Sunday 17th April 2005

Are Ashford losing more than just the plot?

TIME is running out for Ashford Town and they only have three games left to maintain their Ryman League Division One status, writes Stephen McCartney.

"But we have a game in hand" is a phrase often used by everyone involved in football.  But my views on this subject are I would rather have the points in the bag and the games played rather having to play catch up and the extra pressure.

Ashford Town play "their game in hand" against 14th placed Bashley on Tuesday night and the crux of the matter is - they MUST beat them at the Homelands to climb out of the drop zone.

Bromley are also in action at the same time and host Metropolitan Police at Hayes Lane and if they avoid defeat they will leap frog over the Imber Court outfit into fifth place.

Ashford will be hoping their former manager, George Wakeling, does them a favour by knocking the Police's confidence ahead of the Blues' trip to the Homelands next weekend.

Ashford end their campaign with a trip to Horsham - a side currently in third place - and are a team that have cemented their play-off position along with Cray Wanderers.

Back to Ashford, they have collected just eleven points from their last ten games, and after losing 2-0 at home to Whyteleafe on Saturday, the pressure is on the Kent side to collect three points on Tuesday and put Dorking in the dreaded relegation zone.

Ashford assistant manager John Cumberbatch, however, has defended his "aggressive" attitude inside the technical area.

He told the club's website:  "The level of professionalism in what we do and how we approach matches and training seem to be steadily increasing.

"The naivety and lack of discipline shown in the sending off's and bookings, however, is very disappointing and somewhat perplexing in view of the fact that we actively discuss this and work on exercises to prevent frustrations being voiced to referees.

"Although some of the decisions have been harsh, we have to be far better disciplined and display more experience and shrewdness in how we go about things.

"At this point, you're probably choking and spitting out the words hypocrisy, kettle and black - but - please be aware of the tactics of a coach and assistant manager.

"I may appear to rant and remonstrate angrily and uncontrollably at referees. 

"I also indulge in conversation, even sometimes, aggressive banter with opposition players, coaches and fans.

"This is all, however, very controlled and contrived, although quite passionate.  I am out there to assist Tim (Thorogood) in guiding the team to a win.

"If it means pointing out to the referee decisions or incidents that are causing us a disadvantage, I shall do so.

"If the opposition bench, players or fans are acting in a derogatory manner, or saying offensive things towards our team or club, I cannot help but to attack verbally, cynically of sarcastically.

"It is part of my game on the sidelines.  But it is almost always controlled verbal aggression. 

"You will note that any time a referee approaches and talks to me I am very respectful and humble to them and do not often talk back to them.

"My job at the side of the pitch is very different to that of the players on the pitch."

Time to keep a cool head. Come on Ashford!

Ryman League Division One (bottom 6)

17 Banstead Athletic 40 9 10 21 49 63 37
18 Fleet Town 40 11 4 25 45 81 37
19 Newport IOW 40 9 9 22 43 85 36
20 Dorking 40 8 10 22 42 86 34
21 Ashford Town 39 7 11 21 43 79 32
22 Croydon 40 5 9 26 35 85 24

Ashford Town v Bashley
Ryman League Division One
Tuesday 19th April 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth