Zamaretto League Central Division
|Ashford struggled to capture the form of recent weeks against a strong Slough Town side that impressed with an expansive passing game that had their hosts on the back foot for a considerable portion of this match.
Noticeably absent from the Ashford line-up were Isaiah Rankin and the increasingly influential Jordan Kiffin, the former through injury and the latter through a one match suspension. Jamie Lawrence, free again from injury, replaced Rankin while Tyrone Berry came in for Kiffin.
The visitors took the game to their hosts from the start and, with a little more composure, may have taken an early lead when Danny Burnell spurned two chances in the first four minutes of the game, turning well before firing wildly over for the first and, after picking up a poor clearance, blasting the ball wide.
Ashford had a good chance themselves in the 7th minute when Alain Behi had a header cleared of the Slough line following a Russ Canderton long throw, then had the ball in the back of the Rebels net, 2 minutes later when Luke Hickie sent a free kick to the right hand edge of the Slough penalty area for Lawrence to head back across goal and Jones Awuah to volley home but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for off-side.
Slough had a free kick of their own, shortly after, but Jack Franks fell on Paul Coyne’s curling cross at the second attempt then a good passage of play with Steve Sinclair evident culminated in Coyne sending his shot narrowly over Franks’ bar from the edge of the Ashford penalty area.
Ashford went close on 18 minutes when a Hickie corner was headed on by Canderton to Behi who, in turn, headed goalwards only for Dominique Zepherin to pluck the ball off the head of Awuah.
By the half hour mark, the visitors had had the best of the possession but had not really penetrated the Ashford defence while Ashford seemed content to sit back and hit their opponents on the break.
Jamie Lawrence went close from a Canderton throw, curling a shot just wide of the Slough left hand post then Behi entertained the crowd with a spot of ball juggling before volleying just wide but, in the 32nd minute, Slough opened the scoring. An Ashford pass went astray in midfield and was picked up by Sinclair who was allowed to progress to the edge of the penalty area where he shot straight at Franks, but the greasy ball spun out of his grasp and into the back of the Ashford net.
Zepherin had equal problems with the ball shortly after, fumbling Samad Kazi’s cross, but he atoned by diving on the ball as Lawrence threatened.
The visitors increased their lead in the 38thminute indirectly from a corner that was cleared just as far as Sinclair who took the ball down, looked up and coolly lobbed the ball into the right hand corner of Franks’ net.
Franks was on hand to save a certain goal just before half time when he dived full length to tip a superb goal-bound effort from Simon Martin round the post, then at the other end, a surging run by Behi was bought to an unfair conclusion but Hickie’s resulting free kick was fired well wide.
Ashford made a change at half time bringing on Mark Bitmead for Tom Kanek and within minutes ‘Side show Bob’ as he is affectionately known was into the action being bought down by Danny Murphy for a free kick that was cleared.
Burnell should have made the game safe for the visitors in the 64th minute when he was clean through on goal as the Ashford defence stopped expecting the off-side flag to go up but, with only Franks to beat, he shot wide.
Shots from Behi and Bitmead suffered the same fate for the hosts before, in the 80th minute, they pulled a goal back. A flowing move from the back was finished off when Behi spotted Berry’s run and slotted a well measured through ball into the Ashford midfielder’s path where Berry calmly slotted past Zepherin.
Ashford failed to grab a share of the points, even after they sent the towering figure of Billy Jeffreys up to bolster the attack, Slough holding on comfortably to claim all three points from a disappointed Ashford.