Ashford made it back to back wins with a superb performance, and a clean sheet, to shut out Uxbridge in the Velocity Trophy.
After breaking their winless run on Saturday at Hertford Town the Tangerines really stepped it up again to make it two in a row, showing just how far they have come since the start of the season. With a few changes for the cup game the team really looked up for it right from the first whistle. Josh Wilson was back in goal, giving Sam Mason a rest after the weekend as he comes back from injury, and Max Webb was back with the captains armband alongside Nathan Pooley who has been absent for the past few weeks due to injury. Both wings looked solid and the team just had a great balance in all areas even with the changes in personnel. It’s a credit to the players and coaching staff as to how well the squad has settled and developed after the rocky start to the campaign.
The visitors were straight out and at Uxbridge from the kick-off. Obviously up for the game after having lost on the last visit very recently, and also with the ex-Ashford players connection. After a good opening passage of play Ashford forced a corner from which Matt Surmon stole in at the near post to take a 9th minute lead. Continuing to press and play with energy the Tangerines made it very hard for the home side, and it wasn’t until the 17th minute that they fashioned a move ending with a good shot flashing just across the Ashford goal and wide. Had any Uxbridge strikers been in on goal for a touch it could well have been the equaliser. Remaining positive Ashford continued to play some great football and work the midfield. Uxbridge did come close again in the 32nd minute when they broke on the right and got in with a low cross/shot in to the six-yard box which Josh Wilson parried, the ball falling quickly to Mark Bitmead who could only just get a clip on it sending the ball wide. Ashford broke from the goal kick, and a superb ball out to the left wing by Max Webb evaded the back tracking defender finding the run of Aaron Petch who burst through and in to the box to slot home well under the advancing Tyler Tobin. 0-2 to the visitors with 33 minutes on the clock.
Ashford continued to press and get at Uxbridge, enjoying some good spells in possession. However, the hosts did look dangerous on ocassion, when they got a chance to break, and created another good opportunity in the 43rd minute. Breaking in to the area a low shot was well blocked by Josh Wilson as he rushed out to close the angle resulting in a corner. He was then on hand again to punch clear as the in-swinging set piece dropped in the six-yard box. The Tangerines definitely looked good for their two goal lead at half-time despite the chances Uxbridge had created.
The Tangerines must have been chomping at the bit for the second half as they returned to the field a good few minutes ahead of their hosts. And it showed straight from the re-start as they looked to keep up the energy and take the game to Uxbridge. Another good move in the 49th minute culminated with a low shot from Hafid Bounyafe but Tobin got down well to save comfortably. The movement and passing of the visitors continued to cause problems for Uxbridge, and on 53 minutes it was 3 for Ashford as Dan Brown got in behind their defence to go clear, rounding the keeper, and firing home after a superb through ball from the impressive Nathan Pooley. Uxbridge then made a double change, looking to move things up and get a hold of the game, and this was quickly followed by an Ashford double substitution bringing on fresh legs and attacking options to keep the momentum. The Tangerines continued to attack and make runs, with Aaron Petch in particular a constant threat and always looking to run and take on defenders. Kelvin Adjei, who had replaced Robert Mundow earlier, also made life difficult for the home teams back line. He set up a great shooting chance for Nathan Pooley in the 82nd minute after some great work on the left, squaring the ball to the edge of the box for Pooley to run on to, but his shot didn’t connect and went well wide. Moments before this Uxbridge had a couple of good chances themselves but were unable to convert.
Ashford saw out the remaining time, managing the game with Darryl Harrison leading well from the back in another impressive performance. It’s always great to hold on for a clean sheet, and it was fully deserved on this performance. Overall everyone involved was at the top of their game, and with the added confidence back to back wins brings the squad is now looking settled, balanced, and strong. Bring on the next game!