ASCOT EASE PAST THATCHAM INTO COUNTY CUP QUARTERS

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Yellamen reign supreme against Kingfishers in 3-0 win

Masterful Ascot United romped to a 3-0 victory against Isthmian South Central League Thatcham Town in the Berks and Bucks Senior trophy 2nd round on Tuesday evening. The visitors – one level above in the pyramid – were pitiful in defence but take nothing away from the home side whose workrate prevented Thatcham from establishing any foothold in an ultimately one-sided affair.

Five of Ascot’s current squad were in the Ascot Team that stunned the-then FA Vase holders 3-1 the last time these sides met. That encounter in September 2018 was also in the county cup; and four of them – Lock, Ellis, Laflin and Denton –  were in the starting line-up once again in the hope of repeating the upset.

Step-four Thatcham actually looked more lively in the opening five minutes, although after that it was pretty much one-way traffic for Ascot who created a succession of chances aided by the visitors’ shambolic inability to defend most high balls into the box.

Taylor Morgan found Sean McCormack in the 10th minute and he forced a good save from visiting ‘keeper Jack Hopwood, although it was the third of a trio of chances for Harry Laflin that led to the opener. Laflin should probably have nodded home one of Chris Ellis’s long throw-ins in the 12th and 13th minutes respectively, but he wouldn’t be denied again as one further minute later he converted the hardest of the three chances – again from an Ellis delivery – albeit this time a deep free kick, from which he planted a looping header over Hopwood from distance.

At the other end, Sam Gray made a smart save before George Lock cleared off the line, and Gray then gleefully saved Liam Campbell’s weak shot on the turn, but it was Ascot who looked most likely to score again and they duly did just after the half-hour mark. Before that, Johnny Denton had seen his shot deflected wide after good work from Adam Everiss and Duarte Surpanu in the build-up, but when they scored it was Dan Bailey’s towering header (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk) from Sean McCormack’s corner into the top right hand corner which gave his side a 2-0 half-time lead.

Ascot managed the game exceptionally well in the second period. Gray was on hand deny Campbell again early-on – a decent save at full stretch to turn his long-range effort over – but the home defence would snuff out any further attempts on his goal after that.

Home captain Bailey then had a half-chance which he scooped over and Ascot introduced fresh legs to torment their visitors further, but they saved their final nail in the coffin until injury time when Ellis provided his second assist of the evening – another missile onto Laflin’s head – and he planted it home to make it 3-0 with a glut of defenders again looking at each other in disarray.

Didcot now lie in wait in the quarter finals, and on this showing the Yellamen will believe they can beat anyone.

Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Everiss, Merrick, Bailey, Ellis, McCormack (Davies), Denton, Morgan (August), Laflin, Surpanu (Richardson). Subs unused: Masters, Nortey

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