The re-union theme is maintained this week as we welcome everyone associated with Bracknell Town FC to Short Lane for this afternoon’s Bostik League encounter. Indeed the last time our opponents were here was on Easter Monday 17 April 2006, when they completed a Southern League double over us, winning 2-0. Despite that setback, we were promoted at the end of the season when we won by the only goal of the game at Brackley Town and moved back to the Ryman League for the following season, since when we have only met in a couple of friendlies.

Bracknell will arrive here today top of the league with maximum points from their five league matches to date after being promoted from the Hellenic League at the end of last season. They are also attracting increased attendances for their home ground and seem to have recovered completely from a period in the doldrums when they dropped down to Step 6.

It goes without saying, therefore, that we probably face our toughest test to date but after last week’s win at Tooting, we should be full of confidence. On top of that the writer understands that we have re-signed Tom Howard from Merstham this week. When he joined us during the second half of last season, he quickly became a supporters’ favourite and he will be welcomed back with open arms to Short Lane.

This afternoon’s match has been dedicated to the memory of our late Chairman Dave Baker and we will have a minute’s silence for Dave. We want it to be a happy day though with any number of great days to be remembered in Dave’s company. We are carrying on into the evening and we hopefully we will be welcoming Carmel and members of Dave’s extended family to share their memories with us.

A huge thank you goes to our match ball sponsors today, namely the Balmer Family, on behalf of Keith Balmer, our late General Secretary and another Ashford stalwart we lost so sadly a little while ago.

Once again we will be pleased to allow free entry to any local residents with either a TW15 or TW19 address. Just show a copy of a utility bill at the turnstile. If you have not been before but find you enjoy it, we will be delighted to welcome you back.

We finally have a midweek match coming up when, on Tuesday evening, we resume our rivalry away to Molesey FC. They are at the opposite end of the table without a win yet but we shall need to show the same determination as there will doubtless be today as no matches are ever easy.

Also on Tuesday evening, Southall will be here at Short Lane against Rayners Lane in the Middlesex Charity Cup.

Tomorrow, Sunday, the Ladies face their next tie in the Women’s FA Cup when they entertain Ascot United Ladies in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Women’s FA Cup. It is difficult to gauge standards in ladies’ football but a look at the Ascot web site shows that they have lost their last two league matches but did knock Wycombe Wanderers Ladies out of the Cup in the previous round. Kick-off is 2.00 p.m.