ASCOT FIGHT BACK TO DRAW WITH ASHFORD

#WeAreAscot.


Yellamen recover to draw 2-2 in thriller

Harry Laflin and Ben Harris were on target for Ascot United as they fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Ashford Town (Middx) on Tuesday evening, despite both players also missing penalties. The Yellamen were hit by the visitors’ quick-fire double just after the half-hour mark, but Laflin gave Ascot hope before the break and Harris salvaged a late point, sandwiched between saved spot-kicks.

Both sides looked to buck trend in form

Ascot and Ashford were both in the middle of a poor spell of form. Whilst the Yellamen had at least taken six points from their last six outings, their last three were both pointless and goalless, although Ashford’s solitary point in the same spell had seen them slip to 18th, albeit six points below Ascot and with three games in hand.

The Yellamen welcomed Laflin, George Lock and Ollie Harris back into the starting line-up after Saturday’s defeat – all three of them introduced as 70th minute substitutes three days before – and Lock’s appearance took him to within one game of a landmark 250th appearance.

Lively start but no goals

The first half was littered with chances and could have ended three or four-all as Mark Scott kept Ascot in it at one end with a string of good saves whereas his side’s inability to stay onside at the other end truncated numerous otherwise good moves.

Scott raced off his line to block Liam Mc Devitt’s close range effort after he had raced into Connor Young’s pass – Ascot gifting possession following a free kick in the visitors’ half – before the hosts went straight up the other end only for Ollie Harris to graze the outside of the left-hand post with a long-range effort.

Ben Harris then went down under Ahkeem Belford’s clumsy challenge from Harry Grant’s cross – valid penalty claims waved away – but it was Ashford’s turn next as Sam Humphreys clattered Scott’s crossbar from Jack Smith’s cross midway through the half.

Ash Trees stun Yellas with double

However, just after the half-hour mark Humphreys sprayed the ball to the left wing for Young, he swept a low cross into the danger area, and Ben Holder side-footed home to give his side the lead.

Incredibly, the visitors doubled their lead four minutes later when Scott failed to hold Young’s curling strike and early substitute Kingsley Eshun was well-placed to tap home the loose ball.

Ascot mount fightback

But Ascot’s response was instantaneous and they forced a corner just three minutes after going 2-0 down, and although Grant’s delivery lacked height, Laflin’s audacious well-disguised first-time volley deceived Harry Cant and flew in at the near post (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk).

Scott made another brilliant save to deny Young on-one-one a Ashford threatened again, but the Yellamen could – and should – have gone in level after Ben Harris was tripped by Prince Kandolo in the area only for Cant to guess correctly and dive low to save Laflin’s spot-kick; 2-1 to Ashford it remained and the hardy smattering of midweek supporters paused for breath.

Second half springs into life after slow start

The opening stages lacked the intensity that closed out the first half and 66 minutes were on the clock before McCormack’s shot deflected over after Harry Tucker’s throw-in had caused mayhem on the edge of Ashford’s box.

But after that it was almost impossible to keep up with play; Smith wildly sliced wide with his left foot for Ashford in the 71st minute, substitute Aaron Goode then ran straight through the middle two minutes later and drove over after seizing McCormack’s wayward pass, but Ascot survived and wasted a good chance of their own when McCormack controlled and crossed from Scott’s booming clearance only for another substitute – Taylor Morgan – to glance a header wide.

With ten minutes to go the game was still there for the taking and Ascot were awarded a second penalty in the 84th minute when Usman Lalustani had too much pace for Goode, who tripped the wing back as he went past him. This time, Ben Harris stepped up, but Cant held his ground to save as Harris thumped his effort just off centre, denying Ascot once again.

But Harris quickly atoned for his miss when, with two minutes remaining, he rose to head McCormack’s left-wing corner down into the ground; the ball bouncing up past Cant and into the roof of the net for the equaliser.

An incredible seven minutes of stoppage time saw Scott off his line once again to block another close range effort from Eshun as Ashford looked for a late winner, before he then denied Qasim Khan with his feet in the 92nd minute; Alex Stingelin planting the rebound high over the bar.

There was still time for Grant to sting Cant’s palms with a rasping first-time effort from McCormack’s cut-back as Ascot mounted one last attack of their own, but the 2-2 scoreline was a fair reflection of both side’s endeavours.

What’s next for Ascot?

The Yellamen are back on the road this Saturday with a trip to Hanworth Villa. The Villains’ recent form has also been patchy and so maybe this is a chance for Jamie Tompkins’ side to take something from a normally unhappy hunting ground.

Ascot United: Scott, Lock (Ellis 70’), Lalustani (Bailey 90+3’), Tack, Ajanlekoko, Tucker, McCormack, H. Grant, B. Harris, Laflin, O. Harris (T. Morgan 64’). Subs unused: Goulter, Lahtinen-Kalsi.

Entertainment: 4

Reporter’s Star Man: Mark Scott (Ascot United)

Away fans (estimate): 15

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