Ashford’s renewed spirit and endeavour enabled them to claw a point from Tuesday’s home match against league leaders Rugby Town in a 1-1 draw.  With immediate rivals Chertsey and North Greenford both losing at home yesterday evening, the target of avoiding relegation is still very much on and whilst Ashford more than rode their luck at times last night, there is no denying the momentum and desire that have now kept the side unbeaten in four matches.

Clubs are not top of the table without a reason and at times last night Rugby showed exactly why they are in that exalted position, sweeping forward frequently in moves of precision and pace.  Ashford though are suddenly defending with a doggedness that just wasn’t there until recently even though they couldn’t prevent the visitors taking a first half lead, when a corner from Nathan Haines on 28 minutes seemed to elude everyone and finished in the net.

The equaliser arrived just six minutes after the re-start and came from Ashford’s Jack Mullan who lobbed the ball over visiting keeper Nyall Cooper.   Scott Weight was on hand to see the ball over the line but he made sure not to touch it just in case of any possible offside decision.

The rest of the match saw Rugby doing the bulk of the attacking and in one frenzied spell Ashford keeper Tyler Tobin somehow kept out three efforts in almost as many seconds.  Two more shots were cleared off the line but it was not entirely one way traffic and yet again Conor Moody was proving a handful up front for Ashford.  As the match drew to its conclusion, Ashford were defending more comfortably and in the end were pleased to share the points with the league leaders who looked a quality side at times.  Both teams were clapped from the field, as indeed was referee Georgiou who refereed the match well.

Ashford now need to maintain the determination that has given them a chance, the next match being away to Potters Bar Town on Saturday, followed next Tuesday with another home match when another of the top sides, Daventry Town come to Short Lane in what will be their fourth match in seven days.

It is not only the 1st Team that has seen a revival.  On Monday evening the Under-18’s made the short trip to play Staines in a Ryman Youth League match and came away with a 4-1 victory.  Jared Fountain scored Ashford’s opening goal when he hit a half volley from a corner into the net, the second goal coming from Edmond Umoh, who took advantage of a poor back pass.  Alex Holehouse then got himself on on the scorers’ list, slotting home after a shot from Fountain had been parried and finally, it was Umoh again, who ran on to a through ball from Fountain and passed the ball into the net.

Not quite such good news from the Suburban side who lost on the same evening by four goals to one at home to Uxbridge.  It is probably fair to say that reserve football has not been of great benefit to the Club in recent months and is also of course expensive to put on.  It is likely that, next season, the Club will not run a reserve side but will opt for the 1st Team and the Under-18’s, but also entering supplementary competitions such as the S. Comb. Cup and the Aldershot Cup to hopefully allow for sufficient football.

There is more excellent news off the field.  Thanks to the hard work of Gareth Coates, the legal problems that have held up the massive grant we have been awarded in respect of the upgrade of the training facilities have been overcome.  It is not yet known when the work will start but hopefully, of course, it will in the close season