Blues well beaten in cup tie
Arlesey Town 1 Ashford Town (Middx) 4 Arlesey were well beaten in an entertaining but ultimately fruitless FA Cup second qualifying round tie. The visitors were elevated to level four along with the Blues for the 2000-01 season and are currently operating
Arlesey Town 1 Ashford Town (Middx) 4
Arlesey were well beaten in an entertaining but ultimately fruitless FA Cup second qualifying round tie.
The visitors were elevated to level four along with the Blues for the 2000-01 season and are currently operating at level three in the Ryman Premier Division.
Defeats in their last four league outings had suggested this match was not a foregone situation. However the difference in class was apparent from the kick-off.
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Arlesey, who welcomed back James Dillnutt and Lee Allen, were on the back foot from the start. Ashford moved the ball quickly, whereas the home side, whose commitment again could not be faulted, relied on a more direct but predictable style of play.
Ashford took the lead in the 27th minute when Warren Harris cut inside Allen who tripped him just inside the box. The impressive Wellard made no mistake from the spot.
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Martin Peat made a tremendous double save to prevent the visitors increasing their lead, somehow blocking two close-range shots from Scott Harris before the ball was hacked to safety.
The only home effort of note was Tom Moran's near-post header from a corner; indeed it was Peat to the rescue yet again when he tipped over a goalbound lob from Harris.
Ashford added a second in the 55th minute as a right-wing attack saw Matthew Kimani fail to prevent Bamford getting in a cross for Harrison to enjoy the freedom of the six-yard area to turn and drive the ball into the roof of the net.
Arlesey often had the beating of the visitors' defence when they played the ball to feet and in the 66th minute, they gave themselves a glimmer of a chance.
Jamie Osborne took the ball past Jeffreys to cross from the deadball line for Ryan Francis to score from close range.
For a 10-minute spell, the Blues had chances as Ashford appeared rattled, but as with most of their efforts they required the extra touch losing the opportunity of getting the ball into the danger area.
Harrison should have sewn the tie up when he somehow missed the target from close range.
Along came Harris with a far-post header in the 83rd minute, with the home defence nowhere, and three minutes later he capped his display with a fine individual goal when he took the ball around Peat into the empty net.
Blues: Peat, Clark, Brown, Moran, Dillnutt, Allen, Beale, Case, Francis, Osborne, Kimani.
Subs: Gutzmore, Beaumont, Houghton, Miah, Hestor.