1. Summary of Saturday’s win against Westfield
2. A look ahead to next week’s FA Trophy encounter at home to Lewes
3. Two games in midweek: Under-18’s on Monday, 1st Team away in Middx Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Ashford met Westfield for the third time in eight days on Saturday, this time in the League and the opening half was every bit as tight as has been the case in the previous two matches. In the second half though, the Tangerines finally managed to take control of the game, scoring three times to record a 3-0 home win and taking their points total to 14, one of four clubs all on that number. The recent heavy defeat against Hayes & Yeading has seen our goal difference take a hit leaving us the lowest of the four clubs concerned so rather than describe it as being in 10th we will say we are now equal 7th.
After the stirring performance put on by both sides in the week, the first half here was more like last Saturday’s match with little to write home about with neither side really conjuring up too much of a chance. It all changed though on 53 minutes when Kofi Lockhart-Adams, clearly buoyed by his two goals in midweek got in close and finished cleverly past the visiting keeper. Although close it was not a particularly easy chance so full credit to our currently turbo charged striker, later voted by supporters as this week’s recipient of the “Hitchcock & King, Ashford Player of the Match.”
The goal really got Ashford going and although Westfield still did their share of attacking, they looked less threatening than they had at times in the previous encounters and it was not a great surprise when Mark Bitmead made it two on 69 minutes. Once again Lockhart-Adams was involved, winning the ball well on the far touchline and cutting in before releasing it to Bitmead who did what he does best and finished with aplomb past Gary Ross in the visitors’ goal.
The third goal with six minutes left on the clock plus stoppage was probably the best goal of the three as Bradley Wilson, Tommy Brunton and Bitmead combined in a slick passing movement, ending with once again the latter scoring with confidence.
The next round is on us immediately as we shall be welcoming Lewes FC to Short Lane next Saturday in the 1st Qualifying Round. They play in the Premier Division of the Bostik League in which they sit in 7th place, having won five, drawn three and lost three to date.
We have not actually played our South Coast opponents since February 2004 but our very first visit to their ground was on 19 August 2000 and it was also our very first match in the Ryman League. It was an exciting encounter to say the least, ending four goals apiece, our scorers being Scott Todd 2, Andy Frost (later sent off, nothing new there) and Tony Nolan from the spot. That opening match was in Division3 as it was then of the Ryman League and both ourselves and Lewes then were promoted to Division 2 and then Division 1 South, before they soared away to higher things. We only managed to beat them once when we won at Short Lane by the only goal of the match from Jim Heggarty in December 2001. It wasn’t the match that is as much remembered by the writer as the reaction of their rather aggressive Scottish manager at the time, who had to be dissuaded from strangling their Secretary who had quite rightly told him that he neither could nor would mark the referee zero out of 100. A long time ago now of course.
Should the scores be level after 90 minutes next week, there will be a replay at Lewes on the Wednesday evening. The tie on Saturday does mean, of course, that next Saturday’s scheduled league match at home to FC Romania will now have to be re-scheduled. We will hopefully set a new date this week.
Before that though we have two matches this midweek. Tomorrow evening, Monday, the new look under-18’s entertain Wealdstone in a Ryman Youth League encounter. Since Joe Monks took over, his squad have certainly steadied the ship, drawing last week’s League Cup encounter at Tooting two apiece. The lads lost 3-4 on penalties but after conceding 30 goals in two games under the previous Management, it seemed like a win! Kick-off tomorrow at Short Lane is 7.45 p.m.
On Tuesday evening we make the short trip to meet old friends Hanworth Villa in the 1st Round of the Middlesex Senior Cup. Manager Murray, with Saturday’s Trophy tie in mind will doubtless deploy his squad wisely but it is a match worth winning simply for the opportunity of meeting our neighbours Staines Town in the following round, albeit at Wheatsheaf Lane.
On the social side, the annual Halloween Night takes place at the club on Friday night when there will be prizes for the best costumes in various categories. One or two colleagues on the committee will not have to make too much effort to look scary it has to be said but it will as always be a fun evening and everyone is warmly invited.