Yellamen hold on for 3-2 win
Ascot United survived a fightback from spirited Langley to advance 3-2 in the Berks and Bucks County Cup qualifying round on Tuesday.
The match – played four months minus one day since Ascot were runners up against Reading in last season’s final – pitched high flying Combined Counties Division One free-scorers Langley against their equally high flying Premier Division ‘hosts’, although the match was actually Langley’s home time but for a venue switch due to Arbour Park being unavailable.
These two sides last met in a Hellenic League Floodlit Cup tie in February 2019 when Ascot ran out comfortable 5-0 winners, and four of Ascot’s five different scorers on that night remain with the club today.
Two of them – George Lock, and Dan Price – started the match and they were involved in most things good in the first half, supported by the excellent Keaton August (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk).
Indeed, Lock and Price linked up with a four-pass interchange leading to Ascot’s opener in the 17th minute, paving the way for August to smash home on the overlap.
August’s delicious lay-off to Harry Tucker resulted in an unstoppable thunderbolt into the top right hand corner from the big defender five minutes later, and Jacob Cowler in Langley’s goal prevented further damage when he thwarted Ollie Harris’s attempted lob after defender Jevon Fletcher had missed his attempted clearance.
Just before that, Kai Walters fired narrowly wide from distance as Price turned provider again, but it was 3-0 in the 36th minute when August turned provider once again – this time with quick feet and vision to play in Harry Grant, who clipped the ball past an onrushing Cowler.
Langley’s Kieron O’ Donoghue scored a fabulous low, thunderous free kick three minutes later after Louis Bouwers has conceded a foul just outside the area, and although the visitors had a couple more half chances before the break it was Ascot who retained their two-goal advantage.
The visitors gave a good account of themselves and served warning of their potential comeback when Ashdown was called into action in the 58th minute, racing off his line to charge down substitute Henry Okela’s shot.
But it was another substitute, Dillon Rajkovic, who cut the deficit to 3-2 with a long-range strike that sailed over Ashdown just off centre of the goal.
But Ascot had their own chances to put the tie beyond doubt as Cowler saved well from Grant and Harris fired a free-kick narrowly over, before the visitors task became even harder when Alexandra Bolovan received a 2nd yellow card in added time.
Nevertheless, Langley might have grabbed an equaliser at the death only for Darrell Newton to slice wide when clean through, much to the relief of the home faithful.
Ascot United: Ashdown, Lock, Thompson, Grant, Bouwers, Tucker, Price (Ajanlekoko), Walters, August, Matthew (Hall), Harris. Subs unused: McCormack, Mealing, Welch