Yellamen survive stern test to win 3-2
Ascot United came from behind to beat Virginia Water 3-2 and maintain their long unbeaten run on Tuesday evening. In a tight affair, substitute Chris Ellis made a telling contribution as his side got the better of their hugely impressive opposition.
The Yellamen had needed to come from behind and had ‘keeper Jamie Ashdown to thank in the reverse fixture which Ascot won 2-1; The Waters having enjoyed a solid season so far that has propelled them to a comfortable and unprecedented mid-table position.
This time around, the visitors were equally impressive in the first half and only the heroics of Ashdown denied them once again. Early-on, he beat away Casey Bocarro’s shot from Ross Nunn’s assist, before producing a wonderful low, instinctive diving save after Bocarro’s free kick had been volleyed goalwards midway through the half.
Ascot rarely threatened apart from a handful of chances in the last twelve minutes of the half when Dan Bailey volleyed over before Alfie Grant found the side-netting with a volley of his own, but Ashdown was alert in the middle of those efforts with another fine sprawling save to thwart Joe McBride following a quick counter-attack.
And after a goalless first half, the sparse midweek crowd were treated to a five-goal bonanza in the second period as the lead changed hands three times.
First blood went to Ascot as, with fifty minutes on the clock, Usman Lalustani expertly controlled Rob Gerrard’s booming pass on the left wing, before arrowing an inviting cross for the Dan Bailey – staying high – to thump home with his head.
But the lead was short lived as just eight minutes later Bocarro would head Virginia Water level at the far post; game on.
Ascot then made a trio of substitutions, although the changes did not initially play out as hoped as Virginia Water countered from one of Ellis’s long throw-ins enabling Nunn to arc a fine volley across Ashdown and into the left hand corner with twenty-five minutes remaining.
However, the hosts were soon level from Harry Grant’s corner three minutes later – Ellis meeting his delivery at the far post with a perfectly weighted header that sailed over Matt Jones and into the top right hand corner.
And, the comeback was complete in the 72nd minute when Ellis’s long throw-in was headed down by Bailey for Sean McCormack to smash low and hard into the net.
There was still time for Turnell Sinclair to inexplicably screw wide of an open goal after a rare error from Ashdown when it looked odds-on that the visitors would grab an equaliser, but Ascot held on to make it nineteen games unbeaten.
Ascot United: Ashdown, Lock, Gerrard, Ajanlekoko, A. Grant (Ellis 62’), Bailey, McCormack, H. Grant, Mealing (Matthew 62’), Lalustani (Bouwers 86’), Gallimore (August 65’). Sub unused: Welch
Pictured: Marcus Mealing under the close attention of the Virginia Water defence (shooting-stars.co.uk)