Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2
Metropolitan Police 1

After Extra Time.  Score at 90mins:  1-1

Met. Police logo

Surrey Senior Cup Third Round,
Short Lane Stadium
13th January 2009

Ashford ended a run of four successive defeats with this win over a feisty Metropolitan Police squad in the Surrey Senior Cup.  Having endured a ten day break caused by the recent cold snap, the Tangerines fielded a strong side against the promotion-chasing Plod with Craig Ross being given some game time in goal, Paul Burgess swapping places with the youngster and lining up on the bench.

Chances were at a premium during the opening half an hour, although Ashford had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down in the 30th minute.  A shot by Ricky Wellard looked to have been handled in the area, although referee Mr Lugg awarded a corner.  From this corner, a Stuart Bamford header was tipped over the bar by Met stopper Mo Mann.  Four minutes later, the idiosyncratic Mr Lugg awarded a free kick to the Police for what looked an innocuous challenge.  The home side failed to deal with the set piece and James Greenaway stabbed the ball home.

Shortly after that, Billy Jeffries became the first name into Mr Lugg’s notebook after a robust challenge in the centre circle, while the Blues’ Stuart Harte also had his name taken in first half stoppage time having committed seven fouls in 47 minutes!

Whatever Mark Butler said to his team at the interval clearly had the desired effect, as the Tangerines started the second period like an express train.  Four minutes after the break, a free-kick from Paul Johnson saw the midfielder almost mark his 200th competitive start with a goal.  Seconds later, Ashford had a second penalty shout denied when a clear handball was adjudged to be a corner.  This corner became a second, which was worked to skipper Gavin Bamford (pictured), who drilled the ball into the net.

Ashford took control of the game after that, but didn’t test Mann frequently enough, although Stuart Bamford and Gary Drewett were cautioned for a 63rd minute clash.  Johnson missed two long-distance efforts and with seven minutes remaining Scott Todd was replaced by Scott Harris, while Jon Palmer replaced Gavin Smith as the watch reached ninety minutes.  Three minutes into stoppage time, “normal” time came to a fractious end when Warren Harris was scythed down by Met skipper Steve Sutherland, Mr Lugg choosing to blow for full-time rather than deal with the incident.

As the weather began to freeze, the match was beginning to boil over.  Scott Harris had a shot saved in the opening minute of extra time, then scored just two minutes later, beating Mann with a bullet header from a corner.  Wellard shot over for Ashford before Sutherland and Drewitt were spoken to by Mr Lugg – the gist being that Sutherland needed to calm his forward down.

Seconds later, the match finally spilled into anarchy when an aerial challenge by Scott Harris caused a furious reaction from the visitors, which was typified by Craig Carley racing 60 yards to involve himself in what became a 21-man scuffle.  After a long delay, Mr Lugg dismissed Harris for the initial challenge and Harte of the Met for “adopting an aggressive attitude”, while Mann was also cautioned.

The second period was less eventful, but no less fractious and eventually saw Drewitt shown a second yellow card for persistent infringement, while the otherwise anonymous Carley managed to escape punishment despite striking Billy Jeffreys in the face.  Ashford saw out the game to book a home quarter final with Kingstonian.