Russell Canderton

Firstly, apologies again for the delay in updating the web site, due to technical problems with my internet access.  Hopefully we have got round the problem for the time being.

Sadly there are two more defeats to reflect upon but both very different.  On Saturday against Kettering Town, who belied their lowly position in the table, we were hampered early on by the dismissal of Alex Duffy following a second caution.  It is always easy to blame the referee but he started with four cautions in the opening fifteen minutes or thereabouts and it was obvious that someone was going to suffer.  Having been booked, a second fairly innocuous tackle from Duffy saw him leaving the field and Ashford a mountain to climb.

For a long while they matched Kettering but the pressure grew and on the hour mark Kettering went ahead when Chris Robinson twice failed to clear when he had the opportunity to do so.  After that, although the ten men continued to battle, the writing was on the wall and a second goal for the visitors sealed all three points.

On to Tuesday evening and Ashford found themselves away to Slough Town, who have recently found the form their supporters expect, following a sloppy start.  Ashford’s team is in transition at present and newcomers Josh Hughes (from Staines Town), Harry Driver (from Bedfont Sports) and Jamie Connor (from Uxbridge) all started the match.  Connor is an established player and will be a great asset for Ashford but both Hughes and Driver showed enough to suggest that they will cope with this level without undue difficulty.

There is no doubt that Slough are a powerful team but Ashford were up for it.  A Slough defender was extremely lucky not to be cautioned for a studs up tackle on Connor and that had ramifications when he was late in again soon afterwards and Ashford felt that Slough should have been reduced to ten men.  The referee saw it differently and on 26 minutes Slough took the lead when Ashford gave the ball away when they didn’t have to.  It took just a minute though for the visitors to bounce back with arguably the best goal of the night as Terrell Lewis cut in from the right and unleashed an unstoppable effort to bring Ashford level.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half Slough edged ahead again.  They had been taking some superb corner kicks, put over with pace and accuracy and a header from one of these did the trick.

At the break Ashford felt they had acquitted themselves well and were still very much in the match.  Unfortunately within a minute of the re-start they conceded again when a ball bounced up in the area and clearly struck Alex Duffy on the hand.  It was obviously not deliberate and no Slough player was in the immediate vicinity but a penalty was given which struck the underside of the bar and crept in.

Ashford continued to battle though and although they rode their luck at times, reduced the arrears on 72 minutes when a rare goal from skipper Russ Canderton (pictured) who scrambled it in from close range gave the real hope.  It was not to be though as Slough re-gained their two goal advantage just four minutes later.

So another defeat which leaves Ashford far too close to the foot of the table for comfort.  There were clear signs though that this new squad is starting to take shape and there is room for optimism that results will soon improve.  If they do, it will be without the likes of Mark Bitmead and Rob Curtis, both off to Australia for a year, and Samad Kazi, who has gone to Walton & Hersham because they offered him more money than Ashford can afford.

On Saturday, Ashford travel to Aylesbury FC, another club at the wrong end of the table and will go there in good spirits as they look to turn their season around.

Sadly the Under-18’s were unable to make progress in the FA Youth Cup as they lost by three goals to one in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday evening.