Ashford welcome Barton Rovers to Short Lane this afternoon, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

After doing well in recent seasons, Barton have not enjoyed a successful campaign this time round and will arrive in 21st place in the table, although with only one side due to be relegated this season, that spot appears destined for Arlesey.

In our 13 previous matches against Barton, we have won six, lost five and drawn two, so things are fairly even over the seasons.  Our best win was last season in actual fact when we managed a 6-3 victory whilst our worst defeat was in April 2011, when Jamie Lawrence was the manager.  On that occasion we contrived to lose 2-6, our two both coming from the spot, courtesy of Jordan Kiffin.

We are unlikely to face each other next season due to the oncoming FA re-structure which seems likely to place us in the Bostick League, although nothing is certain until the allocations are announced in May.

As you may have read, following the announcement by British Airways FC that they are moving to Bedfont & Feltham next season, we have moved quickly and will be delighted to welcome Southall FC to Short Lane.  They are members of the Spartan S. Midlands League and are on the verge of winning Division One, having lost just one league match all season, which means they will be playing at Step 5 next season.  They wish to stay in the Spartan S. Midlands League, so if the FA grants that request, there will be a host of new clubs playing here, all of whom will be made very welcome.

One piece of news, which is now public knowledge following an announcement on their web site, is that Leatherhead have been charged by the FA with fielding an ineligible player in a number of their matches this season, including the FA Cup match when they defeated us 2-1.  One assumes that the allegation is one of not having International Clearance for the player concerned and if so, we would have some sympathy as it can be an absolute nightmare.  Nevertheless we will obviously keep an interested eye on the matter.  It should be stressed that the club has only been charged, not found guilty, and the statement says they have asked for a personal hearing.

One other item of interest is that the FA has released “indicative” dates for the early rounds of next season’s FA Cup.  Assuming we still enter at the Preliminary Round stage, the date for that round is Saturday 25 August so no-one away that day please!

Finally, don’t forget that tomorrow (Sunday) we have a steak dinner (fillet, no less) available throughout the afternoon and the cost is an incredible fiver.   As a club, like many others, we struggle through the winter months to pay all the bills and were it not for individual club members putting their hands in their pockets, we would not be able to survive at this level.  You, meaning everyone with an interest in the club, can help greatly just by attending events, such as tomorrow’s, which could not be any cheaper.  Children are welcome.

Also our “Life Membership” scheme is well under way as evidenced by the plaques above the bar.  The cost of life membership is £500, the proceeds from which will all go to improving the infrastructure of the club.  You can pay over 12 instalments so please speak to Jamie Brunton or any committee person for further details.