Rovers picked up a vital win on Saturday to secure a relegation play off fixture, on a day when any other result would have seen them automatically slip out of the division.
Darren Salmon and Sam Morgan made one change from the side that had drawn against Westfield in the previous league game, with Liam Holden coming in for Antonio Simeone (missing as he finished his preparation for the London Marathon.
Rovers made a bright start and in the opening minute Conan Torpey was bundled over just outside the Ashford area but Courtney Swaby’s free kick was straight into the wall and the follow up cleared to safety. Lindell Stewart then did well on the left for the visitors but his run was ended by a combination of Bert Lloyd and Danny Divine.
The game settled and with a lot on the line for both sides, there was very little to worry either goalkeeper. Ricky Johnson should have opened the scoring on 13 minutes but when left one-on-one with James Dillon he fired wide, and a minute later after a foul by Divine on Stewart, a half cleared free kick was deflected wide by Torpey.
Our first chance fell to Max Oldham on 16 minutes but having turned Jaden Edwards inside and out he was denied by a good save by Paul McCarthy. Swaby saw a long range shot blocked, and Mohammed Hassan put a free kick wide of Dillons right hand post. Just before the half hour and Dale Burnham headed a corner goalwards but we defended well and the chance went begging.
Oldham lobbed McCarthy but his effort drifted just wide of the right hand post and two minutes later neat link up between Oldham and Swaby ended with Torpey bringing a good save out of McCarthy.
Daniel Brown did well on 40 minutes but having evaded Matt Tanton his cross was well, and bravely defended by Holden, truly he loves the club!!
Rovers almost grabbed a precious lead on the stroke of half time, Ghannam and Divine combined to release Torpey, his return pass found Ghannam but his shot was deflected wide.
Half time came with the scores level, Rovers sitting in the automatic relegation spot.
Rovers should have taken the lead in the opening seconds of the half, Ghannam rounded McCarthy, but the keeper got a good hand on the ball to push the Rovers man wide, however his cross reached Torpey, but somehow he headed against the bar from close range. Ten minutes into the half and good work between Cox and Oldham caused some confusion in the Ashford area but the visitors smuggled the ball clear.
Rovers were now on top, and after Holden whipped a ball in from the right Oldham saw his header saved by McCarthy and Rovers thought they had a good case for a penalty when Torpey was bundled over by Burnham. However they didn’t have long to wait until the only goal of the game came along. On the hour Torpey fed Ghannam, he beat one man and fired a shot goalwards only to see it blocked by Isy Nzelo, the ball fell kindly to Oldham who fired home for the only goal of the game.
Ben Peden saw a header deflected behind for a corner as Ashford looked for an immediate response, and from the corner it was all hands to the pump as Rovers scrambled the ball clear.
Both sides were going for it, and Cox saw an effort blocked for Rovers. With just unde 15 minutes remaining another huge scramble in the Rovers area ended with Nzelo firing an effort wide. Cox got beyond Edwards on 81 minutes but his low cross was superbly defended by Peden.
Man of the Match Oldham made way for the lively Shakeel Morris as Rovers looked to eat up some valuable seconds and Rovers survived a last gasp scramble to pick up the win, and a play off place.