Sat 24 February 2018
Evostick League South – East Division
Hayes & Yeading 1 Ashford Town (Middx) 2
Following the disastrous and very unlucky run that saw Ashford losing seven matches in a row, the Tangerines are now unbeaten in four games and whilst the win over Kempston last week was spectacular in terms of the final scoreline, the win at promotion chasing Hayes & Yeading was perhaps even more impressive and also completed the double over their local opponents
Fielding an unchanged line-up despite concerns about Max Webb who had sustained a foot injury at work, Ashford started with a bang and effectively won the game within the opening seven minutes as they scored twice. On a superb surface that is a credit to Hayes and Yeading, the opening goal came from a deep free kick from Mitchal Gough which saw Jack Beadle almost scoring, but the ball was cleared from the line. It wasn’t properly cleared though and Tommy Brunton put the ball straight back into the danger area leaving James Cottee to react first and steer the ball home.
Ashford had their tails up and doubled the lead within minutes. A corner saw Gough heading the ball towards the goal but again it was cleared from the line only for Romario Jonas to force it home.
It was a marvellous start for the Tangerines and Beadle almost made it three but his effort was well saved. The sizeable contingent of Ashford supporters are not daft (apart from one or two) though and the anticipated pressure from the home side soon arrived. They had opportunities, and good ones, to score but a combination of excellent defending and poor misses enabled Ashford to keep them out. Ashford themselves remained very much in the game and always looked dangerous on the break, with some superb combination work between Beadle and Cottee at times.
On 21 minutes, Hayes finally pulled a goal back. A soft free kick saw the ball being headed back across goal and the ever dangerous Duku headed home at the far post.
The second half still saw H & Y mounting attacks but they had less and less conviction and as the half wore on Ashford were generally defending quite competently and still making chances of their own at times. Beadle had two good opportunities to put the match to bed when put through by Scott Weight but his first effort lacked power and the second one whistled just wide. Gough also hit the bar with a dangerous dipping free kick but it was mostly the defence who continued to perform heroics to snuff out all the home attacks, with keeper Tyler Tobin just about faultless in his performance.
A one goal lead is never totally comfortable but as stated by the end, Hayes looked as if they had run out of ideas despite two late free kicks from dangerous area and after four minutes of stoppage time, Ashford were able to celebrate another win on the road.
No draft beer but friendly hospitality from H & Y at their impressive new stadium completed the day and Ashford now look forward to next Saturday when they return to Short Lane and a visit from Thame United.
We have lost the services of Dan Fleming who has been a major player for the Tangerines in recent season. He has moved to Hanwell Town and whilst 13 goals in the last four games suggests that he has not been over missed, it is sad to see him leaving us and we thank him for everything he did for the club including some superb moments and goals at times.
The Ladies suffered a rare defeat at New London Lionesses, 1-3 on Sunday, but are still very much in contention for league honours at the end of the season.