Birthday-boy Surpanu on target in 2-0 win
Ten-man Ascot United cruised to a 2-0 victory over Virginia Water on Tuesday evening. The Yellamen scored a goal in each half before Rory Merrick was shown a second yellow card on the hour mark, but they were rock-solid at the back to hold on for their first win after a five-game winless streak.
The significance of the match for both sides was Ascot’s quest to get back to winning ways and solidify their grip on sixth, whereas 15th-placed hosts Virginia Water looked to put more daylight between them and the bottom two; seven points being their gap to Holyport in 17th but having played a game more.
The first-half was devoid of many chances, but when the first one came it was well-taken by Duarte Surpanu who beat the hosts’ right-back before somehow squeezing a shot past Matt Jones from the by-line; 16 minutes played.
Surpanu’s birthday outing lasted only seven minutes longer as he pulled up injured – James Harper the replacement – before Taylor Morgan almost repeated Surpanu’s trick in the 38th minute only to fire after opening up his body.
The home side came out all-guns-blazing after the restart and pummelled Ascot for ten minutes; Sam Gray doing well to smother Adam McNamara’s effort from close range after Elijah Oladunjoye’s hail-Mary into the box had caused havoc.
But, against the run of play, The Yellamen went straight up the other end and scored as Sean McCormack skipped down the right wing and beat Jones at his near post with a powerful cross-shot – more a cross than a shot – but a great strike nonetheless.
Merrick then saw red forcing Ascot into a rearguard focus, but they were rarely troubled and even when they were, Dan Bailey’s excellent block on Josiah Bridgeman late-on protected Gray and helped preserve his clean-sheet.
Ascot used all five substitutes once again although one of them – the unlucky Denis Nortey – was himself replaced after pulling his hamstring fifteen minutes after coming on.
The Yellamen now face a tricky run of fixtures, beginning at North Greenford on Saturday.
Ascot United: Gray, Merrick, Masters, Scott, Bouwers, Bailey, McCormack, Walters (Ellis), Morgan (Nortey (Richardson)), August (Davies), Surpanu (Harper).