A Boardroom crisis, occasioned by a paucity of officials from their opponents, threatened at one point to leave the Chairman’s after match casserole largely uneaten.  Fortunately it was narrowly averted with the help of Junior Chairman Nick Bailey, on hand to consume two large portions and he was ably assisted by MCFA rep Doug Douglas who also did his bit.

Prior to the match, Southall had not endeared themselves to their hosts by turning up late with referee Herb a little too readily agreeing to a delayed kick-off for Ashford’s liking.  The match finally got underway just over ten minutes late and it quickly became clear that Southall were going to prove worthy opponents playing some impressive football throughout the match that belied their mid-table position in Division One of the Spartan S. Midlands League (not the Hellenic as mistakenly quoted yesterday).

With both teams showing an exemplary attitude throughout the match, a very enjoyable game of football broke out.  The pattern generally was one of Ashford doing the majority of the attacking, shooting frequently, but seeing all efforts going wide or being saved and then having to be careful as Southall frequently counter attacked at pace, but without too much of a cutting edge.  Ben Murray had left leading scorer Mark Bitmead on the bench as well as skipper Russell Canderton but with Ashford dominating much of the possession, and buoyed up by recent performances, the Ashford faithful were reasonably confident of a breakthrough in the end.

However, the second half continued in much the same vein and when it got to less than ten minutes left and no extra time, one wondered if the first penalty shoot out of the season was looming.  Then it all happened as Conor Moody, always dangerous when coming on, finally thumped the ball past the nameless keeper (we didn’t get a team sheet from Southall) who had stood up to everything up to that point.  With Southall having finally abandoned their passing game which had caused Ashford so much frustration, it seemed the victory was in the bag but suddenly the visitors were attacking and Tyler Tobin, superbly alert all evening, had to push a fierce effort against the post to safety.  Another decent shot went just wide but in front of their new manager who must have been impressed at times, Southall had finally shot their bolt and Ashford doubled the lead in the first minute of stoppage time when Jack Beadle crashed the ball home for his second goal in as many matches. 

The floodgates were finally and fully open as Mark Bitmead then finished exquisitely with the third goal in the fifth minute of stoppage.

In terms of overall possession, it could be argued that the final 3-0 scoreline was about right but that would be to overlook the fact that Southall played some of the best football seen at Short Lane this season when in possession, and their pace on the break was a constant concern, although another clean sheet demonstrates that Ashford defended well enough, with young central defender Kieran Wright being awarded the Chad Beadle “Ashford Man of the Match” award.  Finally a word for referee Andrew Herb, officiating at his first ever senior match we were told.  Although it was not a difficult match to control, with both teams showing commendable behaviour, he was quietly confident in his approach and looks well placed to climb the refereeing ladder.  Must get it from his dad!

Ashford will entertain either North Greenford United or Enfield Town in the next round on a date to be determined.

All eyes now turn to the next league match, away to Horley Town on Saturday, Ashford’s longest trip of the season (although it will still seem like a local derby in comparison with recent seasons).  Horley disposed of Division One Sandhurst Town seemingly in style last night, winning 5-1 in the CCL League Cup (known as the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, to give it its full name) and will not be easy opponents in their excellent stadium, but more on that one later in the week.

There is another match at Short Lane this evening  (Wednesday), when the Under-18’s have their second match of the season, at home to Hayes & Yeading U18, in the Ryman Youth League.  They will appreciate your support for the game which kicks off at 7.45 p.m.



Forthcoming Events

26 Mar 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Northwood (H)
31 Mar 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Uxbridge (H)
02 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Moneyfields (a)
04 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Wealdstone (a)
07 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Chalfont St Peter (H)
11 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Hendon (a)
14 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Marlow (a)
15 Apr 2018
10:30AM -
British Airways Vets v Bedfont Sunday Vets
16 Apr 2018
07:45PM -
Bostik Youth League v Staines Town (H)
21 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v Hartley Wintney (H)
22 Apr 2018
10:30AM - 05:00PM
Middlesex FA Sunday Intermediate Cup Final
28 Apr 2018
03:00PM -
Evo-Stik League South v AFC Rushden & Diamonds (a)
10 May 2018
07:30PM -
Annual General Meeting
02 Jun 2018
11:00AM -
Junior Presentation Day and Evening
09 Jun 2018
09:00AM - 09:00PM
Junior Tournament