Ashford made it through the 1st stage of the Surrey Senior Cup on Tuesday evening at Ash United, winning by two goals to nil, to earn themselves an away trip in the 2nd Round against AFC Wimbledon.

On a heavy, damp pitch Paul Burgess fielded a strong side but rotated his squad a little, giving starts to Joe Bennett and Chris Robinson, whilst Bairoh Conteh was back at the heart of the defence alongside Jim Mann.  Kofi Lockhart-Adams was rested as was Russell Canderton and Scott Weight.

The game was well contested overall.  In the first half Ashford saw one effort ruled out for offside and another was cleared from the line by an Ash defender. Ash also had chances but some wayward finishing ensured the match would remain goalless at the break.  The other significant incident of the half saw keeper Paul McCarthy having to leave the field following a collision, to be replaced by Tyler Tobin who soon demonstrated his potential with some smart saves.

The second period saw Ashford doing the bulk of the attacking as Ash found it difficult to cope with the pace and guile of Samad Kazi and Dan Brown up front.  Their persistence paid off just before the hour mark when the beleaguered home defence were unable to clear the ball properly and it fell nicely for Mark Bitmead to stride on to it and crash home from just outside the penalty area.

It was all Ashford for a while after that and a deserved goal from Dan Brown who never stopped throughout the match doubled the lead.  Conteh and Alex Duffy were then replaced, to allow Jack Mullan some game time, along with Rob Curtis, who had been out of the picture in recent weeks.  Ash were decent opponents and their efforts to get a foothold in the match never wavered.  However, although they did have a “goal” disallowed for a foul and forced a number of corners in the closing minutes, Ashford’s rearguard overall were not too troubled and duly recorded their sixth clean sheet in competitive matches this season.

In a sporting match, well refereed by Dave Sheldrake, neither side incurred a caution, which was in contrast to some of the fiery clashes between the clubs in the 90’s.