Kofi Lockhart-AdamsDespite the success in the Middlesex Senior Cup, Ashford have dropped points recently in the League, so it was good to get a win under their belts on Tuesday evening with a 2-1 victory over AFC Hayes.

It was a better match than might have been expected, with both sides belying recent form to put on an entertaining display.  Hayes started like a train and with better finishing would have been two up in the opening five minutes.  However, matters levelled out and it was Ashford who took the lead through Matt Baxter who did exactly what he has been brought in for, calmly getting onto the end of a through ball and slotting it past the keeper.  Indeed, Ashford looked considerably livelier up front than in one or two recent matches, with Kofi Lockhart-Adams working his socks off at times.  Kofi was rewarded with his first and the team’s second goal shortly before half-time when a penetrating run down the left flank by Ed Thomas brought a pin point cross, met with pace and power by Kofi (pictured).

For quite a while Ashford looked more likely to extend their lead in the second period but AFC are not a bad team by any means and eventually pulled one back with around fifteen minutes on the clock.  Ashford stood steady though and  the defence held on reasonably comfortably to seal all three points.

Points to note were the energetic approach of Baxter, whilst Rob Curtis at right back had an excellent match.  Jacob Mingle showed class at times in midfield and generally it was a good performance all round.

There was good news too from the Suburban side who travelled down to Reigate in Surrey to play South Park FC in the Suburban Challenge Shield and came away with a 4-1 victory, despite conceding in the opening few seconds.  The scorers were:  Max Herbert, Nick Hardy, Shane Gibson and Robbie Sitch.  Despite taking 16 out of 18 points from their group matches, Ashford are not assured of winning it as Met Police, with one match left to play (away to Carshalton on 12 March) are just three points behind with an identical goal difference which means that if they beat Carshalton, they will have won the group.  We will still go through though to the knock-out stage.

To complete a full set of midweek wins, the Under-18’s also enjoyed an excellent victory by three goals to two at Wingate & Finchley in the Ryman Youth League (West) on Monday evening.  Manager Mark Hughes has sent the following report:

After two centre back withdrawals on the day, Joe Lynch once again dropped in from right back to centre back and was joined by midfielder Tyler Henderson and winger Leke Somule at right back - and they did unbelievably well against a very attacking team who have beaten Staines Town earlier in season.

Wingate's early attacks was down the left flank and caused stand in right back  Leke Somule some trouble to begin with but with a tactic move involving new first team signing Luke Wilson, the threat was minimised. However it was through the left winger that the first goal came after 15 minutes- a pinpoint cross found the striker at the back post and coolly finished pass Tyler Tobin. Ashford responded positively and two Joel Large goals in quick succession was only what the young tangerines deserved- both goals exquisitely finished, one from an unreal cross field ball from the impressive George Lavender.  Just before half time though Wingate equalised with an identical finish to their opener. Cruel way to go in at half time as Ashford had much of the play but very much still in the game.

The second half was very much the same, Ashford dropping off and inviting Wingate on to them before exploding into life on the break. It was from one of these breaks that the third Ashford goal came- substitute Jarard Fountain found himself in the penalty box and his shot took a wicked deflection over the keeper. This proved to be the winner and nothing more than Ashford deserved.

The boys did us proud tonight, every single one of them ran themselves into the ground for the shirt. The key thing was discipline- they executed out a game plan perfectly and showed a very professional approach to the way they played against a very good team. 

Finally we wish Dan Brown success at Staines Town for whom he has just signed after leaving us for Wingate & Finchley.