Friday 07th October 2005

We need your support, insists Cumberbatch

Ashford Town travel to Bashley tomorrow looking to claw themselves away from the bottom half of the Ryman League Division One table, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Homelands outfit have the same number of points as the Hampshire side (8) and go into the game having collected eight points from their last five games to climb up to 17th place in the table - one place below Bashley.

"Despite a tight budget we have managed to put together a big squad to ensure that we cope with any injuries and suspensions that may occur," joint-manager John Cumberbatch told www.ashfordtownfc.co.uk

"Although the budget does not allow us to have the quality and experience we would like throughout, all players brought in are good enough to be collecting far more points than we have amassed so far.

Cumberbatch, however, demands better support from The Homelands faithful.

He added: "I never like it when supporters display frustration by shouting negative comments during the match.

"I think fans of any team in any sport should get behind their side and help them win or salvage whatever they can even from a poor performance.

"Fans are needed to help lift a team, more so when they are doing badly.

"I think fans need to and are more than justified in their criticisms of our performances.  It must have been frustrating and nigh on impossible for any of them to sit through that and not shout disapproval."

Having asked for patience in the early stages of the season, Cumberbatch now demands results from his players.

"The patience has to, of course, be tempered with the absolute necessity to climb much further up the table.

"It is a slow and dogged climb.  I am told we are in a higher position than we ever managed last season, which I hope is not correct.

"The position we are in is precarious and we do have to start collecting points and moving up into a more stable position.

"I said at the start of the season may be difficult and not to be too concerned about early results.

"Had we even collected far more points I would still have been saying that not much note should be taken of the situation.

"Where I do feel concern is needed is in a situation where we are not gradually improving in performance.

"A gradual increase in the level of performance and quality will, without doubt, lead to a positive change in a sides results.

"Teams who gain points through good fortune are not necessarily in control of their destiny.

"I feel that our performances were beginning to show improved results even though only slightly.

"It is important for the team that we do not get into a fluctuating position where we are OK one match and bad the next.  The slow climb will continue."

Meanwhile, for those fans unable to travel to Bashley, Ashford's reserves entertain Thamesmead Town at Homelands at 12 noon.

With reserve team manager Mike Robbins away on a coaching course, assistant Martin Larkin will take charge.

They had their playing staff reduced this week, with no less than six players being shown the door.

"Although the players that we have released have done very well, the time had come to really buckle down and move the standards," Robbins told www.kentishfootball.co.uk

"By letting them go now, they can still find a club and I can get on and give one to one coaching in areas that need extra work.

"We have had a long break and that has involved lots of training and a couple of friendly run-outs, but we can't wait to get back on the field."

Robbins expects Luke Robinson to return tomorrow and will also give Scott Roy, a young striker, his debut.

"Thamesmead are always physical, and we will need to get it right both physically as well as mentally to keep this young going," he added.

Bashley v Ashford Town
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 8th October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Recreation Ground, Bashley, Hampshire