One-all draw in league encounter
Ascot United were held by Sutton Common Rovers on Saturday as the visitors fought back to claim a point. Ascot led at the break and might have gone further ahead, but were ultimately punished for not taking their chances in front of a crowd of 136.
Back to league action after cup congestion
This was Ascot’s fifth league match of the season after two wins and two defeats, although sprinkle in their eight cup exertions and it was matchday number thirteen for Jamie Tompkins’ side. Top scorer Brendan Matthew was looking for goals to keep ahead of his goal-a-game record – thirteen in twelve going into the match – whereas defender Harry Tucker returned to the fold and is now just one short of a half century of appearances in yellow.
They think it’s all Rovers
The visitors shaded the opening stages and Huge Sobte’s excellent save from Antonio Simeone’s bullet effort kept his side in it, although Rovers were guilty of missing a sitter in the 27th minute when Nabeel Ghannam skipped clear of Jordan Ajanlekoko and crossed for Conan Torpey, who hooked over a gaping net when unmarked in the centre of the box.
Sobte went walkabout and was almost punished in losing possession moments later, but it was an otherwise excellent display of footwork again from the Yellas’ number one.
Ascot come roaring back
But after Ascot had weathered the storm, they scored with their first real chance. And, what a goal it was. Tucker won possession in his own third, picked out Usman Lalustani with a raking pass to the left wing, and after Lalustani had run at the defence, he cut the ball back for Harry Grant to crack a first-time left footed effort that curled away from ