A determined performance saw Ashford through to the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Tuesday evening and an away tie at Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday 14 September.

Opponents Bishops Cleeve had forced a draw at Short Lane on Saturday in something of an insipid match but down at their picturesque Kaytes Lane ground deep in Gloucestershire, this was a much better contest.  Kofi Lockhart-Adams had a golden chance early on but hit the post from close range.  After that though it was the home team who had the better of the chances but Tyler Tobin, in goal in place of Paul McCarthy, awaiting the imminent birth of his first child, was immaculate in his handling, and despite a number of dangerous corners, the Mitres were unable to make a breakthrough.

Still no goals in the tie at half-time then, but the second half saw Ashford, whilst far from dominating, enjoy a period of supremacy and finally, just after the hour mark, came the vital goal.  Scott Weight, a colossus in midfield last night, won a full bloodied tackle, resulting in Terrell Lewis sending over a pin point cross for Samad Kazi (pictured) to glide into the net with his head.

Ashford tried hard to put the tie to bed with a second goal but were unable to do so, finding themselves having to defend desperately at times against a home side, who even put their reserve keeper on up front near the end to try to salvage the match.  Tobin distinguished himself time and again whilst Alex Duffy was the pick of the defence with several important clearances.  The whole team deserve credit though for their great determination to see Ashford over the line.

After three minutes of stoppage time, it was all over and it was a happy band that travelled back on the coach.  Some of the singing left a great deal to be desired, not least from Steve Scott, who should surely concentrate on the day job!  Ashford would like to thank Bishops Cleeve for their excellent hospitality and sportsmanship after a tie that, on another day, could have gone the other way and wish them well for the future.

It was a valuable win for Ashford though, not least financially, but also in terms of an emerging team spirit which should enable them to climb the table after something of an indifferent start.  The next match is at home to North Greenford United on Saturday, when, as part of the Non-League Day celebrations, spectators will be invited to pay whatever they wish to watch the match.

The Under-18’s were also in action last night and ended up losing to Woking by four goals to one.  Woking went ahead but Ashford equalised before half-time, and playing well, only to lose steam in the final quarter, conceding three goals in that period.  Overall though, despite the scoreline, it was an encouraging performance in a very tough division and the lads should certainly not be dispirited.