Ashford Town (Middx) (1) 3, Guildford City (0) 0
By Barry Underwood
An impressive Ashford Town side gained their seventh consecutive league victory at Short Lane to move up to second in the table, whilst Guildford City once again fell to defeat, and there is no doubt having now suffered six consecutive league defeats that confidence has become a major factor. Ashford Town manager Ben Murray stated pre-match “Guildford have great quality in their squad” and in terms of individual player C.V.’s few would argue with that. However football is of course played on the pitch against hungry opposition, and is not dependent or impressed with past glories or backgrounds of individual players. Sitting one step off the bottom of the CCL table is not a happy spot to be, and with two consecutive home fixtures pending now is the time to start the fight back.
Ashford impressed hugely for much of the first period and on a number of occasions City was indebted to Antony Hall for keeping the home side at bay. Against a confident side playing good football, Guildford was struggling to get a toehold on the game. Gradually though midway through the half the momentum became to change and it was actually against the run of play when Ashford opened the scoring on the half hour; Dan Fleming running through to drill low under Antony Hall’s diving body. City did respond late in the half with headers from Anthony Baker and Stefan Joseph that narrowly missed the target. The home side did have the last word though as half-time beckoned when Joe Hughes free-kick rattled the Guildford post.
City looked a better side in the second period and they had a golden chance to equalise within seconds of the restart. Sam Spencer’s cross from the left was chested down in the box by Anthony Baker but his powerful left foot half volley was miraculously blocked at full stretch when a goal looked a certainty. Playing some enterprising football during this period, City once again came close when Stefan Joseph’s glancing header dropped inches wide of the back post. Dan Fleming twice had good opportunities for Ashford with Antony Hall rising to the occasion in City’s goal. Not to be deterred Khari Oriogun showed great skill to drag the ball back and force Tobin into a full stretch diving save after 65 minutes.
In truth the outcome of the game was confirmed on 70 minutes when the experienced Elvis Defreitas was caught in possession deep in his own half. Jack Beadle run on to the edge of the box and fired a low shot beyond Hall into the corner. Guildford did respond positively when debutant John Barrow fed Anthony Baker in the box but once again his fierce effort was brilliantly saved one handed by Tobin. Ashford scored their game clinching third on 79 minutes. Hall’s initial block fell again to Fleming whose second effort was handled on the line by the covering Defreitas who was shown a red card for his troubles. Ashford leading scorer Mark Bitmead comfortably fired home the resulting penalty. Down to ten men and three goals down, the last ten minutes was hard work for the visitors despite the sterling efforts of Ray Guilford and Tom Penson, and more than once Antony Hall prevented the score line spiralling out further.
Team: Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Bruce McPhail, Ray Guilford, Tom Penson, Ben Rayner, Anthony Baker, Jack Guilford (Junior Alade 70), Stefan Joseph (John Barrow 65), Khari Oriogun (Ryan Wallis 83), Sam Spencer. Unused subs: George Baldwin, Navid Zandi.
Yellow cards: Tom Penson, Stefan Joseph, Sam Spencer
Red cards: Elvis Defreitas
Referee: Jack Ohene
Match Day Photographs are here