Harry Grant, Player of the Match, in action against Chalfont St Peter (Photo: Shooting Stars Photography)

Yellamen lift Championship trophy on Racecourse homecoming

Ascot United lifted the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Premier Division North title trophy in front of their fans on Saturday afternoon. After securing the title with victory at Edgware and Kingsbury two days earlier, manager Jamie Tompkins and his squad celebrated with their adoring fans after earlier easing to a 3-0 win over ten-man Chalfont St Peter.

Speaking in his matchday programme notes, Tompkins praised a “very special group” where the “atmosphere and togetherness within the squad is on another level,” and they duly began their four-match victory parade against relegation-haunted Saints.

With the Championship sewn up the Yellamen still had their sights on the magical 100-point mark – three wins and a draw from their final four games would do that – as well as extending an incredible sequence of just one defeat in 39 games.

Saints’ precarious position of one point and one place above the drop zone meant there was very much all to play for, but they would need to improve after failing to lay a glove on Ascot in the reverse fixture two-and-a-half weeks earlier.

In a fairly stale first half, Brendan Matthew glanced a header onto the post from Sean McCormack’s 17th minute corner – Ascot’s best and only real chance of the half – before Mark Amaning’s wayward shot from distance gave the visiting bench hope; albeit a dozen yards wide of target.

Saints’ Jamie Fulton then turned sinner with an awful late tackle on Louis Bouwers that earnt him an instant red card, but the ten men battled hard and forced a flurry of corners late in the half. Home ‘keeper Rhys Forster also produced a fine save to palm Josh Quinlivan’s thunderbolt away after Max MacGarvie had outmuscled Harry Tucker and crossed, but it was 0-0 at the break.

In contrast to recent weeks where Ascot have started with a blitz and eased back, this time the proverbial lights came on in the second half where once again used all five substitutes were used by Tompkins.

And, they took the lead in the 50th minute when visiting ‘keeper Finlay Purcell had initially done well to beat Matthew to Grant’s through ball, but Purcell’s headed clearance outside his area fell to Rob Gerrard, who volleyed straight back over the stranded stopper and into an empty net with his right foot.

Purcell then denied Kai Walters from a tight angle and even more impressively guessed right to stay on his feet to palm Matthew’s attempted lob away, but they finally caved in in the 70th minute when Louis Bouwers got just enough of a head on Chris Ellis’s long throw-in; the assistant referee deeming the ball had crossed the line despite Purcell’s desperate clawing attempt to keep the ball out.

But the goal of the game came thirteen minutes from time when the ever-eager George Lock broke down the right and slid-in an inch-perfect cross for Grant (pictured,, who rifled a sweet left-footed effort into the roof of the net.

The visitors, to their credit, never buckled and Tecane Shrowder and substitute Kayne Conner linked up well for Sam Wood wide-left of goal, but his cross-shot was easily gathered by Forster, en-route to successive clean sheet number five.

Dan Bailey almost added a late fourth only for Purcell to get down quite brilliantly to keep his low drive out, but 3-0 it remained.

And so it was left to club captain Bouwers who, having earlier scored, emerged last of all from the changing rooms to lift the trophy in front of the majority of the 207-strong crowd who had stayed to pay tribute to the Champions.

Ascot United: Forster, Gerrard (Surpanu 67’), Bailey, Ajanlekojo (Welch 72’), Bouwers, Tucker (Ellis 67’), McCormack (Lock 75’), H. Grant, Mealing, Matthew, Walters (Balogun 72’)




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