Cheshunt had been tipped for promotion early in the season by Ashford Assistant Manager Mark Green following the home match at Short Lane and everyone knew it would be tough playing away to them on Saturday.
So it proved with Cheshunt taking all three points in a 1-0 victory, which could have seen Ashford losing more heavily but for a superb performance from Tyler Tobin in goal, but equally could have seen them sharing the points or even snatching a winner in a committed display in windy conditions which both sides found difficulty in dealing with in a scrappy first half.
Both sides seemed to conquer the conditions better in the second half but defences generally remained in control. The crucial goal, though, from Cheshunt’s Jason Hallett arrived just on the hour mark. It came from Cheshunt’s right flank and did not look a particularly threatening situation but somehow Hallett got on the end of it and beat Tobin, although there was a suggestion that it took some kind of deflection to deceive him. It was difficult to see from the other end.
Ashford might have buckled but Tobin was in great form generally and along with a superb goal line stop from Elliott Poley, the game gradually became more even again with Ashford, fortified by the introduction from the bench of both Jack Beadle and James Cottee, both back from holiday, were looking as if they could nick one of their own. They forced a number of free kicks and Mark Bitmead went close but as time ran out and the home side in no mood to concede anything, the match ended with the solitary goal being the vital difference.
As always we look to the next match which is not until next Saturday when we are on the road again, this time to face FC Romania, also at Cheshunt’s ground, so at least we will know the way!
The Ladies hit double figures for the umpteenth time this season with a 15-0 win away to Wealdstone Ladies in the John Greenacre Memorial Trophy and doubtless there will be a full report on the L:adies’ website.
We do now have dates for two outstanding cup matches. In the Middlesex Charity Cup quarter final, we have been drawn at home to Hanworth Villa and the game will take place on Tuesday 12 March whilst the away quarter final in the Southern Combination Cup against local rivals Abbey Rangers has been fixed for Tuesday 19 March. This latter date may be subject to change should Abbey progress to the semi-final of the FA Vase, but they have a tough tie in the 5th Round having been drawn away to Cray Valley (PM). and then a 6th Round tie to negotiate before we reach that point.
Barry Smith’s funeral has been fixed for Tuesday 22 January, at 2.00 p.m. at Hanworth Crematorium. Barry spend much of his football life involved with Staines Town but in recent seasons also supported Ashford in his own inimitable style. We don’t know for certain yet but the wake may be back at Ashford afterwards.