the Ladies fought out a 2-2 draw against Godalming on Sunday, with both sides having their eyes upon winning the division.

Weather permitting, the Tangerines will travel to Aylesbury FC on Saturday.  The address of the ground is the SRD Stadium, Haywood Way, Aylesbury, HP19 9WZ and kick-off, as normal, is at 3.00 p.m.  Aylesbury have told us that the pitch is sticky but playable although any signifiiant rain on Saturday morning could put the game in peril.  As soon as there is any news it will be put on here up to 12.30.  After that, please phone the club 01784 245908.

Aylesbury are currently in 17th place in the table and their recent form has been about as unproductive as ours and quite similar in that they arrested their slid on Tuesday evening with a 1-1 draw at home to Fleet, after losing a number of matches in a row.  Manager is Davis Haule who had a fairly short spell with Ashford in the past.  Goals from Jack Beadle and Romario Jonas gave us a 2-0 victory back in September but in recent seasons results have generally been even between our two clubs.

A mention goes this week to our Under-18’s.  All first years until now, frankly they have struggled all season but a recent influx of second year players has helped and they managed a creditable 1-1 draw at Northwood on Thursday evening.

After today we will be back at Short Lane next Saturday when we entertain Kempston Rovers at Short Lane. 

Before that though there is an invitation to all supporters to come down to the club on Tuesday evening when Ben and the 1st Team players will be there to socialise and to answer any questions you may have.  There is also European football on at the club, FC Basel v Manchester City and Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur.  There is also a meal available for anyone who wants one, which will be chicken curry or vegetable curry.

We also have a bar offer going on as follows:

Prosecco  £10 a bottle

6 bottles of beer £15

£3 pint

Offers will last until the European matches are over

Please come along and support us and have a good and hopefully interesting evening.

 

It is fair to say that, in normal circumstances, a home draw against Northwood would not have merited any special attention but on Saturday, after seven consecutive losses, the point in a 2-2 draw was greeted with both relief and enthusasm by Ashford supporters.

The rather dismal display against Hanworth Villa in the week was forgotten as Ashford fought with incredible determination to end this unfortunate run that, generally has been undeserved.  Indeed apart from the Villa match on Tuesday and the second half performance against Hanwell Town, the Tangerines have deserved far more than the “nul points” that has been the outcome in recent matches and, without getting carried away,  everyone will be hoping that matters are back on track now that the slide has been arrested.

It was all Ashford at the beginning and the early lead on nine minutes was well deserved.  It came from a free kick taken by Jack Beadle which found its way to the far post and right back Elliot Poley slid in well to turn the ball in for his first ever Ashford goal. 

Northwood had not really been in it at that point but they began to show that they have some useful players and they equalised on 24 minutes with a fine movement that saw an Ashford attack broken up and the ball swiftly transferred to the other end, culminating in a headed goal from Wilson Chingoka.

That goal brought the visitors fully into the match and it was end to end stuff, with the extremely soft pitch and the incessant rainfall making life difficult for both sets of defences but exciting for spectators.

There was no further scoring before half-time but within nine minutes of the restart Ashford got their noses in front again.  This time it came from the penalty spot.  Tommy Brunton advanced into the area and an attempt to tackle him was a soft but clear foul.  He tried to stay on his feet and may have forced the ball into the net but referee Dyson was quick to bring the ball back for the penalty.  Northwood were incensed but there was no changing the official’s mind and Alex Fisher made no mistake.

Teams are often vulnerable immediately after a goal and it took about a minute for Northwood to equalise for a second time.  Once again it was Chingoka who forced the ball home after an almighty scramble in the goalmouth.

As the match entered its final phase, Ashford rather regained the ascendancy and had more than one opportunity to score again.  Northwood keeper Xavi Comas was in top form though and stopped just about everything thrown at him.  Ashford were convinced they should have had a second penalty when Max Webb was brought down but the referee deemed that the foul had taken place just outside the area and the free kick came to nothing.  Northwood continued to look dangerous on the break and Ashford had cause to be grateful to Tyler Tobin in goal on more than one occasion.

In the sapping conditions, neither side could muster up a third goal though which would surely have won the match and it ended in a point apiece which was enough though to have the home supporters cheering their side off after a determined performance against a side who belied their 16th position in the table and who were also clapped off.   Poley, who enjoyed a fine match apart from his goal was voted the “Hitchcock and King Ashford man of the match” but just about everyone merits a mention.  Tom Howard was superb in midfield until he went off with cramp near the end, whilst Jack Beadle, James Cottee and Tommy Brunton were all prominent throughout the match.

