Ashford Town (Middlesex) 0
Hampton & Richmond Borough 1

Pre-Season Match
Robert Parker Stadium
28th July 2012

If you are relying on this report to draw some conclusions as to how Ashford Town Middlesex’s pre-season is going, the scoreline might make for concerning reading. After all, this result signifies a third successive defeat, and a second home game in a week where the Ash Trees failed to score.

The beauty of football, though, is that the scoreline alone almost never tells the full story.  So it was here; Ashford played good, positive football throughout this match and were the better team for most of the match.  This was reflected in the opening quarter of an hour, in which Dan Brown twice went close to scoring.  However, in the 18th minute and against the run of play, the Beavers took the lead. Karle Carder’s lofted through ball gave JJ Bates an opportunity to score and the former Dagenham & Redbridge forward lobbed the ball over the onrushing Paul McCarthy and into the net.

Mark Bitmead also went close before the interval as Ashford gave their Step 3 opponents a good test.  The Beavers clearly have been researching what lies ahead of them in the Ryman League Premier Division and some of the challenges were robust, to say the least.  The Tangerines responded in kind on occasion, but the match was not a dirty one and the officials did an excellent job in curbing any over-enthusiasm from the players.

The second half was punctuated by a series of substitutions but Ashford continued to play well, with Conor Moody hitting a cross-shot across the goal.  However, for the most part, there was little goalmouth action at either end.  For all the good football played by both sides, the emphasis was on patterns of play and ensuring the squads are match-sharp for the new season.