Last-gasp goals seal unlikely comeback win

Ascot United came from a goal down with two late goals to win 3-1 at impressive Wokingham and Emmbrook on Saturday. After ‘keeper Jamie Ashdown had kept Ascot in it with a string of fine saves, The Yellamen levelled through Harry Grant before crucial substitutes Ollie Harris and Keaton August sealed the comeback late-on.

In an even, well-contested first half, either side could have led with better finishing, although it would remain goal-less at the interval.

Perhaps the best chance fell to home striker Callum Gethin-Barkway in the fifth minute, although clean through on goal he was thwarted by a sprawling Ashdown, who stood up well to deny the number ten.

He might have done better than nod over after a corner was headed back to him ten minutes later, but Ascot finally showed their intent midway through the half only for Dan Bailey to head powerfully at Sean Woodward from Grant’s corner before being unable to get enough contact on the rebound.

Ashdown comfortably tipped Joao Jardim’s effort away as the sides traded chances after he had escaped down the right wing, but Ascot would finish the half more strongly. Firstly, the lively Kai Walters fashioned himself a long range shot which was comfortably saved, before Grant’s 34th minute corner might have been converted by each of Harry Tucker, Bailey and then Brendan Matthew; the latter forcing a flying save from Woodward.

Early in the second half, Grant almost scored when Matthew’s cross-shot had flown up off Woodward’s outstretched leg onto his chest and ultimately over, but only Ashdown’s incredible save at the other end – pushing Alex Badshah’s drive onto the inside of the post and bar before Jack Sharman tapped in from an ultimately offside position – would keep it goalless.

But it was a defensive horror show that gifted the home side their lead – Bailey and Ashdown allowing Badshah to nip in after the ball had bounced between them – and he lofted the ball across for Callum Wright to nod home on the hour mark.

A double substitution for Ascot saw August and Harris given 25 minutes to make an impact, although they would leave it a further 23 minutes to make their telling marks.

Grant would draw the sides level when he stabbed home after Harris’s shot had been beaten away by Woodward, although the visitors had ridden their luck in the build up after Josh Masters had played an inadvertent one-two with an opponent and broke through another challenge before delivering the telling cross that led to the equaliser.

However, only Tucker’s fine, late intervention snuffed out the danger following Sharman’s dangerous cross at the other end as Wokingham sought to regain the lead, but their gritty resolve would ultimately be broken.

Matthews’ shot on the turn served warning with ten minutes remaining, but as the clocked ticked into the 89th minute it was August’s outswinging cross – Ascot finally finding space on the left wing – that arced over Woodward leaving Harris with the easiest of conversions from a matter of inches.

And, as Wokingham sought a leveller, they fluffed their lines when impressive left back Ellis Wint’s free kick in an advanced position lacked height, relinquishing possession, and allowing August to race clear and somehow flick past Woodward, who also received a yellow card for clattering August as he struck just outside the area.

After their midweek defeat it was a decent recovery result from Ascot and they maintained their 100% league record on the road, although they know they will need to improve.

Ascot United: Ashdown, Gray, Masters, Ajanlekoko, Bailey, Tucker, McCormack (August 65’), Grant, Mealing (Harris 65’), Matthew, Walters. Subs unused: Lock, Thompson, Price

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