Stow 1-3 Ashford Town

Stow dropped out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle, being beaten 3-1 by Isthmian League side Ashford Town (Middlesex).

In driving rain, the visitors started on the front foot, and were rewarded with ten minutes played when Dan Flatman was given too much time on the edge of the box, allowing him to cut inside and curl an effort into the bottom corner.

Ten minutes later, an innocuous coming together between Panny Boxer and Ashford skipper Sam Maguire saw the latter land awkwardly, suffering a serious injury to his ankle. Play was halted for half an hour while an ambulance arrived.

Stow were the quickest to get playing again after the restart, and could have had a penalty when Callum Ibe was barged over in the box. Ibe then almost set up Jeremiah Maja, crossing from deep but it was intercepted just before Maja could get on the end of the ball.

Kieron Cathline then had a goal-bound effort superbly saved by Chapman in the Ashford goal, but with an open net to aim from, Shawn Joseph put the rebound high and wide.

The second half began as the first half ended, with near-total domination from Stow. Maja was inches away from getting on the end of a cross from Ibe, and then Olly Miles had a golden chance when put in by James Dillon, but he rolled his shot wide.

Maja then had Stow’s best chance so far, with a free header from a corner but while everyone in Wadham Lodge was expecting the net to bulge, the header somehow went wide.

Demaray Anyadike then fired straight at Chapman, but Ashford made the most of Stow’s wastefulness, Clyde Ondo firing in from long range – an effort that crept under Dillon and in.

Stow continued to press though, and there was a glimmer of hope when Matt Walsh headed powerfully home from a corner, but with only four minutes remaining, Ashford managed to keep the ball at the opposite end of the pitch.

With Stow throwing bodies forward, Ashford were able to break and Danyaal Iqbal scored a lovely individual goal in the 93rd minute to confirm Stow’s exit.

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