Sat 1 Sep 18: Ashford 1 Cheshunt 1
Playing against each other for the first time since 2002, Ashford and Cheshunt ground out a one-one draw on Saturday in Division One Central of the Bostik League.
Although looking much greener than it was, the pitch, although perfectly playable, is still hard and bouncy and not conducive to the type of football Ashford like to try and play. Consequently both sides favoured the long ball throughout the 90 minutes with perhaps, the visitors being a little more guilty than the Tangerines in that respect.
Stand-in manager Mark Green took the view that it was a good point in the end, stating his belief that Cheshunt will be a top six side come the end of the season, and the visitors certainly enjoyed more opportunities, especially in the first half, when on one occasion the ball looked for all the world as if it was going in, only for Ashford to have a lucky escape as it bounced down from the woodwork and was cleared.
Tyler Tobin was kept busy but it was certainly not all one way traffic though and Ashford also had their chances but the scorers remained untroubled at the half-time whistle. The match had more of an even feel to it during the second half but it was the visitors who nudged ahead on 59 minutes when Oluwole Akinsanya found himself unmarked at a free kick and made no mistake.
It was one of those games where it looked as if whoever scored first would probably win but it proved not so on this occasion as exactly ten minutes later Ashford produced their one move of real quality all afternoon, to equalise, when excellent work by James Cottee and Tommy Brunton put Mark Bitmead in the clear and he finished with his usual aplomb. As is often the case the pendulum swung after the goal and Ashford could have won it towards the end with one or two near misses but a draw was probably about right in the end although Cheshunt may take a different view.
For Ashford, keeper Tyler Tobin never put a foot wrong all afternoon but supporters voted the energetic Scott Weight as the Ashford “Man of the Match”.
After having to play Hanwell last week just 48 hours after the FA Cup match, we are not now in action for a fortnight, when, on Saturday 15 September, we visit Tooting & Mitcham, another club that we have not played against for some years.
The Ladies opened their season on Sunday afternoon with a match in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Women’s FA Cup. Opponents at Short Lane were Wargrave Ladies from the Oxfordshire area but they were no match for the Tangerines who notched up a 15-0 win, which should probably have been larger. The scorers were Ashley Cheatley (x3), Holly Isaacs (x3), Lavana Neufville (x3), Charmaine Benham (x2), Alissa Down (x2), Laura Huse (x1) and Dana Johnson (x1). Next Sunday the ladies have their opening home match in the Premier Division of the Greater London Women’s League when they entertain local opposition in the form of Colne Valley Ladies, kick-off at Short Lane being 2.00 p.m.
Well done also to our partners, Southall FC, who made progress in the FA Vase on Saturday, knocking out the fancied Hellenic League side Reading City by three goals to two. They will now be at home to Wembley in the 2nd Qualifying Round on Saturday 15 September, kick-off 3.00 p.m.
If you’re looking for some football action in the week, both Hanworth Villa and Spelthorne Sports have home FA Cup replays on Tuesday evening, against AFC Croydon Athletic and Raynes Park Vale respectively, whilst next Saturday Egham Town and Staines Town will battle it out, also in the FA Cup, at Egham.
Finally, good luck to new manager Ahmed Ahmed and our hastily assembled Under-18 squad, a number of whom are from our Under 16 side, when they travel to Colney Heath in the FA Youth Cup on Monday evening. We have done well to assemble a squad at the last minute when it looked as if we might have to abandon Under-18 football for this season, so a big thank you to Ahmed, Sof (coach) and Fin (U16 manager) in getting us to this point. Thanks also to Wayne Coe of Bedfont Sports who helped us to get some of the lads registered in time by delivering them to the Bostik League for us.