Ryman League Premier Division,
Ashford departed the Ryman League Premier Division with a whimper, suffering a humiliating 2 – 6 defeat by an ordinary Harrow Borough side to taste relegation for the first time in their history.
Some may argue, and it is a valid point, that with several players unavailable either from injury or suspension Ashford have somewhat mitigating circumstances and normally I would tend to agree, but there can be no excuse when some senior players seem to want to be anywhere but on the pitch as they stroll around in the sun making just a token effort and effort is the word, time and again moves broke down with the effort expended in trying to win back the ball minimal.
As it was, Jamie Lawrence, one of the injured, was forced to include three of Ashford’s promising under 18 players on the bench and they may well form the cornerstone of Jamie’s team in future seasons.
An early corner from the Harrow left obliged Ashford keeper Craig Ross to pluck the ball off of the head of Tobi Jindau then a free kick from the left was headed over by Danny McGonigle.
Ashford replied through a blocked Jones Awuah shot after good work by Jermaine McGlashan and Warren Harris.
Ashford took the lead in the 22nd minute and that was as good as it got, an attempted cross from the Ashford left by Femi Ilesanmi bizarrely bounced over the head of Andray Basptiste , in the Harrow goal and into the net.
Ashford’s lead lasted just five minutes as McGonigle raced unchallenged towards the home goal and let fly, Ross blocked the shot but the ball fell kindly to Lewis Cook whose shot was touched past Ross by Ryan Watts.
With the game in the balance, the misfortunes of late came to torment the Short Lane side once again when Brett Cooper sliced his clearance of a tame cross from the Harrow right into his own net giving Ross no chance and the visitors a fortunate lead, worse was to happen though, ten minutes later, when a long throw by Kurt Morlese slipped through the gloves of Ross allowing Cook to tap the loose ball home to give Harrow a two goal half-time advantage.
Danny Byron replaced Ilesanmi for the start of the second half but it wasn’t long before Ashford’s defensive frailties were exposed once again. In the 52nd minute Morlese waltzed through three half-hearted challenges to set up Rocky Baptiste who made no mistake to extend Harrow’s lead.
Harrow went further ahead on the hour, again, poor defending let in Morlese who threaded a low cross to the far post where Watts was arriving to fire past Ross before, in the 66th minute, Ashford reduced the deficit. Lewis Wombwell, on for Awuah, found McGlashan on the left wing with a deft flick and the winger wasted no time in picking out Mark Bitmead, who had replaced Davis Haule, the young striker marked his Ryman League debut by beating Andray Baptiste with a shot that the keeper could not keep out.
Bitmead sent in a dangerous cross, shortly after, that Andray Baptiste had to react smartly to as Wombwell threatened but the last word was had by Harrow Borough when, on 77 minutes Rocky Baptiste notched his 2nd of the game to give his side victory by 6 goals to 2.
With other sides in the relegation battle winning, Ashford are relegated, to which division or, indeed, which league we will find out in due course.