Kofi scores v Northwood

The programme of pre-season matches got off to a good start on Tuesday evening when Ashford ran out 5-1 winners at home to Spelthorne Sports.  Ashford fielded a large squad, which included the majority of the players who took part in the two Cup Finals back in May.

The Sunbury-based side were a couple of weeks further along in their preparations and that showed in the opening quarter of the match where the Combined Counties League club were the better side and took the lead in the 15th minute after Paul McCarthy was left exposed by his defence and ended up bringing down a forward.  The resultant penalty was finished tidily.

Playing on the much-improved “back” pitch, Ashford eventually took control of the game, playing some nice football in the process.  The equaliser arrived eight minutes before half-time when Kofi Lockhart-Adams headed home while unmarked.  A minute before the interval, Kofi put the Tangerines in front with an instinctive finish to turn in a free kick.

With no floodlights to ensure good light, the referee decided to restart the game after a half-time interval of about five minutes, but Ashford hit their straps quickly and were soon 4-1 up, Alex Duffy and triallist Dave Johnson stretching the home advantage.  Paul Burgess then rotated his squad, making numerous changes.  Dan Brown and Samad Kazi both went close to scoring before Shane Graham made it 5-1 late in the game with an excellent finish.

Ashford will therefore go into the weekend’s match at home to Ryman League club Walton & Hersham in good heart.  The Swans will make the short journey to the RPS having played only five minutes of football, after their match against Dorking at Brockham FC was abandoned due to a serious injury to Walton & Hersham defender James Nicholls, who suffered a suspected double fracture to his leg.  The situation is made more poignant by the fact that Nicholls missed most of last season with a knee problem and we naturally wish him a speedy recovery.

Saturday’s game is the first of the new campaign on the “Stadium” pitch, which looks in superb condition.  Admission is reduced to £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for unaccompanied children under 16 – those attending with a paying adult/concessionary ticket holder will be admitted free.  Season Tickets are valid for this match.