A compelling match at Ware on Saturday saw Ashford take the lead, only go 1-2 down, and then rescue a point in the 86th minute.
On the 3G surface, Ashford seemed to settle well after an opening flurry from the home side, who had only lost one home league match this season. Indeed, when Tommy Brunton gave the Tangerines the lead on 16 minutes, more than one Ashford supporter sensed that it was going to be a good day. The goal came when Mark Bitmead sent in a fierce cross shot that the keeper could only push out and Brunton was on hand to deftly stroke the ball home for his first goal since last October when he scored the final goal in a 10-0 win over Fleet Town.
However, the impetus of the match ever so slowly started to swing towards the home side who rather belied their present position in the table and it was all hands to the pump as Ashford’s defence had to fight hard to preserve the clean sheet at half-time. They managed that but if anything Ware looked more determined in the second period and nobody could dispute that they deserved to be level when a quick throw in caught Ashford out and the ball was in the net in a jiffy on 57 minutes. Both Tom Dilloway and Samad Kazi were carded as Ware pushed to go ahead although Ashford were denied a blatant penalty when the referee a long way behind play failed to spot a deliberate shirt pull in the area. Indeed, Ashford were not over happy with the refereeing throughout the second half but had only themselves to blame when Ware went ahead on 79 minutes, a simple cross leading to a second goal for the home side.
Suddenly though the pendulum swung back as Ashford pushed forward in the hope of an equaliser. Manager Murray brought on James Cottee and the extra forward seemed to make all the difference. After one or two near misses, it was indeed Cottee who rammed home the equaliser with four minutes left on the clock after some good work by Nebay Haile. And so it finished, with Ashford probably happier than their opponents with the final outcome of a point apiece.
The point though has maintained Ashford’s current run and they have now risen to 7th in the table. On Tuesday evening, the Tangerines visit Camberley Town in the 2nd Round of the Southern Combination Challenge Cup, to see who visits either Abbey Rangers or Cobham in the quarter final. Kick-off is 7.45 p.m. and the address of the ground is Krooner Park, Wilton Road, Camberley, GU15 2QW, access being at the back of the industrial estate.
Camberley are always tough opponents in any competition but an ever sterner test comes on Saturday when league leaders Marlow come to Short Lane in the League. More on that one later in the week.
There was another good win for the ladies on Sunday as they won 5-0 away to Tottenham whilst the Under-18’s are at home this evening to Hendon in the Middlesex Senior Youth Cup.