Tue 5 Feb 19: Ashford 2 Molesey 3
A careless ten minutes shortly after half-time cost Ashford dearly last night as they lost 2-3 to visitors Molesey.
Ashford were still without Scott Weight and Tyler Tobin whilst Tom Howard and Elliott Poley were also missing but it looked a strong enough team as the Tangerines largely dominated the opening exchanges that saw Molesey defending with a determination that can’t possibly have been there in some of their previous matches given their overall record. Keeper Kosakis, in particular was almost a one man wall that nobody seemed able to breach.
All that said, Molesey had looked dangerous enough when they broke, especially down their left flank, with Nathan Wood giving Joe Green something of a torrid evening. It was mostly Ashford though but it was the visitors who took the lead, this time down their right flank when a missed tackle by Samad Kazi let them in. The scorer was Marley Hamilton.
Ashford renewed their efforts and the equaliser arrived on 41 minutes, just at the right time one would think, when Mark Bitmead sent a long accurate ball from one flank to the other to Nebay Haile whose control was excellent as he brought it down and finally beat Kosakis.
It is a fair bet that most Ashford supporters were expecting the Tangerines to go on to win the game at that point but two goals in as many minutes for Molesey soon after the break put paid to that theory. Both came from speedy play down their left hand side with Ashford finding themselves exposed on both occasions. Nathan Wood and Marley Hamilton with his second were the scorers.
Ashford set about trying to retrieve the situation but found their opponents in obdurate mood and clearly determined to hang on to what they had. The pattern of the game was still one of Ashford attacking, almost non-stop at times it seemed but the buoyed-up visitors put their bodies on the line and it would not go in. They also continued to look dangerous when breaking.
Finally, on 81 minutes Ashford did get a goal back. It did not have anything like the quality of their first goal, but in a scramble, sub Kofi Lockhart-Adams forced it home. Kosakis then blotted his copy book when he wouldn’t release the ball from the back of the net and the resulting fracas probably wasted at least two minutes while referee Bennett sorted it out, when Ashford should have been racing back to the half-way line to give themselves as much time as possible.
The game had though become niggly, with names now entering Mr. Bennett’s book on a frequent basis, as matters became ever more frantic. It wasn’t to be though, with Kotsakis pulling off a tremendous save from a James Cottee header and the points belonged to the visitors. A further unseemly bout of handbags at the final whistle will probably cost Molesey more as Andrew Mensah was cautioned for his part in it, for what was the sixth Molesey caution which means a big FA fine on its way. Whilst far from angels, Ashford recorded just the four.
Following the performance and the point against runaway leaders Hayes & Yeading in the previous match, the result was a major disappointment but on reflection it was maybe just one of those games. Full credit goes to Molesey upon their defending and also the fact that they took their chances when they came but on another day Ashford might well have had the game wrapped up by half-time. The fact that defensive frailties emerged to their cost though is food for thought for manager Murray as he prepares his troops for the match away to Hertford Town on Saturday, who with virtually a complete new team and manager, almost overnight it seemed, lost 0-3 at home to Ware but rather spun it as a moral victory.
It suggests that they will be very much up for the game on Saturday as indeed we will have to be if we are not to be overcome by any home team fervour. We need to be playing exactly as we did against Hayes & Yeading if we wish to put right Tuesday’s result.