Ashford Cause Cup Final Upset

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Vanarama National League South club Wealdstone’s 2016/17 season ended in bitter disappointment as they were defeated 2-1 by Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central outfit Ashford Town (Middx) in the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup final on Bank Holiday Monday evening.

A poor first half proved costly as the Stones conceded a penalty just 10 seconds into the game, which Alex Fisher converted. Dan Fleming added a second on 31 minutes.

And although the Stones mounted a strong second half response through Ricky Wellard’s goal and some brave last-ditch defending from Town, it wasn’t enough to force the tie into penalties.

Gordon Bartlett named a strong side with Wellard and Luke Sheldrick the only changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at East Thurrock United, with Joe White and Jonathan North the two omissions.

But it was Ashford who were the brightest and looked like the side who were two divisions higher in the first half, if not in finesse but certainly in commitment, energy and enthusiasm.

Ciaron Brown upended Fleming just 10 seconds into the half and a penalty was awarded. Fisher sent Sheldrick the wrong way and Ashford had gone 1-0 up before the Stones had even touched the ball.

Town should have doubled their lead just 4 minutes in when Fleming latched onto a long ball, and having beaten Tom Hamblin for pace and just Sheldrick to beat, he smashed the ball over the bar.

It was 2-0 shortly after the half-hour mark when a through ball was fed to the man of the match Fleming, and he slotted past Sheldrick who did manage to get a hand to it.

The Stones almost pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time when Danny Green struck a 25-yard free-kick off the crossbar, but as the second half was to prove, Wealdstone’s luck was out.

Just 9 minutes into the second half the Stones had a lifeline. Eddie Oshodi played a low cross to the unmarked Wellard at the far post and he scored the easiest of goals against his first club.

Dan Fitchett thought he had equalised on 72 minutes only to have his header controversially ruled out for a foul.

Five minutes later Wellard slotted a strike past Tyler Tobin only to see Russell Canderton heroically prevent the ball crossing the line by somehow clearing over the crossbar.

Tobin then denied Sam Cox a first Wealdstone goal in stoppage time. Oshodi played another low cross, Cox slotted toward the corner but Tobin produced a fast reaction save to tip the ball wide, ensuring the cup was presented to Ashford.

(Chris Woods)

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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