On a chilly October night, United and Ashford renewed acquaintances at under 18 level in the Ryman Youth League at Church Road.
The visitors started very quickly and could have taken the lead after just 42 seconds when Charles Gerson whipped the ball across the face of goal but no finishing touch was forthcoming.
United keeper Luke Daley then did well to smother a Jack Mayger free-kick before United found some forward motion of their own which resulted in Cameron Gilmartin heading a Callum Chickah corner wide of the far post.
Minutes later the deadlock was broken as Leo Cunningham threaded a probing ball forwards that George Isaac ran onto before slotting coolly past the advancing Ashford keeper Jorden Danson to give the home side the lead.
With a goal in the bank, United started to take control of the ball for good periods and ten minutes after scoring Isaac almost turned provider as he beat two defenders on the left before crossing to Nicke Kabamba whose slight touch in front of goal was only enough to take the ball across the face and wide.
Nine minutes of the half remained and United doubled their lead. Joel Jacobs fired a free-kick from almost the left corner flag to the far post and centre-back Gilmartin rose highest to head downwards just inside the upright.
Ashford keeper Danson kept his side in the running just before the break when a passing move started at the back by Bobby Cumber saw the ball swiftly move between Isaac and Chickah and onwards to Kabamba who saw his well struck drive blocked away by the legs of the diving Town keeper.
With just a minute to the break the visitors almost found the net themselves when the impressive Gerson sprayed a pass wide right to Mitch Fountain, faced with the on-coming Daley he lofted the ball over the United keeper but sadly for him it went just the wrong side of the bar.
The second half was to see a change in pace from the visitors as they held a large amount of possession without majorly troubling Daley until the closing stages. This could however have been different just seven minutes in when a Perry Luckins shot appeared to strike Cumber’s arm in the area only for referee Hicks to wave away Ashford’s penalty claims.
Minutes later it could and maybe should have been all over as a contest when Kabamba was tripped in the area by Mayger and a spot kick to United was awarded. Gilmartin stepped up only for Danson to make a fine block, Gilmartin was first to the ball but his shot cannoned back off the bar and was eventually hacked clear.
Twenty minutes remained when Gilmartin came to the rescue by throwing himself in the way of a Max Webb drive and then with just five to go Daley was beaten by substitute Jack Taylor only for his effort to come back off the post before being scrambled to safety.
Taylor finally forced Daly into a save a couple of minutes later with a curling effort that the United stopper palmed out, Luckins was quickest to the loose ball but Daley recovered quickly and smothered the ball to prevent him getting a strike on goal.
United almost made it three in stoppage time as a Bobby Cumber cross from the right was headed back across goal by Kabamba to Connor Cumber but his header was held by the diving Danson.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Cameron Gilmartin.