Tuesday’s friendly against Molesey, one of the favourites to win the CCL this coming season, wasn’t that friendly at times but there were some good goals, the match ending three apiece.

Both teams struggled to master the surface as the dry weather has left Ashford’s second pitch in a parlous state and the home squad will certainly be looking forward to getting on to the main pitch for the next pre-season match against Chipstead on Saturday.

This game was rumbustious from the start and it was Molesey who drew first blood as early as the fifth minute, some poor defending allowing an unmarked header into the roof of the net.  It took just three minutes for Ashford to equalise, as a deft ball from Scott Weight was headed on by Ashford’s number nine, a newcomer whose name is not yet to hand, although he certainly looked useful.  Anyway he flicked the ball on to Rob Curtis whose fierce low cross was turned into his own net by a defender.

The aggression between Ashford’s Perry Luckins and Molesey’s Craig Lewington, in particular, threatened to boil over at times but it was the visitors who went ahead for a second time.  A harsh free kick awarded against Jim Mann was quickly taken and once again the Ashford defence was flat footed as the ball ended in the net.

Four minutes before half-time Samad Kazi set off on one of his trademark sorties into the opposition penalty area.  He was far too quick for his defender whose attempted tackle was too late, the resulting penalty being calmly slotted home by Javonne Molloy, to make it two apiece at the break.

With plenty of changes, especially by Ashford, the game calmed down, a little at least, in the second period.  It was Ashford though who went ahead for the first time on 75 minutes when the returning Danny Byron found himself unmarked at the back post from a corner kick and he did exactly the right thing sending the ball back over the keeper’s head into the back of the net.

Molesey’s main weapon had become the long throw as they went long and several of them were causing consternation at the back for Ashford.  With ten minutes on the clock Molesey drew level again when yet another throw was not dealt with, albeit that it was a decent header that sent the ball into the roof of the net.

That ended the scoring, the draw for what it was worth being about the right outcome.  It is good to see both Alex Duffy and Kofi Lockhart-Adams back in Ashford colours as manager Paul Burgess looks to mould his squad and one conclusion that can be drawn is that if Ashford have Luckins and Scott Weight playing together in midfield this season, they will certainly be combative in that area of the pitch.

It will be another tough test on Saturday.  Chipstead are under the new managership of Kevin Raynor, who managed Guildford City with great success over recent seasons and a number of the Guildford players have come across with him, including Jaydon Gibbs, brother of Arsenal’s Kieran.

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