AFC Hayes
AFC Hayes 0
Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2

Zamaretto League Central Division
Farm Park, Hayes
3rd January 2011

It was a cold damp day as Ashford travelled north of the airport to play this Middlesex derby against AFC Hayes, but the return journey back to Short Lane was brightened by the three points picked up against game opponents who fought to the final whistle but were finally undone by a bad error by their keeper, Tom McNeil and a well taken penalty from Jordan Kiffin giving Jamie Lawrence’s men their first double of the season following the 4 – 2 victory at the Robert Parker stadium earlier in the season.

In the absence of the injured Oscar Lubwama and fellow right backs Samad Kazi and Rob Curtis, both unable to play due to work commitments, Jamie delved into the market and signed Charlie Brimicombe and he lined up along with new goal keeper Andre Baptiste, who has international experience with Grenada. The long awaited return of the iconic Isaiah Rankin also did not materialise and so Tom Kanek was pitched in to the fray instead and, to complete the changes, Martynas Butkus came in at centre back in place of the injured Russ Canderton.The first half was more of a war of attrition than a flowing football match though both sides had chances, the earliest falling to Jamie O’Donaghue from a break as the visitors filed back following a free kick that was blocked, O’Donaghue only managed to drag his shot wide of Baptiste’s right hand post.

O’Donaghue was prevalent again, shortly after, taking the ball down the left wing before cutting along the goal line and trying to tee up Luke O’Malley but Jordan Kiffin was alert to the situation and whipped the ball off the Hayes striker’s foot.The unlucky Charlie Brimicombe lasted just 12 minutes before he was forced off with a reoccurrence of a serious spinal injury sustained playing for AFC Wimbledon Youth against Aldershot Youth, his father whisked him to a local hospital for a scan and we all wish him well for a speedy recovery.

Jamie Lawrence had a free kick cleared after a fine run down the left by the mercurial Akwasi Edusei was bought to an unfair conclusion then the Ashford striker was left cursing his luck as McNeil just beat him to Kiffin’s cross after a good build up involving Kiffin, Mark Bitmead, on as substitute for Brimicombe, and Kanek.Another chance went high over Baptiste’s goal as Ashford midfielder Alain Behi found himself isolated and subsequently robbed of the ball, but O’Malley failed to punish the visitors and a shot from O’Donaghue suffered the same fate.The tall Hayes striker was destined not to complete the first half, let alone the match, when he was hauled off in the 33rd minute, just after executing an outrageous simulation as Ashford skipper Billy Jeffreys challenged, O’Donaghue was rightly shown the yellow card which may or may not have influenced Hayes manager Dale Welch’s decision, himself a former Ashford player, Lee McManus took his place.Dan Murphy found himself in a position to have a pop at Baptiste’s goal shortly after, but curled his shot wide then Baptiste showed a touch of the class that prompted Jamie Lawrence to sign him when he flung himself to his right to palm a goal-bound shot from Wes Beckles round the post.

AFC Hayes   Ashford Town FC
Thomas McNeil GK Andre Baptiste
Terry Smith 2 Charles Brimicombe
Dominic Rhone 3 Akwasi Edusei
Dan Murphy 4 Martynus Butkus
Tom Duffy 5 Billy Jeffreys (C)
Wes Beckles 6 Alain Behi
Javier Catlyn 7 Jordan Kiffin
Dennis Marjahan 8 Luke Hickie
Jamie O’Donaghue 9 Jamie Lawrence
Luke O’Malley 10 Jones Awuah
Ross Ahir 11 Tom Kanek
Phil Merritt 12 Mark Bitmead
J Senoga 13/17 Paul Burgess
Lee McManus 14 Spencer Taffurelli
Dan Vincent 15 Mitchell Fountain
Craig Jeffs 16 Isaiah Rankin
Referee: Mr. B Furneaux

Early in the second half, Jones Awuah finished off a move started by Behi by forcing a corner then, on the next attack the visitors took the lead and, it must be said, in somewhat bizarre fashion. The rampaging Edusei once again got forward to deliver a ball in from the left that Lawrence challenged for but the ball ran free towards McNeil who seemed to take his eye off the ball as Bitmead approached at full steam. The ball went through the hapless keeper’s legs inviting the young Ashford striker to walk the ball into the empty net to give his side a 48th minute lead. 

Two shots in quick succession by O’Malley warned Ashford that Hayes were not finished yet but it was the visitors who very nearly doubled their advantage, Jamie Lawrence heading the ball against McNeil’s bar from another Edusei cross as Ashford raised their game.Kanek, Awuah and Lawrence combined well in an exquisite move that set up Behi but he squeezed his shot wide then, at the other end, Martynus Butkus showed his considerable strength to shrug off the challenge of Beckles and foil a promising Hayes attack.Tom Kanek, only 18 himself, was replaced by Mitchell Fountain, two years his junior, with a quarter of an hour left and he set about showing what a confident young player he is by involving himself heavily for the remainder of the game.

Ashford secured the win with a second goal, in the 78th minute, this time from the penalty spot. A flick by Lawrence was handled in the penalty area by a defender and up stepped Jordan Kiffin to gleefully dispatch the spot kick with pace and aplomb.The game was held up for a couple of minutes while Mr Furneaux administered a ticking off  to members of the Hayes management then, just after the game restarted, an astute through ball out to the left by Fountain found Awuah who was the victim of a very dubious off-side decision when through on goal then, as time was running out, a cross from Kiffin on the right had to be tipped over the bar by McNeil.Late in the game a ball out of defence from Butkus split the Hayes defence for Bitmead to run on to and his cross found Awuah but Ashford’s top scorer saw his shot deflected back to him and he screwed the rebound just wide.