Ashford Town (Middlesex) 1
Waltham Abbey 1
Waltham Abbey Crest

Ryman League Premier Division,
Short Lane Stadium
19th September 2009

Ashford missed the chance to cement their position in the top six, dropping two points against the team at the bottom of the league. Jamie Lawrence’s men could not get into their stride and struggled to break down a resolute Abbey defence.

Abbey were gifted the first chance of the game when Ashford midfielder Scott Weight surrendered possession to Billy Holland and, in a bid to win the ball back, bought the Abbey striker down unfairly. James Elmes stepped up to fire the free kick goalwards forcing Paul Burgess, the Ashford keeper, to parry the ball away.

Soon after, Ricci Crace evaded the Ashford off-side trap and ran onto a ball from midfield only to see his shot curl just past the advancing Burgess and the far post.

The home side huffed and puffed but could not find the break through, Warren Harris and Jermaine McGlashan were busy on the flanks but were unable to put in many telling crosses so Brian Haule and Scott Harris’ service was somewhat limited.

The best chance of the half came when Guy Hollis launched an enormous throw in to the Abbey penalty box, the ball eventually fell to the feet of Scott Harris and only a timely tackle by the visitors keeper, Harry Ricketts stopped the Ashford striker from trying his luck on goal.

Ashford bought on club captain Paul Johnson for the start of the second half, his on off transfer saga behind him, with McGlashan giving way.

Three minutes after the restart, Holland found Elmes on the right who advanced and sent over a low cross that eluded Burgess, but none of his team mates were on hand to take advantage.

At the other end, Scott Harris shot across the keeper, the ball looked to be going in at the far post but a slight touch from an Abbey defender deflected it wide for a corner that sparked a goalmouth scramble before eventually being cleared to safety.

Ashford celebrate taking the leadAbbey created another good chance, shortly after, when Elmes sent the ball forward to Holland who cushioned his header into the path of Crace but the winger shot wide before, in the 69th minute, Brian Haule gave Ashford the lead. The ball was played into the Abbey penalty area where Ricketts saved twice before Haule forced the ball home from close range.

The Tangerines lead lasted for all of three minutes. A cross from the left was met on the volley by Ricci Crace to give Burgess no chance for the equaliser.

A decent effort from Holland from 20 yards that Burgess had to deal with, tipping over his bar, was Abbey’s last chance of the match then, in the 84th minute, substitute Byron Harrison won the ball just inside the Abbey half and played a one – two with Haule but failed to connect properly and the chance was gone.

Ashford extended their unbeaten run to 10 league matches with this drab performance and will be disappointed that they did not grab all three points especially after their heroics of the previous Tuesday’s superb victory at Sutton United.