FA TrophyIt’s cup matches all the way at the moment and on Saturday, it is the alternative route to Wembley for Ashford when they visit Walton Casuals in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy, having won through to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Tuesday.  The address of the ground is the Waterside Stadium, Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 2JP

Although yet another away draw, at least it’s a local one, unlike Fleet Town, for example, who will be making their way into deepest Wales to meet Merthyr, and Guildford City to the bowels of Gloucestershire to play Cirencester.  In our CCL days we used to play Walton Casuals on a regular basis but over the last twelve years, quite amazingly we have only met once and that was last season when we managed to win at the Waterside Ground by two goals to one in the Surrey Senior Cup, our goals coming from Jim Mann and Mark Bitmead from the penalty spot.

Walton are members of the Ryman League, Division One South in which they are currently in seventeenth position.  They won their first league match of the season on Tuesday when they triumphed by four goals to three at Worthing, not a place where we ever did too well when we were both in the Ryman Prem.  Being at home, Walton will doubtless be looking to polish us off at the first attempt but Ashford will come into the match on a seven match unbeaten run, five of which have been won, so confidence should be high.  If the scores are level after 90 minutes, matters will proceed to a replay on Tuesday evening back at Short Lane, which in turn would mean a further postponement of the home league game against Burnham currently scheduled for that evening.

Whoever eventually comes out on top will face an away trip in the 1st Qualifying Round to either Aylesbury or Grays Athletic.  Prize money up for grabs tomorrow is a very significant £2300.

The Suburban side are also away tomorrow as they make their way up to Bedfordshire to play Barton Rovers.  There is a match at Short Lane though, as tenants Staines Lammas look for three points against surprise leaders South Kilburn FC.

Two other bits of news are that the Deaf International between Great Britain and Greece had had to be switched from Short Lane due to the home FA Cup draw against St. Albans and will now take place at Bedfont Sports FC.  The other news item is that, sadly, we hear that long time supporter and ex-player Alan Pincham suffered a mild heart attack on Tuesday evening and is in hospital.  Happily we understand that he is recovering well and will hopefully be out shortly.