FA Carlsberg Trophy, Second Qualifying Round
After twenty goals in the first two meetings between Chertsey Town and Ashford Town (Middlesex), it was always going to be difficult for these two sides to serve up a third classic encounter. While the game might not linger in the memories of the 136 spectators, the three points won by Ashford were vital for the Tangerines as they look to push up the table.
Chertsey went into this match with only one win in the eleven matches since Spencer Day decamped to Farnborough, taking several players with him. However, that win did come against high-flying Biggleswade Town and new player-manager David Johnston has fashioned a solid team who try to play positive football.
Both sides looked to attack on a bumpy pitch but chances were at a premium throughout and it took a moment of magic to give Ashford a 15th minute lead. A deep corner was flicked on by Jim Mann and Kofi Lockhart-Adams hit an overhead kick into the net.
Chertsey’s response was impressive and they pegged their visitors back, equalising within seven minutes. A poor pass from Bairoh Conteh gifted the Curfews possession and forced Kiri Takahiro into conceding a free kick, which Steve Brown blasted through the wall and Paul McCarthy’s efforts to save it.
Ashford regained the initiative and Dan Brown was denied by the feet of Curfews keeper Jamie Norris, who also saved a header from Lockhart-Adams. Brown also tested Norris and his defence on several occasions and his pace was clearly troubling former Ashford defender Billy Witham, who would have been substituted in the 44th minute had the referee noticed the intended change. Whatever was troubling Witham in the final minutes of the first half he recovered from and went on to complete the match.
The teams went in for tea level and this seemed to galvanise the hosts, who dominated the third quarter of the match without ever really testing McCarthy and they would pay for this lack of cutting edge in the 69th minute. A threaded pass down the slope from Alex Duffy to Kofi Lockhart-Adams, sent the powerful forward clear and he finished very well.
Chertsey withdrew Matt Brunt and replaced him with Alex Bodean but it was the Ash Trees who looked likelier to add to the score. Indeed, Brown had the ball in the net in the 77th minute after Norris spilled a Mark Bitmead free kick, but the “goal” was ruled out for offside.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Norris saved smartly from an Ashley Lodge shot and from the resultant corner, Lockhart-Adams should have made the game safe. However, his header cannoned back off the post, denying the former Tooting & Mitcham player his hat-trick.Looking for the equaliser, Chertsey threw men forward and created an excellent chance deep into stoppage time, but former Ash Tree John Pomroy could only head wide.
Ashford will be delighted to have claimed six points from their local rivals and the win will be a great boost to Paul Burgess and his young squad.