Saturday, 21 January 2012

Ashford Town (Middlesex) - Short Lane

Ashford Town (Middx) FC
Robert Parker Stadium
Short Lane
TW19 7BH

01784 245908

Matchday Number: 111
Tuesday 13th September 2005
Ashford Town (Middx) 0-2 AFC Wimbledon
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round Replay

My continuing quest to see a game in every round of the FA Cup continued. This was the 4th match that I had seen in this run, the previous ones coming at Stourbridge, Holmer Green and Dartford. I drove to the game with my mate Paul, who wanted to go and see AFC Wimbledon play. We arrived in good time, but there wasn't much around the ground so we went straight in. The original game was a 2-2 draw at Wimbledon, but this game was not as close... as explained by the AFC Wimbledon official match report.

Richard Butler's return after injury made enough of a difference to help the Dons through to an FA Cup Second Round Qualifying game at home to Walton & Hersham.

Having recently signed for an extra year with the club, Butler celebrated by scoring after only 11 minutes. As the Ashford defence appealed for handball, Butler flicked on an Andy Little goal kick to Sonny Farr. Farr?s cross-cum-shot was parried by Ashford keeper Burgess but Butler stuck the rebound home.

Ashford also started brightly, playing down the right wherever possible. On the quarter-hour Neil Breslin beat Little with his header but could only hit the crossbar. This near-miss roused the Dons and a period of possession and pressure ensued. One of the many corners won found its way to Wes Daly, but his shot flew well over the bar.

Ashford came close on the half-hour when a long ball found ex-Wimbledon player Andy Frost on the right. Frost delivered well but the visiting defence managed to scramble the ball clear.

Lee Passmore, another former Don, picked up a booking after tangling with Richard Butler but to the dismay of the travelling crowd earned only a talking-to when he later up-ended Michael Woolner. 

As the game upped in tempo, the half-chances came thick and fast at both ends. First, Anthony Howard forayed into the Ashford half, only to see his through-ball cut out and sent back with interest. Breslin cued up a shot, but Steve Butler was able to do just enough to put him off and the ball sailed over. Then it was AFC Wimbledon's turn. Farr found the net from a Daly cross, but was adjudged to have fouled his marker. Then Richard Butler, dribbling at speed, found space in the box to slide Farr in, who then found Shane Smeltz at the far post. However, keeper Burgess proved equal to Smeltz's drive and managed to beat it wide.

AFC Wimbledon began the second period the brighter in a half that produced end-to-end football without too many clear-cut chances. And while Richard Butler may have scored against his former club, Passmore trumped him by being sent off against his. The Dons were now well on top. The hosts, though, were getting frustrated at the lack of decisions going their way, and Ryan Lake was booked for counting out the wall's ten yards for the referee before subsequently hitting the wall with his free-kick!

Despite being a man down, Ashford continued to press valiantly,  no doubt spurred on by the memory of their equaliser with the very last kick of the game in the first match. However, this time round the Dons ended the game as a contest, applying the finishing touches with just a few minutes of normal time remaining. Butler was felled just outside the box, and Barry Moore hit a great strike into the top left corner from the resulting free-kick. Richard Butler was taken off as a precaution following a knock he received just after Moore's goal, and the Dons returned home anticipating another cup-tie against last year's beaten Surrey Senior Cup finalists.
SHORT LANE is a smart and tidy non league ground, probably capable of hosting football up to Ryman Premier level. The ground is mainly open hard standing, but there is a covered terrace and a seated area that probably hold about 400 between them.

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