Burnham crestAshford’s unbeaten run came to an abrupt end after Burnham left the Robert Parker Stadium with a 3-2 win.

The two clubs went into this match level on points in the Central Division table, so there was no surprise that the game was a close affair.  Although Dan Brown had the first sight of goal, Burnham had started well and took the lead in the 20th minute, when a rapid counter-attack from a free kick gave Will Hendry a chance, which the former AFC Wimbledon man slotted away.

The Ash Trees rallied and Brown, Ashley Lodge and Bairoh Conteh all had half chances before Kofi Lockhart-Adams equalised three minutes before half-time.  The powerful striker scored his third goal of the season from an exquisite cross from the left.

The second half was end-to-end with both sides making early changes – Burnham replacing Will Hendry with Ashley Smith at half-time and Bairoh Conteh coming off with a minor injury after 52 minutes, to be replaced by Jim Mann.  Although this enforced change did affect Ashford – few players can match Conteh’s athleticism – initially, the Tangerines took it in their stride and took the lead in the 56th minute.  A superb pass from Jack Mullan sent Dan Brown away and the striker remained composed as Burnham ‘keeper Michael Collins-Watkins raced from his goal, scoring with some aplomb.

The visitors hit back strongly, with a diving header from Ryan Bird hitting the post and Tom Willment heading over the crossbar while unmarked. In the 63rd minute, the Blues equalised via a fast break, which ended with Ashley Smith firing across Paul McCarthy.  Although Ashford pushed forward again, and might have had a penalty, it was Burnham who scored the decisive goal with 20 minutes to go, Ryan Bird scoring from a low cross from the right.

The away side might have added to their lead and Aaron Couch hit the post with a shot, but the last word went to Burnham’s Kieran Knight, whose substitute appearance lasted just seven minutes before he was sent off.  The former Wealdstone player was cautioned for launching a ball that had gone dead out of the ground, then committed a poor foul just 90 seconds later, leaving referee McIntyre no choice but to show the red card.  The dismissal came too late to assist Ashford, Burnham claiming a deserved win.