MATCH PREVIEW: Ashford vs Chertsey Town
by Alan Constable

Matches are coming thick and fast now, and tomorrow evening we host Chertsey Town in another tricky league encounter, kicking off at 7.45 p.m. Sadly, thanks to the current requirements we shall not be able to keep the bar open after half-time or thereabouts but it will be open beforehand and we do now allow responsible people to take their drinks pitchside, albeit in plastic glasses.

Chertsey, of course, are near neighbours and we have played against them on 17 previous occasions, in three different leagues and various cup competitions over the years, including one remarkable FA Trophy match in November 2011 when we lost 5-6 after being four goals behind at one stage. Only one of our scorers from that match is still with us, although he was on his travels in between, and that of course, is Dan Brown who scored our first goal. The others were Ed Thomas (current whereabouts unknown), Jim Mann (now in the Police Force, but his parents still support us week in, week out), Jack Mullan (who was at Chalfont St. Peter) and Ashley Lodge (who we think is in Chertsey’s ranks at present). Indeed, it was a high scoring period as far as games between our clubs are concerned because just three months earlier, in the League, we had won our home match by 5 goals to 4.

No mention of Chertsey can go too far without talking of their incredible FA Vase triumph, now three seasons ago, when they played and eventually beat Cray Valley (PM) in a superb match which was also a fitting climax to the career of John Pomroy, who played many hundreds of games for Chertsey but also had a season with us.

There have been periods when Chertsey were in the Isthmian Premier Division, with the likes of Kenny Samson playing for them and then at the other end of the scale they were almost relegated into Step 6 football in the season before they won the Vase and the CCL and were duly promoted at the end of it. They have since done well at Step 4 including doing the double over us last season. They have not started this season quite as well with one or two unexpected set backs, including succumbing fairly tamely it looked to Marlow last Tuesday but they bounced back on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Hertford Town, who themselves have made a good start. There is little doubt tonight will be the toughest match so far this season and with us full of confidence right now it could be a classic.

Another three points came our way at Harlow on Saturday. We dominated the first half and should have been well ahead but our only reward was an early and superb strike from Jack French, nullified though by a Harlow equaliser against the run of play, shortly before half-time. In the second half with the strong wind behind them, the home team enjoyed much of the possession but our defence, now boosted by the arrival of Tim Pitt, from South Park but well known in this area, maintained its growing reputation for meanness and near the end, soon after we had started to look strong again, Bradley took a well controlled ball from Dan Brown and rounded the keeper to give us all three points

On Saturday we travel to Hastings United in the FA Trophy following our wins over Hullbridge and Whitstable, and if you want to be there you need to get in quick as it is all-ticket, with Hastings anticipating a sell-out. All the details are on their web site. We can worry about that after tonight and there will be a full run down on the game on the website later in the week.