We welcome Thame United FC to Short Lane on Tuesday evening for our penultimate home match in the Evostick League. Whether we will meet again in league action next season will only be known once the FA announces the outcome of its deliberations in line with the new structure.
We are fighting to avoid a double defeat this evening, having lost 0-3 at Thame on an exceptionally windy afternoon back in October by three goals to nil. All three goals came early when Thame had the wind in their favour or at least behind them in the first half but we could have been playing all night that day if that makes sense without scoring. Three days later we knocked 10 goals past Fleet!
Our visitors arrive in 10th place in the table, with three points more than us but we have a match in hand. They have been in rather topsy-turvy form recently, knocking five goals past Barton and Uxbridge but conceding seven to Aylesbury United and losing 0-2 at Hartley Wintney so it’s difficult to predict what may happen this evening.
Saturday was a highly unusual day with the team and everyone else travelling to Marlow, only to be told that the match was off because only one of the Marlow players had turned up. Quite what was behind it was unclear with some saying the players had gone on strike after not being paid and others saying that it was as a result of criticism by the manager in the local press. Marlow have now put a statement on their web site, apologising for what happened but confirming that none of their committee nor the manager actually knew about the situation in advance.
We now have to wait for the League to decide what will happen. In the similar situation that cropped up at Bedford when the home side refused to take the field after Fleet had travelled, the matches were re-arranged so that Bedford had to do the go to Fleet in midweek but what will happen here with just two weeks of the season left is anyone’s guess.
Some lazy journalism in the Non-League Paper recorded the postponement as being down to a waterlogged pitch which was untrue as the pitch actually looked lush.
After tonight, we have our final home game when we entertain Hartley Wintney on Saturday. There’s no doubting that they have done remarkably well in their first season at this level but we know them well, of course, with both of us having come through the Combined Counties League and we will be battling hard to avenge a stoppage time defeat at their ground. There is a lot going on, on Saturday, including a stag party down from Liverpool, to celebrate Gareth Coates’ forthcoming matrimony to the lovely Steph, she who created her own piece of Ashford history by arriving on a horse for one match when she sought directions from the local farm only to be given a horse ride to the ground (Burnham) by the farmer.