Sat 15 Dec 18, Ashford 2 Chalfont St. Peter 0
Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates lately. The pressures of Christmas preparation etc. have taken a toll but here goes and the first match to report on is the Surrey Senior Cup tie at home to Chipstead on a very wet and windy night at Short Lane, when we ended up losing 1-4. Given that we scored five goals in each of the previous two league matches, we would have expected to do rather better, especially with the carrot of another home time in the 3rd Round against Tooting had we won.
A 1-4 defeat sounds like a bit of a hammering but that scoreline is a bit misleading. Our opponents scored after 22 minutes and we then equalised five minutes later from the spot. The ball was clearly handled in the area but the referee turned down the strong appeal only then to award us one in the scramble that followed when Max Webb was up ended. Nebay Haile, in confident mode, following his excellent game at South Park on the Saturday, made no mistake.
For quite a while Ashford, fielding a much changed team from the Saturday, were fairly dominant in possession but as referees so often do, the penalty count was evened up shortly before half-time when ex-Ashford player Bradley Wilson tangled with Steve Loveridge and a soft penalty was awarded, which was converted
Ashford had the whole of the second period in which to come back but it was one of those nights when it rarely looked as if the ball was actually going to find the net, leaving the inevitable to happen as Chipstead showed how it should be done with two late goals. We wish them good luck in the next round.
On to last Saturday and another home game against Chalfont St Peter, a club we had failed to beat in any of the last competitive matches against them. The sequence was finally broken though as Ashford secured all three points with a 2-0 win, both goals coming in the first half.
There were two ex-Ashford favourites in the visitors’ line-up, namely Jack Mullan and Dan Fleming but it was not their day as Ashford went ahead in just 14 minutes through James Cottee and in a generally dominant first half, doubled the lead through Nebay Haile, once again impressing as he strives to ensure a regular place. Nebay had Tommy Brunton to thank for some superb build up play. Fleming got through once and it seemed he had to score but was only able to hit the ball to within keeper Tyler Tobin’s grasp and the Ashford custodian made a smart save.
There were no further goals in the second half but it remained an entertaining game, especially given the torrential rain that persisted for much of the match. Indeed, even Ashford’s pitch, which absorbs water like a sponge, was showing signs of strain by the end and although there was no doubt that the excellent Mr. Hurst in the middle would get the match completed, had there been another 20 minutes it might well have been a different story.
On to matters to come and this Saturday we shall be at home again, to Hanwell Town. We played them at Hanwell early in the season when they were riding on the crest of a wave and we lost in the final moments by the only goal, which entitled us to feel a little aggrieved having pushed so hard for a winner ourselves. Much the same happened at Short Lane last season, albeit in the Southern League, Saturday’s match will doubtless be close again, with kick-off at 3.00 p.m.
After the match we have the annual Christmas Draw. Sally has been busy sorting out all the prizes and a big thank you to those who have donated prizes. We will doubtless have a few tickets still available on the night and the draw will be followed by a musical evening. Please support the club if you can.
Finally, we understand that Ashford Ladies have been drawn at home to Charlton Athletic Ladies in the semi-final of the Isthmian Women’s Cup on a date to be decided.