Ashford Town (Middlesex) 1
Carshalton Athletic 2

Ryman League Premier Division,
Short Lane Stadium
27th March 2010

In a scrappy first half, a David Ray goal was all that separated the two teams as they went in for the break, then an early second half breakthrough gave the men in tangerine some hope before even that was dashed by a goal from the visitors just on the hour mark.

Early Ashford pressure meant that Carshalton were confined to sporadic attacks and a few free kicks, one of which, swung in by Rob Watkins, was glanced into the arms of Craig Ross by Adrian Topping. Shortly after, a quality ball through the Carshalton defence by Jones Awuah found Jermaine McGlashan but he placed his cross too close to Nick Hamann and the Carshalton keeper was able to pluck the ball out of the air.

Good play from the home side from Awuah, following a Paul Johnson free kick, gave Warren Harris the chance to cross but Justin Roberts managed to head clear then, at the other end, a speculative effort by Ricardo Joseph came back off a post.

Brett Cooper had a shot cleared after a good run from his usual right back position before, in the 31st minute, Carshalton broke the deadlock. A long throw by Richard Jolly was cleared only as far as David Ray on the edge of the Ashford penalty area and the Carshalton skipper drilled the ball into the far corner of the net.

New Ashford signing Alain Behi was showing some fine touches and he had a fizzing shot saved by Hamann then Ashford had another good chance from a Warren Harris corner when Scott Weight headed the ball back across goal but Russ Canderton could only head into the keeper’s arms.

The pedantic and whistle-happy referee Mr Gillett, who had penalised every little misdemeanour up to the 42nd minute, inexplicably failed to award Ashford a penalty for what was a blatant handball and, just as disgracefully, his assistant was well placed to see the incident but, he too did not have the courage when it came to the big decisions and kept his flag down.

Ashford did find the equaliser early in the second half, Jermaine McGlashan was sent tumbling to the turf by Ray, up stepped Harris to curl in a perfectly weighted free kick for Femi Ilesanmi to head powerfully past Hamann.

A McGlashan shot was saved by Hamann at the cost of a corner after superb work by Johnson to secure possession before, in the 61st minute, Carshalton regained the lead. Another long throw by Jolly was nodded on for Barry Stevens to score via the far post.

Ashford made a couple of substitutions in an attempt to claw back the deficit and, for a while, looked as if they might grab an equaliser but the final ball was lacking the decisive edge then, late in the game, the visitors had a chance to wrap the game up through Stevens but a telling challenge from Ilesanmi cleared the danger.

Johnson skied a shot over Hamann’s bar as the final whistle doomed Ashford to their seventh defeat in nine matches.