Zamaretto League Central Division
THIS REPORT IS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR OF THIS REPORT AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OFFICIAL VIEW OF ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDLESEX) FOOTBALL CLUB, ITS OFFICIALS AND SUPPORTERS.
RESPECT. The Oxford English definition of the word is “admiration felt towards a person or thing that has good qualities or achievements; politeness arising from this.” Respect is a commodity that is earned not lightly given just because the person is in a position of power. Take Saturday’s match, several occurrences happened that shaped the course of the game and greatly influenced the score-line. Not all of these were created by the players, at times the officials altered the intrinsic values of the match either directly or indirectly, at the same time showing both incompetence and arrogance.
By way of getting so many decisions wrong the officials at this match took the risk of frustrating players, supporters and management alike to the extent that the Ashford first team coach was ordered off the touch line to stand behind the barrier after being accused of “showing off to his mates” when he queried yet another strange decision by the referee.
Respect is a two way thing. If referees demand respect from the clubs and their supporters, the clubs need to be shown respect by the officials.
That is to take nothing away from Marlow who played with energy and commitment despite the hot conditions and the fact that this was a meaningless match, both sides in mid-table with no hope of promotion nor fear of relegation.
Theron Wood forced a good early save out of Michael Watkins in the Marlow goal and Tom Willment reciprocated with a headed chance for Marlow as the bumpy pitch made controlling the ball rather a lottery but further chances fell to Wood and Christian Nanetti for Ashford and Willment and Johnny Isaac for the visitors before, in the thirty fifth minute, Marlow took the lead. Darren Rockell ran onto a ball, controlled it with his hand, then thumped it past Paul McCarthy as Ashford’s defence waited for the whistle to signal a free kick, the whistle never came as referee Linden allowed the “goal” to stand then cautioned McCarthy for demonstrating his displeasure.
A cross from the left by Nanetti was blatantly handled in the Marlow penalty area by a defender but the referee waved play-on then the game switched to the other end where a cross from the right was touched home by Marcus Mealing who was a good yard and a half off-side. Again, Mr Linden allowed the “goal”, receiving no advice from his assistant who kept his flag down.
Another solid handball penalty appeal following another Nanetti cross was waved away just before the break then a further appeal received the same response on the hour mark, when Jamie Lawrence was hauled down following great work by Nanetti on the left.
Another Ashford attack was broken up when Isaiah Rankin was pulled off the ball by a defender holding on to his shirt but, inexplicably, Linden gave the free kick to Marlow, cautioned Rankin and sent the Ashford coach out from the dug-out to join the supporters.
Marlow’s third goal was an absolute stunner. Willment wandered up from his position in central defence to strike an unstoppable free-kick past McCarthy and in to the back of the Ashford net via the cross bar, one of the best free-kicks seen at Short Lane.
Willment’s goal concluded the scoring but a late chance by Mealing went close as he attempted to chip McCarthy.