Easter Mon 22 Apr 19: Ashford 2 Bedfont Sports 1
A somewhat low key match saw Ashford winning their third successive match against neighbours Bedfont Sports by two goals to one and it does seem now that the Tangerines have put the rather depressing run of defeats behind them, a run that took them from play-off contenders to mid-table obscurity in just a few weeks.
Three points looked anything but a possibility during the opening period of the game as Ashford found themselves having to endure wave after wave of attacks from the visitors. There were chances in abundance for Bedfont including a very lucky escape for Ashford when keeper Tyler Tobin clearly fouled a marauding attacker only for the referee to attempt to play an advantage which was then not taken. The Bedfont bench, ex-Ashford players Paul Johnson and Jimmy Hibburt, was apoplectic with rage but the incident passed as it had to and the Tangerines were grateful for a bit of luck that has been in scarce supply recently.
Deservedly though Bedfont took the lead through Charlie Postance the contest between him and Adam Baigent being quite a feature of the game.
Very slowly Ashford started to come into it but the visitors were good value for their lead at the break.
For no obvious reason though, the pendulum swung considerably in the second period and it was suddenly Ashford having more of it. The equaliser arrived on 56 minutes when a long cross from Gurkan Gokmen somehow eluded everyone with the exception that is of Mark Bitmead who did what he does best and stuck the ball into the net. That said, there was considerable doubt as to who had actually had the final touch as it could have been Nathan Pooley, or a defender or even Gokmen, assuming nobody touched it but Ashford’s eagle eyed tannoy man, Eddie the Hutch said it was Bitmead so that was that!
The poor surface did not help either side and Ashford are counting the days until Monday 29 April when the refurbishment starts. It looked though as if the match would end in a draw but with just two minutes left on the clock a huge clearance from Tyler Tobin saw Bitmead the fastest to react as he stuck out a foot at the right time to elude the visiting keeper and secure all three points.
There is now just one league match left which will be next Saturday when Ashford go to Bracknell Town. They lost at Westfield yesterday when they could have clinched second place. They are guaranteed a play-off spot but with both Marlow and Cheshunt just a point behind, they need a win to ensure second spot, so it will be a vital match for them. The result won’t make too much difference to the Tangerines as such but Ashford have something to prove against their opponents who fully deserved their 5-0 win at Short Lane earlier in the season, and that was at a time when Ashford were riding reasonably high. More on this one later in the week.