Impressive visitors put brakes on Yellamen’s run
Virginia Water hit back to deny Ascot United a club record tenth consecutive victory on Saturday. The visitors trailed one-nil at the break courtesy of Duarte Surpanu’s excellent goal, but deservedly levelled when Turnell Sinclair’s powerful header finally beat man-of-the-match Sam Gray with just under twenty minutes remaining.
This was the first match of the season between the in-form hosts and struggling Virginia Water who were in need of points at the wrong end of the table, and manager Ceri Jones was certainly looking to take the local bragging rights against an Ascot side who had recorded the double over them the last time they met in 2018/19.
And, had it not been for home ‘keeper Gray’s brace of fine early saves, Waters would have been a goal up inside ten minutes. First, his firm hand kept out Saaim Shaber’s thunderbolt just four minutes in after Sinclair had sprayed wide for Casey Bocarro to deliver the cross that had set him up, before standing up well to deny Ross Nunn who looked odds-on to score when clean through.
In between those chances Taylor Morgan had the ball in the net for Ascot only to be denied for an apparent push, but his side were ahead in the 19th minute courtesy of a wonder-strike from Surpanu who curled a sublime effort past Matthew Jones from the corner of the penalty area (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk).
It was almost 2-0 on the half hour mark when James Richardson burst through and clattered the crossbar with a ferocious left-footed effort, although the visitors might have tested Gray before half time only for Josiah Bridgeman to mis-hit his effort when well placed; all remaining sting being removed by a deflection on its way through to a relieved Gray.
The second half belonged to the visitors who were lively and enterprising, spending long spells in the host’s half.
Gray would make a fine save from Nunn’s first-time volley in the 52nd minute and Dan Bailey won a succession of towering headers to avert further danger, but when the visitors broke with intent in the 72nd minute it was Sinclair who powered a fine header into the left hand corner from Bocarro’s arrowed cross.
Substitute Owen Cartwright then saw his shot on the turn somehow scrambled away for a corner from which Joe McBride’s header was smothered by Gray once again, whereas the hosts failed to register another effort on target as they settled for a point on a day that might easily have yielded nothing.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Everiss, Merrick, Bailey, Ellis, Richardson (Nortey), Scott, Morgan, August (Walters), Surpanu (Masters). Subs unused: Sykes, Bouwers