In true Ashford tradition, I started Sat lunchtime with 12 maybe 13 and exited lunchtime with a bare 11…never mind, we were 11 men, good and true (mainly) and up for a crunch game with fellow strugglers, Slough. Two minutes into the game, James Berressem attacked the ball with his knee and hobbled off. Rishi dropped into centre mid and was knackered after 30 seconds. Nevertheless, we defended resolutely and had a bit of play especially when one of their players was sin-binned for being naughty. After 10 minutes or so, Jimbo came back on and I thought, a man up, we could exert some pressure. Nope, we conceded a soft goal from a short corner and, although we had good spells during the first half, Adesh and Aranvir looking particularly good down our right, we were a bit nervy. Aran would have been a bit more dangerous if he didn’t have to keep adjusting his glasses mid-dribble! Anyway, I was happy to get to half time one down and amaze the team with my tactical nous, which boiled down to play better in the second half than we did in the first.
And we did! Forcing our 3rd and last shortie, Rishi lashed it home and knackered himself again doing his victory celebration. We entered our best phase of the game as Screaming Lord Sutch and Jonno were at their destructive best, Jimbo pushed us forward from the middle and Gordo and Matt winged it successfully at the back. In the middle of this, their no. 8 (who claimed afterwards to have played National League) (probably not hockey though) wobbled forward in a blur of stick work and as the team looked on, Gordo entered bullet-time and, reminiscent of Yazdi’s on SuperWuss, made the Tackle. Ten minutes to go, Slough forced 3 shorties one after the other and we got through them due to a Jonno block and 2 saves from Andy R in goal. Thereafter, Slough were in the ascendancy but if there is one thing we are good at (mainly cos we do a lot of it), it is defending especially of the last-ditch kind and we held on for a much-needed point and one closer to safety!