It took some time but Ashford eventually recorded their seventh consecutive league victory, beating an obstinate Guildford City by three goals to nil, to move into second spot in the table.

Kieran Wright continued in central defence for Ashford, with skipper Russell Canderton at a wedding whilst Max Webb took his turn on the bench.  Samad Kazi is still on holiday returning this week.  At first, Ashford were unable to reproduce too much of the excellent football that has been a feature this season and their opponents certainly did not look like a team occupying a relegation place.  Referee O’Hene livened up proceedings with some of the loudest whistling heard for some time at Short Lane but there was nothing to get anyone too excited even though Elliott Jones looked to be the victim of a wallop on the head in the corner under the assistant’s nose at one point.  It may well have been accidental.

The game meandered along until the 30th minute but increasing pressure eventually saw Ashford take the lead, when a sublime through ball from Alex Fisher put in Dan Fleming and he calmly slipped the ball under Guildford keeper Antony Hall who had otherwise been up to everything thrown at him

Play had been slow at times and even after going a goal down, Guildford did not seem to over exert themselves to retrieve matters but a defining moment of the match arrived immediately after the break.  The consumption of three jam tarts had delayed the writer’s return to the pitch but he was just in time to see Tyler Tobin pull off arguably the save of the season so far as the defence seemed frozen waiting for the ball to be smashed into the net.  Tobin somehow managed to block the ball at almost point blank range.

After that, although by no means as one sided as one or two of the previous matches, Ashford rarely looked like loosening their grip on the game and had Dan Fleming, in particular, had his shooting boots on, although he was not the only one, Ashford might have made the match safer a lot earlier.

As it was, it was the ever industrious Jack Beadle who doubled the lead on 70 minutes, a snap shot entering the net low and close to the post.  Once again Alex Fisher was involved in the move.  Following that, Guildford seemed to lack the will to fight back to any great extent and there was clearly some dissent in the ranks, with Ashford making it three just five minutes later from the penalty spot.  Mark Bitmead’s effort was destined for the net but Guildford defender Elvis De Freitas pushed it away with his hand.  It was a good save but nobody could argue against the inevitable dismissal and Bitmead made no mistake from the spot, before leaving the pitch in favour of Clark Thorley, another exciting prospect, making his first competitive appearance of the season.

For the final fifteen minutes it was exhibition stuff from Ashford with all Guildford resistance seemingly broken Chances were still being squandered though and there were no more goals but it didn’t matter too much as news came through that Molesey had dropped their first points of the season at Cove, leaving just one 100% record, that being held by Spelthorne Sports who pulled off another decent win at Hartley Wintney.  The team of the day though, without a doubt, were Raynes Park Vale, who alone kept the CCL flag flying in the FA Cup, pulling off a 2-1 victory at Ryman League Ramsgate.  Let’s hope they get a good draw on Monday.  Our conquerors, Daventry Town, went out themselves, losing 1-2 at Hitchin Town.

After the match Chad Beadle’s unofficial “Ashford man of the match” award went to Alex Fisher.

It is another home game up next, on Tuesday evening, when Ashford entertain Southall in the 1st Round of the Middlesex Charity Cup.  They play in Division One East of the Hellenic League and currently occupy 11th spot.  A fuller preview will appear in a day or so.