Ashford ensured that 2019 got off to a winning start on Saturday by beating neighbours Egham Town by two goals to one and in so doing arrested the annoying albeit short lived losing streak that had seen them concede eight goals in defeats at the hands of Hanwell Town and Bedfont Sports.
Despite Egham’s current lowly league status, the Sarnies, under new management, fielded almost a complete new side to the one that started the season and they were well up for the battle, taking the lead and fighting hard to retain it. They couldn’t quite manage it but with the spirit they demonstrated, they must have a good chance of resurrecting their season in the second half of the campaign.
Indeed, although the opening exchanges were even enough, it was the visitors who drew first blood when, on 29 minutes, the Tangerines found themselves unable to defend a corner as Luke Randall headed firmly home. The visitors clearly had their limitations but Ashford found it hard to break them down and there was no further scoring before half-time. After, doubtless, some wise words from manager Murray during the break, Ashford renewed their endeavours in the second period and, despite Egham’s determination not to conceded and going close themselves, eventually the pressure told when Mark Bitmead sent in another of his excellent free kicks and this time Max Webb arrived at the far post to hammer home the equaliser.
It was still anyone’s game and anything could have happened but on 82 minutes Ashford seized both the initiative and the points with a goal that in itself was enough to win any match. It came from a partially cleared corner and found recent new recruit Gurkan Gokman who didn’t hesitate as he sent in an unstoppable drive on the volley into the Egham net and that was that. Ashford possibly just did enough to deserve the points but it was mighty close and a draw would not have been an unreasonable outcome. We certainly wish Egham good luck in their fight to escape relegation.
As it was, Ashford retained their 6th place spot in the table as they prepare for a Middlesex Charity Cup match on Tuesday evening at home to ground partners Southall. They are enjoying a decent season in their first season back in the CCL and it will certainly not be an easy match. Details of the draw and previous results appear to have disappeared altogether now from the County web site so the writer has no idea what the prize is for the winners. Maybe the County Rep will be able to tell us if there is one! Kick-off at Short Lane is 7.45 p.m.