This Saturday Guildford City are in FA Cup action at the Spectrum, kick-off at 3pm. The visitors are Ashford United of the Southern Counties East League who have opened their league season with 6-1 and 4-0 victories. Our clubs are not strangers although our last meeting was on 13 November 1971. On that occasion City triumphed 1-0 over Ashford Town in an FA Trophy tie at Joseph’s Road.
Ashford United, like us, is a club with a fine history. Between 1959-69 the club (then called Ashford Town) reached the first round proper of the FA Cup on five occasions, including a home match against Crystal Palace that drew a crowd of 6,525. Again like us, Ashford has a long Southern League history. In 1995-96, as a Southern League Premier side, Ashford faced Fulham in the FA Cup in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Homelands. After a 2-2 draw, Ashford eventually lost 5-3 in extra-time at Craven Cottage. In 2013 after lengthy boardroom conflict, a new board of local football enthusiasts took over the ownership of the club which included a name change to Ashford United.
Speaking of our cup opponents Guildford City manager Kevin Rayner says “Our visitors are a good side and this will be a tough encounter. They have financial backing, have recruited well and are a club geared up for promotion.” Ashford’s pre-season signings include former Cambridge City and Margate striker Lloyd Blackman, former Tunbridge Wells FA Vase heroes Andy Irvine and Keelan Mooney, and also the highly rated former Whitstable striker James Everitt.
Guildford City in turn made a FA Cup deadline signing on Friday; striker Stefan Joseph coming on board after departing from Chipstead. Both Jack and Ray Guilford will be undergoing a fitness test prior to the game; otherwise Kev Rayner will have a full squad to choose from.
Supporters are reminded that season tickets are not valid for the FA Cup and it is all-pay at the turnstile. Should the match be a draw after 90 minutes, the replay will take place at Homelands on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45pm.