Biggleswade too strong for Ashford
Evo-Stik League, Division One Central
|One of the characteristics of Ashford Town (Middlesex) under Paul Burgess this season has been the workrate and industry of the team. While this match was no exception, there was something missing from the Ash Trees – that indefinable “spark” and so play-off contenders Biggleswade Town returned north having picked up three points from a workmanlike performance.
On a fine early spring day, both teams tried to play positive, attacking football and Ashford’s leading scorer Dan Brown narrowly fired over in the 9th minute, with Kofi Lockhart-Adams and Alex Duffy also going close in the minutes that followed.
Biggleswade created several chances of their own but didn’t force a meaningful save from Paul McCarthy, although Jon Woolf did hit the post in the 34th minute. Moments later, visiting skipper Liam Folds appeared to handle the ball inside the penalty area, but referee Daniel Jacecko saw no infringement.
Brown had two further difficult chances for the Ash Trees, while Ashley Lodge forced a superb save from Waders goalkeeper Anthony Ender as the home side shaded an entertaining first half.
Ashford have become known as a “second half team” this term, but on this occasion it was the visitors who took control of the game after the break. Just 47 seconds after the restart, Craig Daniel saw an opportunity from a corner and turned and shot beyond McCarthy. Moments later, Ashford skipper Russell Canderton handled the ball inside his penalty area but, like his opposite number in the first half, got away with it. The visiting forwards’ reaction to the incident was in marked contrast to the home side and the protests were vociferous and prolonged.
The Ash Trees should have capitalised on this let-off by equalising in the 49th minute, only for Kofi Lockhart-Adams to fire over the crossbar when well placed, while Duffy had a fierce shot blocked.
The game settled into something of a midfield battle, although a brief moment of entertainment was provided by an outrageous dive by Daniel, who somehow escaped a booking for the simulation.
With 21 minutes left for play, Biggleswade scored the decisive second goal when the defence lost track of Waders forward Brett Donnelly, who made no mistake with his free header.
From the restart, Duffy again forced a good save from Ender, although Donnelly should have put his side 3-0 up in the 73rd minute, only to blaze his shot wide. By then, though, the game was effectively safe and although Dan Brown and Jim Mann both went close to scoring a consolation goal, there could be no doubt that the visitors deserved their victory.