Ashford Town (Middlesex)




Ryman League Premier Division,
Short Lane Stadium
26th December 2009

Wealdstone were the visitors to Short Lane for this Boxing Day match and they were instrumental in playing their part in what was excellent entertainment. With numerous cautions and a dismissal on both sides, the reader would be forgiven for imagining that this match was a bit of a blood bath but that was far from the case. Wealdstone are a strong, committed, robust side that have enjoyed an excellent first half of the season that has seen them suffer just 2 losses in the league, a record bettered only by leaders Dartford.

With Ashford’s recent record, under new manager Jamie Lawrence, of six matches undefeated, the prospect of a close, keenly fought contest was eagerly anticipated and the players certainly did not disappoint. The home side had two good chances, through a Scott Weight volley that flashed just wide and a mis-hit Byron Harrison effort that was scooped up by Stones keeper Luke Woods before Sam Corcoran replied for the visitors with a tremendous long range drive that swerved and dipped forcing a good take out of Craig Ross.

Ashford started to apply a little pressure on their opponents and  it came as a surprise when, in the 16th minute, Stones went ahead through a disputed penalty. Danny Spendlove managed to get away from Ashford’s Brett Cooper who slid in from behind the Stones striker, bringing him down, referee Mr Jaye had no hesitation in giving the penalty despite Cooper’s insistence that he had played the ball which did appear to change its trajectory . The Ashford right back was cautioned and Ryan Ashe stepped up to dispatch the spot kick past Ross.

The visitors doubled their advantage, six minutes later, when Corcoran attempted another long range speculative drive that bounced just in front of the diving Ross and into the net.

Ashford kept their composure and continued to play their passing game which nearly paid dividends in the 28th minute as Brian Haule ran on to a defence splitting pass from brother Davis to fire a left footed shot that was cleared off the line with Woods well beaten then, a spot of hand bags occurred following a bad challenge on Brian Haule which resulted in Harrison receiving a caution.

Scott Harris scores Ashford’s first goal against Wealdstone.  
Photo by Steve McCarthy.

The hosts pulled a goal back in the 32nd minute following a long throw into the Stones penalty area by Guy Hollis, Stones defence failed to clear their lines allowing Scott Harris to turn and find the back of the net from 8 yards, then, just before the break, Brian Haule headed the ball against a post.

The second half started explosively with Davis Haule receiving his marching orders for stamping on an opponent, then Spendlove was cautioned for Diving.

Ashford equalised in the 72nd minute when Paul Johnson curled in a free kick, given for a foul on Ricardo Joseph, that Woods failed to hold, Brian Haule poked the loose ball into the empty net but parity lasted just 2 minutes as a ball played through the centre of the Ashford defence was picked up by substitute Charlie Mpi who, with Ross slow to come off his line, drilled the ball past the Ashford keeper to regain the lead for his team.

Young Ashford central defender Guy Hollis was carried off with what looked like a serious knock to be replaced by Adam Logie.

Down to ten men and a goal down, things were not looking too promising for the home team but, with just two minutes of normal time remaining, Adam Logie launched a long throw goalwards where Harrison managed to force the ball past Woods for the equaliser. 

There was still time left for a little more drama however as Ashford’s debutant winger Jermaine McGlashan, a recent signing from Merstham, sped toward the Stones goal and was unceremoniously hacked down from behind as he skipped past Chris O’Leary who joined Davis Haule in the early bath.