Harris hat-trick seals 5-1 away day win  

Ascot United set up a home tie with AEK Boco in the FA Vase second qualifying round with 5-1 win at Hellenic League Division One outfit Long Crendon on Saturday. The Yellamen were in cruise control throughout, although recovered from conceding the first goal to run out comfortable winners as Ollie Harris netted three.

Including this encounter, 12 of Ascot’s last 13 FA Vase matches have been played on the road, although they will now look forward to a home tie in the next round in a month’s time.

Suspension deferred Keaton August’s 50th appearance by at least another week, although The Yellamen still had enough depth to create a glut of chances in the first half.

Jay Welch delivered a fine cross early-on that Marcus Mealing could only head wide, and as Welch served up a succession of delicious raking passes, it would surely only be a  matter of time before regular recipient of them – Sean McCormack – would see one of his right wing deliveries converted.

However, Mealing would be wasteful and the hosts’ goalmouth led a charmed life in the face of a brace of headers from Dan Bailey, the second of which was millimetres from crossing the line after ‘keeper Aaron White had somehow kept it out.

And, directly following that chance, the home side went straight up the other end with Jack Gaul splitting Rory Merrick and Dan Bailey before rifling a superb effort into the left corner past a helpless Jamie Ashdown for an unlikely 1-0 lead.

But the lead didn’t last long as McCormack’s 34th minute free-kick was helped back into the danger area by Mealing only for a home defender to slice into his own net.

And Ascot eked out a half-time lead when the excellent Welch picked out Mealing six minutes later, Mealing skipped past a defender, and unselfishly squared for Harris to tap in.

It was all Ascot after the break and daylight opened up when Mealing rolled home a 59th minute penalty following White’s foul on Kai Walters.

Harris then smashed home a fourth after McCormack’s cross had flicked off Mealing to tee up the effort from a tight angle, before completing his hat-trick to make it 5-1 with another tap-in three minutes from time; substitute George Lock proving an excellent assist.

But it was the introduction of another substitute – Dan Price – who provided his own icing on Ascot ‘s cake as the popular midfielder had earlier come on for a twenty-minute spell after recovering from his second long-term injury.

Bristol-based AEK Boco, another step six side and seeded directly into the second qualifying round, will now visit The Racecourse on the weekend of Saturday 24th September as both sides go for a place in the first round proper.

Ascot United: Ashdown, Merrick, Masters (Lock 61’), Ajanlekoko, Bailey (Bouwers 61’), Tucker, McCormack, Welch (Price 71’), Mealing Walters, Harris. Subs unused: Sykes, Thompson

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