Impetus are hugely excited to announce that we are sponsoring Ashford Town (Middx) striker Ashley Cheatley, one of the most prolific goal scorers in the fifth tier of the sport. Ben Gilby spoke to Ashley to launch the sponsorship which is just one element of our partnership with Ashford Town (Middx) for the new season.
Ashley Cheatley (pictured above in a photo she supplied Impetus with) has a quite phenomenal record at Ashford Town (Middx). Despite playing as high as Championship football earlier in her career, she is clear that opting to play in the tangerine and white it is the best footballing decision that she has ever made.
“Moving to Ashford Town was one of the best moves for me as an individual and for me to grow as a player. I can remember the first day I got the call from chairman and head coach Will Boye saying he was starting up at Ashford and wanted me to be part of it. To be honest, I wasn’t keen because it meant starting from the bottom, and I was already comfortable at my previous club, Brentford.
“However, in my first season, I scored 77 goals in a season, 11 in one game once, and I believe that I’ve topped the goal scoring table in all the seasons that I’ve been there apart from one!
“I got a call up to represent Middlesex County and after three years representing, we managed to win our first cup within the Southern Counties.
“Within my playing career at Ashford, I’ve loaned to Enfield in the FAWNL where I scored three goals in three games, and signed for Millwall Lionesses during the Spring Series.
“Ashford Town have been such a big part of my life and career and to this day, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been at a football club.
“Life at Ashford is amazing. I’ve never been so happy and content at a club in my whole career and I don’t think you can find a club quite like Ashford, from the players to the coaching staff to even the locals at Ashford everyone is one big family. My teammates are amazing both as players and individuals. Everyone’s vibe is the same, the energy levels are up there. Come onnnnnnn thennnnn!”
Ashley is full of gratitude for the support that her family have given her since her earliest days kicking a ball around.
“My parents and grandparents used to take me to a field back when I was roughly 18 months old, to kick a ball around, this weirdly is only about two to three minutes from Ashford, and they always believed in my ability and pushed me to do what I want to do always.
“My grandad was one of my biggest fans. Every time he came to watch he would say to me ‘I’ll tell you what you are, you’re bloody brilliant’ – I’ll never forget that! Unfortunately my grandad has passed away but my family still come to this day or watch on streams when they can.
“Will Boye at Ashford has had the most influence on me, he’s always allowed me to do what I want to do on the pitch and to help my development. He is so understanding and shows care and respect. You don’t find that often.”
Ashley’s goal scoring record goes before her and banging the ball in the back of the net is something that she absolutely loves.
“I actually don’t like to speak about me and how I play, I don’t want anyone to think I’m bragging or even worse lying. How can you tell someone you’ve scored 77 goals in a season and expect them to believe it? I would say I’m quite skilful, quick and direct. I like to run at defenders and finish every time. Ideally!
“To be honest, since I joined my first team at age 11, I’d just been a goal scorer, double figures every season until about I was about 13, when I came out of football as I fell out of love with the game and returned at 16.
“My first season back wasn’t great, but from about age 17+ I’d just had a natural goal scoring ability which has obviously grown over the years through training and development.”
With Ashley having played Championship level football with Millwall in the past, she still has desires to play higher up the leagues again.
“I would love to play higher. I’m 26 this year so I’m almost running out of time to be able to get a look in at the top clubs. However, tier two football is what I would like to be involved within again for sure.”
As we are gradually heading towards light at the end of the covid tunnel, Ashley can see some positives for her game as a result of lockdown.
“To be honest, the first lockdown improved my ball control. I kept in the garden practising new skills, ball control, kick-ups, the lot. I’d spend hours outside trying to master certain skills like kick ups on the floor with a round the world, and only went back into the house once I’d done it!
“It has definitely helped me a lot because I like the feeling of accomplishment in football, mostly get that feeling through scoring or a successful dribble.”
With the new season rapidly approaching, Ashley revealed the goals that she has set herself for the campaign. “It’s to win promotion by finishing top which would give us FAWNL status, to be the top goal scorer in all competitions and to finish the season the best player that I can be.
“In terms of Ashford’s aims for the season, they are promotion to the FAWNL and cup wins, plus continual team and player development.”