Leatherhead 0
Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2

Isthmian League Cup Second Round,
Fetcham Grove, Leatherhead
2nd December 2008

A superb first half performance saw Ashford into the last 32 of a tournament they won in 2007, although their much changed line-up had to withstand a strong fightback from the home side to secure the win. The hosts suffered an early setback when their captain, John Cartledge, limped off injured in the fifth minute to be replaced by Jason Henry.  The visitors looked more incisive on a frosty surface, with Scott Todd and Gavin Smith having the first clear chances of the match.

While Ashford were dominant, and playing some very nice football, the Tanners looked dangerous on the break, with a free kick from Tony Cuff causing visiting ‘keeper Craig Ross his first problem of the evening in the 27th minute.  However, the Tangerines continued to look more likely to find the net and duly took the lead in the 37th minute.  Scott Todd was at the heart of the goal, causing havoc down the left flank before cutting inside and chipping the ball into the danger zone for Paul Johnson to score with a diving header.

Four minutes later, Ashford’s was lead was doubled when some poor defending allowed Gavin Smith a clear run at goal and the former Bracknell striker promptly tucked the ball away past Chris Lewington’s dive.

Leatherhead had a couple of chances as the first half ended, but both Mark Elston and Tommy Hutchings failed to hit the target.

The second half saw Leatherhead throw the kitchen sink at their guests, starting in the 48th minute when a Hutchings free kick struck the post from thirty yards.  However, despite all of the Tanners attacking endeavour, they couldn’t peg back the Tangerines, with Smith and Jon Palmer both narrowly missing the target, while Todd also had a chance to score.

The home side continued to seek a route back into the match, with Hutchings forcing Ross to tip a shot over the bar in the 63rd minute, while Henry hit a swift cross which narrowly eluded the onrushing strikers.

Byron Harrison, on as a replacement for Palmer, had a shot saved in the 85th minute, before Hutchings went close for Leatherhead.  From that chance, Harrison went close again, before having a final chance in stoppage time as Ashford booked their passage to the Third Round.