Fine finishes anything but Casual for Ashford
A WORKMANLIKE performance allied to two stunning goals enabled Ashford Town to progress to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup at the expense of Corinthian-Casuals.
On another lovely late summer day, the chocolate and pink of the Casuals contrasted well with Ashford’s tangerine and white stripes.
Both sides were equally bright in the opening stages but it was the home team who started to look more threatening, and so it proved on 25 minutes when Dan Fleming held the ball up well before releasing Mark Bitmead whose superlative left foot strike gave Casuals keeper Danny Braken no chance in the visitors’ goal.
Four minutes later Fleming doubled the lead with an equally impressive effort although Casuals felt Russ Canderton had fouled an opponent in the build up. It was not given and Ashford were looking good.
Though clearly not at their best Casuals are not a poor side by any means, and as half-time approached and as they started to make inroads down their left flank in particular, where Joe Green found himself exposed on occasions, there were some disturbing echoes of Ashford’s match against Egham the previous Monday.
The difference this time was Ashford kept their opponents at bay and Samad Kazi protected his goal superbly.
The second half was relatively even but there were no further goals, although near the end Ashford could have made it safe for certain but Bitmead, usually Dead-eye Dick from the spot, spurned the opportunity for a third goal as he shot straight at the keeper.
The outcome was looking inevitable and the visitors’ cause was not helped when sub Reyon Dillon kicked the ball away in frustration and, having already been booked, was sent off.
Indeed, Casuals had rather lost some discipline at this point with arguments breaking out with each other on more than one occasion.
Ashford were drawn away against Marlow on Monday for the FA Cup second qualifying round, with added interest this time as the Conference North and South clubs come into the fray for ties to be played on Saturday September 16.
That in turn means the scheduled home match against Aylesbury United on that day will have to be re-arranged.
Ashford’ Ladies first ever Women’s FA Cup match was almost called off on Sunday with their opponents Headington Ladies having no suitable pitch, but the game was transferred to Short Lane at the last minute and Ashford duly showed their credentials with a 17-0 win over their opponents and now go into the second round away to either Wargrave or Benson.
Ashley Cheatley, now firmly back with the Tangerines, notched 10 of the goals after Ashford were 7-0 up at half-time.