ASCOT BEATEN ON PENALTIES IN VASE

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Painful defeat as Wallingford shock Yellamen

Ascot United squandered a two-goal lead, hit the woodwork three times and lost on sudden death penalties as lower-tier Wallingford Town ended their FA Vase interest at the first round stage on Saturday. Having watched Ascot cruise into a comfortable half-time lead, the hosts hit back before winning a nerve-jangling spot-kick that was decided in the third round of sudden death kicks.

It didn’t take long for Ascot to open the scoring and it was a well-worked goal that put them ahead. Jonny Denton’s well-placed side-foot volley set Adam Everiss clear, and his pin-point left-wing cross was beautifully converted by Denis Nortey, who rose majestically to power a header past home ‘keeper Sam Baldock.

Wallingford had their chances but lacked an end product. Ben Taylor’s raking, deflected cross-shot wriggled across goal and wide after 23 minutes and Bradley Walton’s direct free kick met the same fate on the half-hour mark, but in between all that the lively Nortey spun clear of the defence and raced clear before firing a powerful shot that Baldock turned onto the crossbar.

But The Yellamen always looked more likely to score next and shortly after Harry Laflin had glanced another Everiss cross over, he was on hand to thump an unstoppable effort past Baldock after Nortey had inadvertently dummied Calum Ferguson’s free kick.

Sam Gray was alert to the danger when Wallingford’s Kingsley Nyanney rifled a shot to his near post three minutes before the break, preserving his side’s two-goal lead as the teams changed ends.

Gray denied Tom Stone when clean through six minutes after the restart as Wallingford upped their game, but there was controversy at the other end in the 55th minute when Nortey was fouled in the box – a penalty was awarded – before a debateable offside flag saw the referee reverse his own decision.

And, Riccardo Benjamin would soon give the hosts hope when he danced down the right wing following an Ascot corner, cut in, and somehow squeezed a shot in to the far corner across Gray from a tight angle.

Laflin then stung Baldock’s palms and Louis Bouwers headed onto a post from Jonny Denton’s corner as Ascot were desperately unlucky not to re-establish daylight, but the hosts found themselves level when Ty Hamilton’s free kick took a deflection and flew past Gray; 78 minutes played.

But Ascot rallied and James Harper’s shot almost squirmed under Baldock and into the net, substitute Duarte Surpanu went close and then George Lock went even closer when he headed onto the opposite post in injury time – although The Yellamen couldn’t find a winner.

Straight to penalties, and both sides converted each of their first four – with Gray almost saving one. Then, Sean McCormack saw his side’s fifth effort saved, only for Gray to deny Walton under immense pressure to keep his side in it. Incredibly, Lock then missed, but Gray somehow produced the goods again to thwart Dos Santos Maia. Harper and Callum Young both then converted the seventh round of kicks, but after Surpanu missed for Ascot it was Charlie Silkstone who scored for Wallingford to make it 6-5 and send the home faithful into raptures.

Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Everiss, Harper, Evans, Bouwers, Masters, McCormack, Denton, Nortey (Surpanu), Laflin, Ferguson. Sub unused: Thompson, Sykes, Nice, Graham, Merrick, Davies

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