Jack MullanThe news of leading scorer Dan Brown’s defection to Wingate & Finchley seemed to spur Ashford on yesterday as they put recent poor performances behind them and once again showed that on their day they are capable of beating the better teams in the division, and Daventry certainly come into that category.

Ashford had the early pressure and for once they made it count when a cross from Joe Bennett was not properly dealt with by the visiting defence and Jack Mullan (pictured), back in midfield, was on hand to smash the ball home for an early lead.

Daventry seemed strangely lethargic but that did not stop them gradually getting a grip on the game to the extent that, by half-time, even though they hadn’t scored, they could reasonably anticipated taking something from the match.  That was justified as they equalised within a minute of the second half starting.

One wondered if that might be the cue for a third drubbing in quick succession but not this time as it was Ashford who came roaring back and took the lead for the second time with arguably one of the goals of the season.  Daventry will certainly be displeased with their defending as Joe Bennett was allowed to run almost from his own half unchallenged before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net.  Within minutes Mullan, excelling back in his preferred position, scored again to give Ashford a two goal cushion.

That was very quickly reduced to one goal as the scoring flurry ended with Daventry getting one back from the spot after a mistimed challenge from Alex Duffy, who otherwise excelled on theleft hand side of the defence.

Again, with plenty of time left, one pondered the final outcome, but there were no further goals and Ashford held on reasonably comfortably to secure all three points with a  result that will hopefully re-galvanise the season. 

One of the features of the match was the willingness of Kofi Lockhart-Adams and Pietro Palladino, starting in place of Brown, to chase back and defend from the front throughout.  Both had stirring games, matched by the exciting runs of Ed Thomas at times down the left flank.  The defence looked much stronger with Bairoh Conteh back at the heart of it and it turned into a good day all round for Ashford after some extremely disappointing results recently.  Sam Petherick's report is online.

It would be churlish not to wish Dan all the best at his new club.  In 72 matches for the club, he scored 35 goals and it was only natural that he would wish to try himself at a higher level, although whether he has chosen wisely in joining a club near the foot of the Ryman Premier only time will tell.  He knows though that he will be welcome back at Ashford, who retain his Southern League registration, if the move doesn’t work out.

Ashford’s next match is away to Wealdstone on Tuesday, not Monday as originally advised.  There is another 1st Team match on Wednesday, at home to Cove in the Aldershot Senior Cup, although it will be a mixed team that unavoidably will take the field.  Reduced prices will apply.

More about the forthcoming action will appear tomorrow.