Sat 23 Feb 19: Ashford 2 Northwood 1
Ashford remained unbeaten over the last three matches as they defeated Northwood by 2 goals to 1 on Saturday.
On a glorious day for the time of the year both sides served up a far better match than had been the case the previous Saturday when neither Ashford nor Chipstead could find the net. The visitors included two ex-Ashford players in their ranks, Yahyah El-Kabouche and Jabir Laraba.
The pitch was not as good as it looked, drying rapidly in the unaccustomed sunshine but it did not prevent either side from conjuring up chances, with James Cottee going close for Ashford, and Sam Jenkins heading wide for the visitors.
The match was reasonably even but it was Northwood who drew first blood when a long ball down their right flank saw Joe Green not quite able to intercept it and and Dan Newton had time to get to the by-line and cross for Zaieb Sabti to purposefully strike home.
The equaliser arrived 14 minutes later. It came from a free kick sent in by Jack Beadle to James Cottee whose delicate header gave the visiting custodian little chance.
There was still time for more action before half-time mostly at Ashford’s end as a superb save from Tyler Tobin denied what looked a certain goal and that was followed by a rasping effort from Tremayne Charles which hit the cross bar before rebounding out to safety.
With the scores level and all to play for, Ashford looked stronger at the start of the second period and within six minutes of the resumption, they took the lead when Gurkan Gokmen took advantage of some less than inspired defending to absolutely crash the ball home from some six yards outside the penalty area. It was a goal to win any game and so it proved. The match remained relatively even but Ashford didn’t really look as if they would surrender the lead and could have gone on to score again, possibly the best effort coming from sub Leo Decabo who beat two men but sent his fierce effort just wide.
The Hitchcock and King Ashford supporters “Ashford Man of the match” award went to Gurkan Gokmen mostly for his goal but also for a fine display all round.
Another tough test comes up on Tuesday evening when the Tangerines make the short trip to Westfield FC, kick-off 7.45 p.m. The latter have been in such fine form that they now occupy one of the play-off places but with both Max Webb and Scott Weight mostly kept in reserve on Saturday, Ashford should be just about at full strength.
For anyone who does not know the address of the ground, it is: Woking Park Kingfield Road Woking GU22 9BA. The entrance is virtually opposite to that of Woking FC. Just follow the sign into Woking Leisure Centre and you can park for free in the large covered car park just past the Leisure Centre. Mind the humps on the way in!