We traveled down to Hamstreet on this late warm summer evening in good spirits and all arrived in plenty of time, the pitch was a little unusual in the fact that it was square with low wide goals but a good surface to play on.
The Strollers entered in to this match with an outside chance of winning the league but as it transpired those dreams were about to be shattered.
The referee had briefed us before kick off that he probably wouldn’t be strict on the no running rule, in hindsight we probably should have objected to this as it is walking football and the home side certainly knew how far to push the limit.
Ashford started well with a few long shots and Lawrence made one particularly good save after an Ashford forward beat his marker, the Strollers gradually got up to speed as it were and finished the first half the stronger team but a few more efforts on goal could have brought us some reward.
We started the half on the front foot and were very unfortunate not to take the lead our football deserved, Mick had a great effort well saved by the home keeper and the ball rebounded out to Tony about 10 yards out, it was like watching Alan Shearer in his prime, on the half volley he caught the ball so sweetly it thundered towards the goal but alas it smacked on to the bar and rebounded to safety, Tony was a constant threat down the right attacking with enthusiasm and defending well when required, even managing to only get penalised once for running and that was when he was trying to catch an opponent going quicker than him!
Ashford were to take the lead shortly after with a twice deflected shot giving Lawrence no chance, a second was quickly conceded after a defensive error and the third was let in in a slightly unfortunate manner with a wickedly spinning ball giving an Ashford forward a simple chance.
We never gave up but were now chasing the game, we had a few chances to pull a goal back but our efforts were either deflected wide or safely gathered by the Ashford keeper. We kept pushing forward but alas that left space at the back and the final goal of the evening was well worked to make it 4 nil at full time.
On reflection the score line definitely flattered the home side and if we had got that elusive first goal it could have been so different, having said that lessons have been learned on how to play against this strong team and if we come across the same person officiating again we can adjust our game plan accordingly.
The result leaves Herne Bay as strong favourites to win the league but Ashford could nick it with an away victory against Herne Bay in their final game of the season.