Dean Brennan’s side secured their place in the Middlesex FA Senior Challenge Cup semi-final – after beating Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2-1 at The Robert Parker Stadium.
The Bees started on the front foot and went close in the third minute when Ben Richards-Everton’s long throw-in found Adam Marriott who had his shot blocked.
Serhat Tasdemir was first to the loose ball and struck a first-time effort goalwards to force Paul McCarthy into a comfortable save.
The hosts responded as Connor Cullen got on the end of a long ball forwards, before twisting and turning away from Sam Woods to strike low into Jake Askew’s gloves.
Jordan Thomas crossed in towards Mason Bloomfield as the Bees went in search of the opener, but the header from the towering forward was tame and didn’t test the Ashford stopper.
Daniel Brown called Askew into action in the 25th minute when he took aim towards goal from range.
The Bees’ ‘keeper leapt across to palm the ball away from the top corner and keep the score level.
Dean Brennan’s side continued to search for a breakthrough and it almost came when Thomas delivered another cross into the box from a wide-angle to Bloomfield.
The Bees’ No. 9 and Sam Granville both had quick snapshots denied before it fell to Richards-Everton in space who fired narrowly wide of the near post.
The Tangerines started the second half strongly and had two clear chances to score just after the restart.
Cullen saw his low shot come straight back off the post before he was later denied by Askew after McLeish-White played him through on goal.
The deadlock was broken in the 59th minute when Josh Payne sent in a corner towards Sam Woods at the front post, who flicked it just past the ‘keeper and into the far corner of the goal.
In the 69th minute, Cullen tested the Bees resilience once more when he was found with a through ball.
Askew raced off his line to close down the angle but couldn’t prevent the striker’s effort from crashing off the crossbar.
Mitch Brundle went close to doubling his side’s advantage after he got on the end of a deflected shot that looped up into the air.
The substitute headed goalwards but was denied his second goal in as many games after McCarthy pulled off a reaction save.
The Tangerines pressed for an equaliser and it came in the 86th minute when McLeish-White was found with a through ball who held off his defender and slotted low past Askew.
Dean Brennan’s side responded instantly and retook the lead in the 88th minute after some powerful play by Daniel Powell.
The 30-year-old picked up the ball before beating several defenders on his way into the box to smash it beneath the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner to win the cup tie for the Bees.
Ashford: Paul McCarthy, Roque Hanza Nchaso, Alex Duffy, George Spiers, Dquame Copeland, Dale Burnham (Clyde Obdo 81’), Sam Humphreys ©, Siao Blackwood, Aaron McLeish-White, Connor Cullen (Ethan Hellyer 71’), Dan Brown. Subs (not used): Rhys Paul, Fred Hill, Harry Woodward.
Goals: McLeish-White (86’).
Bees: Jake Askew, Jordan Thomas, Josh Payne ©, Ben Richards-Everton, Mason Bloomfield, Adam Marriott, Reiss Greenidge, Sam Granville, Wes Fonguck, Serhat Tasdemir (Daniel Powell 60’), Sam Woods (Mitch Brundle 61’). Subs (not used): Aston Oxborough, Jamie Turley, Ephron Mason-Clark.
Goals: Woods (59’), Powell (88’).
Referee: Conor Griffin.
Photo by Chris Benn.