For the first time in ages there is no midweek match so the squad will have a chance to recover and prepare fully for next Saturday’s encounter away to Aylesbury, more of which in the week.  The Under-18’s are due to be away to Northwood on Thursday.  The Ladies match against QPR had to be postponed on Sunday as the pitch was in no state to stage the match after Saturday, so it will be a blessing not to have a game on it during the week.  Next Sunday, the Ladies are due to be at home to Godalming Town Ladies but possibly the postponed cup match against QPR will be given preference.

The tickets are now available for the Ladies’ Hen Night on Friday 9 March which is being organised by Sally (Mash) and promises to be some night.  No men allowed other than the performers of course!  Just phone the club (01784 245908) or contact Sally, the cost is only £10 per lady.

Mid season reinforcements: New Club of the Month sponsor announced

The Southern Football League has confirmed that their Club of the Month Awards will be sponsored by GamblingKingz.co.uk, an independent online gambling news service and industry commentator that seeks to provide concise and accurate information about the online gambling industry to its rapidly expanding readership.

Proceeds from the GamblingKingz.co.uk Club of the Month Awards sponsorship will contribute to supporting the league and every club within the three divisions.

Warren Aronson, Director of Gambling Kingz, said:

“We are delighted to be sponsoring the club of the month awards and providing funding to develop this historic league even further. There are some fantastic clubs in the Southern League and through these awards will shine a light on the clubs that are putting in stellar performances week in, week out.”

The Southern League Chairman thanked Gambling Kingz for their agreement to sponsor the awards.

League Chairman Terry Barratt said, I am pleased that Gambling Kingz have agreed to Sponsor our Club of the Month Award. It is always pleasing when you welcome a new Sponsor and particularly as it gives our Clubs the opportunity of Winning a Cut Glass Salver and a Voucher for every Month of the Season. This will apply to each of our 3 Divisions in the League and as agreed with the Board we will be back dating the Awards to the start of the Season in August”.

Gambling Kingz wishes all clubs the best of luck for the remainder of the season.

Ashford, of course, have won the "Club of the Month" award earlier this season so will be a beneficary of this latest sponsor agreement negotiated by the League

 

 

Ashford are going through what has now become a prolonged inability to win a game of football, or even score a goal.  In most of the seven match stretch since a win, the team has not played poorly very often and have often been highly unlucky, but on Tuesday evening, it can’t really be denied that it was an indifferent display all round that led to visitors Hanworth Villa winning by two goals to nil, to advance into the semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup, a competition that we won last season with a fine win over a full strength Wealdstone side.

Seven of the side that won the Final played on Tuesday evening and they have not become poor players overnight so why this slump has occurred is not clear, especially after the first part of the season when we were scoring goals for fun almost.

Internal tempers were frayed after the match on Tuesday with moans and groans coming from all quarters but only hard work will put the matter right.  Everyone gets disappointed when we lose and minor matters get magnified, but it is at times like this that the players need supporters to encourage, no matter how hard it is at the time.

As to the match, there is no denying that Villa were deserved winners.  The first goal on 10 minutes, after a bright Ashford start, during which visiting keeper Alex Partridge pulled off a fine save from Jack Beadle’s effort, was something of a wonder strike, hit with swerve and pace that Tyler Tobin almost reached to tip over the bar but couldn’t quite make it.

The second on 28 minutes came from an under-hit back pass that was seized on by ex-Ashford player Cyril Ocansey who made no mistake.

That was it for the first half and Ashford certainly improved in the second half.  It was only to a limited extent though and Hanworth, content to largely sit back, absorbed what pressure there was without difficulty.  The only real chance came right at the death when young sub Leo Decabo suddenly weaved a little magic as he went past two defenders with only the keeper to beat.  Unfortunately Partridge guessed right and kept the ball out for what would have only been a consolation. Ashford had debutant Daniel Emoven playing at left back, with Alex Fisher pushed up, and he did OK.  There will be missing players back on Saturday.  There is also possible expectation that a proven goal scorer will have been signed in time.for Saturday, when we entertain Northwood, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

They are the latest draw specialists with three of their January games ending all square, the other resulting in a 3-1 home win over Arlesey, who remain rock bottom.

 

At the end of the day it was another clean sheet and three more points in the bag as Ashford beat Petersfield Town by the only goal of the game, scored by Mark Bitmead on the stroke of half-time.

It was not a match to stir the blood and the unexpectedly windy conditions certainly did not help.  Petersfield came with a plan to defend and, presumably, hit Ashford on the break and for much of the time it worked although the visitors were rarely able to offer any real threat.  Indeed, the Tangerines attacked incessantly throughout the first half and should have been comfortably ahead at the break.  Frustration was starting to settle in but with referee Pattinson preparing to blow his whistle for half-time, Bitmead, back on goal scoring form, with four goals in his last four matches, hammered home from close range.

