Ollie pops up to sink Sarnies

Ollie Harris’s sublime second half free kick was the difference as Ascot United ground out a 1-0 win at Egham Town on Tuesday to maintain their 100% start to their league campaign. After an uninspiring first half on a pitch that looked like it hadn’t seen a hosepipe in weeks, The Yellamen took control after the break and were rewarded when Harris won – and scored – what proved to be the winner just before the hour mark.

After Saturday’s FA Cup exit at Holyport it was back to league action for The Yellamen who were looking to make it three wins out of three in the Premier Division North against an Egham side who are fancied once again following their third place finish last season.

Brendan Matthew – who bagged a 19 goals for the Sarnies last season – lined up for Ascot against his old club, as did Egham’s James Richardson, himself a veteran of 74 appearances and 13 goals for Ascot spanning five seasons between 2017-2022.

As it was, the closest Richardson came was a dive that earnt himself a yellow card for simulation, whereas Matthew might have opened the scoring just before Harris’s goal only for home ‘keeper Lewis Gallifent to recover magnificently after Matthew had rounded him.

Before all that came a poor first half where Adam Humphries headed well wide at the far post before captain Reece Yorke’s equally wayward header from a corner were Egham’s only chances.

The Yellamen were equally devoid of chances as Matthew got the ball caught under his feet when clean through and Harris saw a low shot easily saved as the sides traded chances; 0-0 was a predictable half time scoreline.

But the second half was better and after Gallifent had superbly denied Matthew it was Harris who was chopped down on the edge of the area before stepping up to curl the resultant free-kick over the wall and into the top left hand corner after 58 minutes; Gallifent rooted to his spot.

The Yellamen continued to press with substitutes Kai Walters and Keaton August – making his 49th appearance – both earning corners with deflected shots, but Harris’s earlier magic was enough for Ascot to make it nine points from nine.

Ascot United: Ashdown, Welch, Masters, Ajanlekoko, Bailey, Tucker, McCormack, Grant (August 70’), Mealing (Merrick 77’), Matthew, Harris (Walters 70’). Subs unused: Bouwers, Laflin

Picture: the travelling fans celebrate Harris’s goal (shooting-stars.co.uk)

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