As I said, this is very much a local derby, with just over 4 miles separating the grounds. Ash United were going into the game unbeaten, sitting fourth with ten points from four games. Visitors Frimley Green were ten places below their hosts, having taken five points from three games.
Since Frimley were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the 2014-15 season the sides had met six times in the league, with Ash yet to lose an encounter. There have been three Ash victories and three draws. Last season, despite Frimly finishing eleven points and two places above their neighbours, United did the double, winning 3-1 at home and 2-1 at Frimley's Recreation Ground.
Ash's Shawfield Stadium is wedged between the village of Ash and the A331, which divides Ash from Aldershot. There is a decent sized car park at the ground, which appears to have slightly too many allocated spaces for the size of the plot, making it quite difficult to manoeuvre around. There is also ample parking on the adjacent Youngs Drive (although this is a residential area, so please be courteous to the clubs neighbours).
The ground, accessed through a single turnstile off the car park, is a very good example of a stadium for this level of the game. The majority of the facilities are at the car park end, Club house, snack bar and players/officials block. There is a covered standing area (the Paddock) that runs behind the car park end goal. To the right of the entrance is the main stand, a covered seating area that holds just over 150 people. The dugouts are also on this side of the ground. All in all, very good facilities.
content and statistics for £1. A great effort. The second point is that Ash are one of the clubs that actually put the team lists up on a board before kick-off. For neutrals, visitors, and locals alike, this is an absolute god-send. As someone who travels to a lot of new grounds, I spend a lot of my time trying to find out the teams. If there was one thing that I would wish for, it is that all clubs make the team sheets available or pin them up somewhere in the ground.
Onto the game and, I have to say, this could be a very short part of the blog. It wasn't the most action-packed 90 minutes that I have ever witnessed, although there was an interesting moment just before kick-off. Shawfield Stadium is, as I said, in a residential area.
Consequently, there are restrictions on the use of floodlights, meaning that evening games kick-off at 7:30pm in order, presumably, to have the lights off by 10pm. It seems that everyone apart from the Frimley Green manager, was aware of this fact. When the 5 minute warning bell sounded in the changing rooms, the Frimley Green squad was still out on the pitch warming up. They had to beat a hasty retreat only to, almost immediately, re-appear for kick-off. To be fair to them, the game only started 2 minutes late.
Maybe the the rush affected the visitors because, within two minutes, Ash should have been ahead. A break down the right and low cross, led to confusion amongst the Frimley back-line and goalkeeper, the ball broke loose in the six-yard box but Fitzgerald and Williams got in each other's way and allowed the defence to recover and clear. It was to be as close as Ash came in the first half though, as
Frimley quite quickly regained some composure and started to take control of the game.
Twenty minutes in, the away side came closest to breaking the deadlock when Vanterpool got in on the right, but home keeper Jamie Cunningham was quick to come off his line a block the attempt. Two minutes later, Frimley had another good opportunity. This time Dearlove, again in on the right, dragged his shot wide when he probably should have at least hit the target.
Two warnings for Ash, which they didn't heed because, two minutes later, they conceded a corner. The ball was driven into the near post where Zak Horkan was on hand to turn the ball into the net. 0-1.
The expected Ash response to going a goal down never really happened and, although they didn't really look like conceding a second goal, they also didn't really make Harvey Stevens, in Frimley's goal, work either.
HT Ash United 0 Frimley Green 1. Not too much between the sides but Frimley just about deserve to be in front.
That was until the 85th minute when Ash's left-flanker, Kieran Wiliams, burst into the Frimley box and was felled for his troubles. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. Jack Fitzgerlad stepped up and beat Stevens, just about. 1-1.
FT Ash United 1 Frimley Green 1. Frimley are still waiting for their first derby win since relegation, a run that extends to seven games. They must have thought that it was coming this evening, until the late penalty undid them. Still, at least we will all remember where we were the night that Saido Berahino finally scored for Stoke.
Ash United: Cunningham, Kipping, Bale, Hamill, Devanney, Passfield, Nwaubani (c), Whitehouse, Wilson, Fitzgerald, Williams. Subs: Chilton, Holmes, Robertson, Charlton, Cairns
Frimley Green: Stevens, Primett, Rayhan, Trinder, Ward (c), Hamer, Dearlove, Horkan, Jermain, Vanterpool, McKinlry. Subs: Cumner, Mepham, Kemp, Bolstrode
Ground Number: 162