With the strong wind largely behind them in the second half and a goal to the good, Ashford were looking to build upon some useful, if unrewarded, play in the first half but it just wouldn’t go in and visitors Petersfield came more into the match.  In truth, apart from one stunning save, they rarely looked like equalising though until near the end when Ashford became a little careless, especially keeper Tobin who dropped the ball at the feet of an attacker who was rather unfortunate to see a foul given against him.  That decision actually saved Ashford’s bacon as there would have been little time to come back.  That said though, Ashford probably enjoyed more than 75% possession and any other result than three points would have been a travesty.

With Eli Ogunseye gone as quickly as he arrived (he’s now back at Colliers Wood United), there were some rotational changes but the Ashford “man of the match” award went to Romario Jonas, who was solid at the back when he needed to be.  As always Samad Kazi took the eye with some pacy runs on the flanks, whilst  Bitmead was possibly unlucky right at the death not to increase the lead as he found himself clean through on goal but some split second timing from referee Jim Paterson saw the whistle go for full-time.  Mr. Paterson’s explanation afterwards that he thought he would miss anyway was not entirely convincing, but he remains a good referee who uses his experience to the full.

 

Ashford lost at home to league leaders Royston Town on Tuesday evening by 4 goals to 1.

On the evidence of this display there seems little doubt that Royston will take some shifting from the top of the league, looking far more convincing than when Ashford played at Royston a month or so back.  In fact Ashford did not play badly at all, taking an early lead and all the players gave their all.  Royston were just too good on the night over 90 minutes as they have been for many clubs this season.

The match though started with a bang for the Tangerines as Bayley Mummery picked up the ball widish right and hit a wicked high dipping volley from distance into the net which left the Royston keeper stranded, on just 58 seconds to be precise.

At that early stage Royston looked ragged and when Dan Fleming hit a tremendous effort quite soon afterwards which rebounded from the bar with force, one started to wonder if it was going to be one of those special Ashford evenings we have experienced so often in the past.  Sadly this turned out not be the case as their excellent opponents got themselves into the match and equalised on 13 minutes when a corner kick came in and, under great pressure Max Webb was only able to turn the ball into his own net.

This cranked up the pressure on the Tangerines and the match turned just four minutes later when Royston’s Kaan Fhemi took full advantage of an unfortunate slip by Tyler Tobin, to slide the ball home.

Ashford remained spirited but the visitors were now looking very strong and it was not a great surprise, when they increased their lead on 31 minutes thanks to a fearsome strike from Danny May that no keeper could have stopped.

There was no further scoring before the break and, despite a penalty awarded to Royston for handball which was blazed miles over the bar, Ashford did their best to retrieve the situation.  Despite a period of far better possession, they were unable to make a further impression on the visiting defence though and it was definitely game over when Royston scored their fourth on 67 minutes, substitute John Frendo finishing off an impressive move.

The match rather fizzled out after that with Royston knowing the game was won and Ashford having lost the intensity of their earlier play.

The Tangerines now go on to entertain Petersfield Town on Saturday and it is rather odd in that we play the top team one night and then the team at the foot of the table in the next match.  Nobody though will be under-estimating our visitors, as although we managed to win at their ground, they made life tough enough for us and they have certainly not generally been losing by large margins.  It will be the first ever visit to Short Lane by Petersfield and we shall look forward to welcoming them.

There are one or two milestones to report:  Max Webb has now played in over 150 competitive matches for the club, whilst Will Boye has passed the 50 mark after joining us last season.  Tommy Brunton has now made in excess of 150 starts for the 1st Team and Scott Weight now needs to play in nine more matches to record his 300th appearance.  We currently have nine regular 1st Team players who have started more than 100 competitive matches for the club, which is impressive stuff especially as the majority are still under 25 years of age.

 

Ashford secured all three points at Uxbridge on Saturday, winning by two goals to nil, to record their second “double” of the season.

It was a full blooded affair at times and Ashford were furious when Max Herbert received the first card of the match for a comparatively gentle push, after three late tackles from the home side had left Ashford players needing treatment.  Lest the writer be accused of being blinkered, the Tangerines also had cause to be grateful for some lenient refereeing in the second half when tackles from Tommy Brunton and Samad Kazi could, on another day, have seen them enjoying an early bath.

There was plenty of good attacking football as well with ex-Ashford keeper Paul McCarthy  in good form between the sticks for Uxbridge, pushing away determined efforts from the likes of Max Webb and Dan Fleming.  Tyler Tobin was in equally imperious form for the Tangerines but on balance he had less to do.  It remained goalless at the break though.

It was fairly clear that the opening goal would be significant and it did not take too long for Ashford to achieve this, just six minutes into the re-start.  A free kick from the rejuvenated Mark Bitmead was too well placed for McCarthy to hold and as it went loose Romario Jonas  was the first to react to put the ball in the net.

