DIY shopping hell’s delayed my plaudits for a heavenly performance.
A superb all-round team display to blitz a very useful but increasingly frustrated Barton Rovers team who’d won five of their previous six away league matches.
I’d have taken a point before kick-off, even more so when Elliott Bailey was given room and time to head Rovers one up in only the 4th minute, but we witnessed the best half of football by Ashford for yonks. This current Ash Trees squad oozes character, as shown by Bitz equalising just four minutes later. Bitz scored his second from the penalty spot in the 19th and, despite all their efforts, resolute defending and a world class save by Kav at the base of the left post restricted Rovers to just one first half goal, and we punished Rovers on the break with Bitz slicing the midfield and defence apart with a ball expertly finished by Dan in the 22nd and Kam gliding through for 4-1 in the 44th. We didn’t just attack on the break, we went forward at every opportunity and, indeed, so did Rovers. The first half certainly deserved five goals for its quality, but I wouldn’t have believed we’d get four of them.
Rovers were sent back out onto the pitch after just five minutes in the changing room and were just as determined, but more feisty, after the break and were a bit lucky to finish with a full compliment when their number six deserved a second yellow for unsporting behaviour. We weathered an early second half storm and then Dan hit a beauty for 5-1 in the 53rd. Barton certainly deserved to score at least three but, with our keeper and back line holding firm (with Sami repelling everything his way in particular), the only way Rovers could score after the break was from two soft looking penalties given by the ref in the 64th and 89th which allowed Bailey to complete his hat-trick. We still weren’t finished, though, and had the last word when Kam made it three Ash Trees braces on the day with a deserved goal in stoppage time.
A wonderful day all round. Very hard to pick a man of the match, probably between Bitz and Sami, but I reckon every player rated between 8 and 9-and-a-half out of ten today. Plenty of club-related celebrations topped off with a superb performance in front of a very healthy crowd of 273…and I won the golden goal prize. Cheers!