Ashford kicked off the new season on the fantastic new surface at the RPS and held their own for 70 minutes. Unfortunately getting hit on the break and switching off for 10 minutes in the second half, meant it was not the start that the new management would have been looking for.
After what seems to have been a long off-season it was great to get back to league action. The new-look Ashford side (featuring 6 league debutants) started brightly, having the better of the attacking play in the first 20 minutes. All the was lacking was the cutting edge in the final third, or in some instances that final pass. However, it was Chalfont who took the lead in the 24th minute with a Dan Williams goal on the break. This was literally Chalfont’s first big foray into the Ashford half, and much against the run of play, catching the Tangerines out of sorts on the left with Williams able to get in on goal and slot past Sam Mason.
The remainder of the first half saw both sides evenly matched, with Ashford enjoying more territorial advantage and Chalfont always looking dangerous on the break. Sam Mason made a couple of crucial blocks to keep the score at 0-1. Ashford’s main effort came from Kelvin Adjei when he worked his way through to snatch a shot from a wide angle that went across the keeper and wide of the far post.
Chalfont were incensed on the stroke of half time when Joe Noakes tangled with Kofi Quartey on the edge of the box as he was almost clean through. The referee judged it to be a free kick on the edge of the box, where on another day it may well have been a penalty. This set piece was the last kick of the half.
From the restart it was much the same pattern as the first half. Ashford enjoying most of the possession and attacking play, and Chalfont always dangerous on the counter-attack. The Tangerines could well have had a penalty around the hour mark when Pierre Morin appeared to be pulled from behind as he broke into the box about to shoot, but the appeals were waved away by the officials. Shortly after this Ashford came close again when a fiercely hit shot from Chris Martin-Thomas just cleared the bar. Minutes later Chalfont got clear down their right wing ending with a cross finished from close range by Luke Jones to make it 0-2.
Straight from the kick-off Ashford lost possession enabling Chalfont to break away again, this time down their left. The resulting cross shot was blocked by Sam Mason, but Andre Odetola was on hand to tap in to the empty net (0-3).
As they looked to get a way back in to the game Ashford made a double attacking change on 79 minutes but were then undone on the break again in the 81st minute, with the move ending in a penalty to Chalfont. Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway stepped up to convert the penalty and make it 0-4.
Overall Ashford played well for 70 minutes, and the scoreline could be seen as very harsh. Credit to Chalfont for taking their chances and being clinical in front of goal. The lads will take a lot away from this game but need to learn quickly as the games are coming thick and fast already.
We now look to our next game on Tuesday night where we travel to Tooting & Mitcham United.
Come on you Tangerines.