Ashford Town (Middlesex) 3
Bradford City 0

Pre-Season Match,
Robert Parker Stadium
23rd July 2010

The first Football League side to visit Ashford Town in some fourteen years were also the first professional club to suffer defeat at the hands of the Tangerines, as Jamie Lawrence’s squad marked the first match at the newly-christened Robert Parker Stadium with an emphatic victory over Bradford City.

The early stages saw both sides try to play neat passing football on a pitch that had clearly been affected by the hot, dry summer and was not ideal for either team.  Although the visitors – paying their third match in four days as part of a mini-tour of Southern England – looked dangerous, it was the home side who took the lead in the thirteenth minute when Russell Canderton drilled home a half-cleared corner.

Bradford striker Fola Onibuje should have levelled the scores in the 25th minute, but failed to connect with an inviting cross from Omar Daley.  Both sides looked enterprising, but there were no further goals in the first half.

With neither side making changes at the break, the second goal came in the opening moments of the second period.  Bradford goalkeeper Lloyd Saxton attempted to take the ball around Town manager Jamie Lawrence, only for the former Bantam to dispossess the nervy stopper and score.

The professional side made nine substitutions just before the hour mark, with the replacements immediately stretching Ashford.  However, the Tangerines were resolute in their defending and made a series of changes of their own, bringing in a couple of new faces at a time rather than making a raft of changes in one hit.  It was an approach that worked well for the Southern League side, who survived some strong pressure thanks in part to some inspired goalkeeping from Lee Pearce (pictured) and then added a third goal when Scott Todd, on trial as he seeks a return to the club, scored a superb individual goal.

Pearce made a number of brave stops before making way for young stopper Dane Buss, who made some spectacular stops of his own as City attempted to claim a consolation goal.  However, Ashford retained their composure to secure a deserved victory.  While the result was quite something – and will live long in the memory of all Ashford fans – far more important for Jamie Lawrence is the fitness gained by the twenty players who featured on the night.