http://www.ashfordtownmiddlesexfc.com/images/Grays_ath.jpgFollowing Saturday’s draw at Grays, it means we are in the hat for the 2nd Qualifying Round draw of the FA Trophy to be announced later this morning.  It will not involve clubs from the regional divisions of the Conference as they do not enter the fray until the 3rd Qualifying Round.  

The replay against Grays on Tuesday evening is, of course, the key match for this midweek, kick-off at Short Lane being 7.45 p.m.  Most people agreed that the draw on Saturday was probably the fairest result on the day but we will obviously be trying hard to make home advantage tell if we can, although it will not be easy against a good Grays side doing well in Ryman One North.

DRAW NOW TO HAND;  WINNERS WILL BE AWAY TO EITHER BURY TOWN or WHITEHAWK

There is another important FA match this week and that comes on Thursday evening when the Under-18’s, having beaten Hayes & Yeading in the previous round, make the short trip to Northwood FC in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.  Manager Mark Hughes is building an excellent squad with two or three of the boys having already played in the Suburban side and for Middlesex County.  It is a long held desire of the Club to reach the 1st Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup when the Football League teams come in and the lads are now only two matches away from achieving that target.

Our other teams had mixed fortunes at the weekend.  The Suburban side enjoyed another away win, beating Leverstock Green by three goals to nil, to consolidate second place in the table.  Like the Under-18’s, manager Mick Snowden is building a decent squad, with some starting to knock on the 1st Team door.  There is no match this week though.

The ladies lost by three goals to two on Sunday away to Petts Wood in what sounds a narrow defeat.  We will await the report from Stewart in due course.

On the player front, most will be aware that Ashley Lodge decided to leave us last week, to join up with Chipstead FC, to whom Josh Andrew and Shane Graham have already defected, since leaving us to join Egham Town.  Chipstead, of course, have recently recruited John Hamsher as their manager after he also left Egham unexpectedly.  John, you may remember, played for us under Mark Butler and was a popular member of the team but left us in rather sad circumstances when he walked off the pitch in the middle of a match at Wingate & Finchley and never played for the club again. 

It is fair to say that if Ashley wanted to leave us we would have preferred him to join a club at a higher level. However, he’s made his decision so we wish him well and move on.  His absence was good news for Perry Luckins who was in the starting line-up on Saturday and whilst he may not have the subtlety of Ashley’s passing, he certainly has the power and determination and will always score goals.

Finally, and some things are more important than football, supporter no 1, Eddie Hutchinson will not be present on Tuesday evening when his dad goes in for another operation as he fights bladder cancer.  As a club we send our best wishes to Eddie and his dad and very much hope that everything goes well.  Eddie, our thoughts will be with you.