That was the key for a determined fight back from the home side and Ashford’s seeming insistence upon conceding silly fouls in dangerous areas did not help.  However, a combination of poor finishing and determined defensive work ensured that there was no breakthrough and in the 66th minute Ashford effectively made the game safe with the second goal, when a deft through ball from Fleming saw Bitmead doing what he does best, slipping the ball past McCarthy with aplomb.

Ashford defended reasonably comfortably after that and might even have scored one or two more themselves.  The final score though was satisfying as it meant a clean sheet and the third win from the last four matches.  Max Webb’s non-stop running and determination saw him voted the “Ashford man of the match” by supporters, but nobody did badly and the lightning pace of Eli Ogunseye provided more than one “wow” moment.

The recent form has completely dispelled some of the gloom that had started to creep in and Ashford will now go into the home match on Tuesday against champions elect, Royston Town, in excellent spirits, which they will need against arguably the best side in the division.  Our opponents have suffered only one defeat since the turn of the year, against Kidlington and are now sitting fairly comfortably at the top of the table with a five point and two match advantage over nearest rivals Farnborough.  It was only a few weeks ago though that we gave them a very close game up at Royston.  The match kicks off at 7.45 pm at Short Lane.

A big well done goes to the Under-13’s who made it to their County Cup final on Sunday morning and also to Larry’s juniors who also won their semi-final.  There will hopefully be some more details on these matches later in the week.  Also the Ladies made it through to the semi-final of the Capital Women’s Cup with a 4-2 win over AFC Phoenix Res.  The scorers were Laura Huse (2), Beth Sheehan and Charmaine Benham.  We also understand that Ashley Cheatley, recently departed to Millwall Lionesses in the Women’s Premier League scored her first goal for them today in a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest in the SSE Women’s FA Cup.

Following their confidence boosting 6 goal haul on Tuesday, Ashford should make the short trip to Uxbridge FC in good heart on Saturday.

Uxbridge are just one point behind the Tangerines, although Ashford have a game in hand and it looks like a tight match, although whether it can match the ten goals in Uxbridge’s last match when they lost 4-6 to Egham remains to be seen.  The biggest positive for Ashford is probably the return to goal scoring form of both Mark Bitmead and Dan Fleming, the latter now with 4 goals in the last two matches.  Ashford will though have to be on their guard against Uxbridge’s Matthew Woods who scored a hatrick in the defeat against Egham and has 16 league goals to his name this season

The address of the ground is Horton Road, West Drayton, UB7 8HX and there is a large car park.  The journey, ground to ground, should not take more than 20 minutes at the most.

As always, there is a whole host of junior matches on Sunday and here they are:

Ashford Sports Club - Club House 11-a-side Pitch

Martin U15s v Epsom & Ewell 10am

Simon U16s v Lyne Lions 11:30am

Ashford Sports Club – Short Lane 11-a-side Pitch

Fin U14s v Esher Colts 10am

Ben U16s v Old Coulsdon 11:30

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 1

Chris U8s v Cass U8s 10am

Neil U8s v Esher Wizards 11am

Ashford Town 5 – 5 Pitch 2

Steve U8s v Staines Town 10am

Bill U8s v Met Police 11am

Ashford Town 9 – 9 Pitch

Joe U12s v Motspur Park 10am

Graham U11s v Nelson U11s 11am

Ashford Town – Outfield

Carl 10:30

Craig U15s v Kew Park Rangers 12:30

Away Games

Larry U13s v Old Coulsdon

John U13s v Motspur Park

Paul U13s v Ruislip (county cup)

Conor U16s v Met Police

 

Once again we wish good luck to Paul’s Under-13’s who make another attempt to play their County Cup semi-final away to Ruislip

Ashford Ladies made light of the loss of Ashley Cheatley to Millwall Lionesses and scored 13 without reply last Sunday as they beat Putney Vale Ladies.  On Sunday it’s back to Cup action as the girls take on AFC Phoenix Reserves in the quarter-final of the Capital Women’s Cup.  Unusually kick-off is at 11.00 a.m. at Clapham Common and you can read more on the Ladies own website.

The men’s social side have not enjoyed a positive season but will have another go on Sunday when they play away to Bedfont Sports, kicking off at 10.30 a.m.

More details are available now about the new "100 Club" starting in March.

It is envisaged that there will be a monthly draw with three prizes each month of £100, £50 and £25.  IN addition there will be a separate draw at the start of the season in August for a one-off £500 followed by another special draw at Christmas, when there will be a one-off prize of £1000.

The Draw Administator will be Graham Felce and you can reserve your number(s) right now by contacting Graham on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The cost will be just £5 per month by standing order or you can pay a lump sum for the year and sit back and wait for your number(s) to come up.  We are setting up a specific bank account so please don't send any money yet.

 

Forthcoming Events

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