Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central
Part of the matchday routine for home clubs at our level is to submit a 120-word match report to The Non-League Paper. When your correspondent phoned through his copy and gave the “Entertainment Rating” (a score out of five) there was a pause from the copy taker. “I’ve never had a one before” observed the lady charged with transcribing the phone call.
There is no sugaring the pill where this soporific stalemate is concerned – it was not an exciting game by any stretch of the imagination. However, there were mitigating circumstances on both sides. For Ashford, injuries and unavailability meant that Paul Burgess was forced into making six changes from the team that reached the Help for Heroes Cup Final in fine style in midweek. Marlow, meanwhile, knew that defeat would confirm relegation into the Hellenic League.
The result was a game played largely in midfield and with little goalmouth action. Neither goalkeeper made a genuine save in the first half, although Scott Weight headed across and a good passing move involving Pietro Palladino and Kofi Lockhart-Adams ended with Josh Andrew shooting across goal. At the other end, Leon Yarnie ran at the home defence and created a half chance, which he fired wide.
There was a brief flurry of excitement at the start of the second half as Andrew again shot wide for Ashford before Yarnie forced a smart save from Paul McCarthy in a one-on-one. Aaron Couch also forced a save from the home custodian before shooting across goal. However, neither goalkeeper was tested as the game ebbed away on a chilly afternoon.
After the match, Assistant Manager Steve Battams expressed his happiness that Ashford’s reshaped team had kept a clean sheet and was positive about the contributions of those players called into the team in place of the absentees. Ashford have lost only once in nine matches and the effort put in by the whole squad bodes well for the future of the club.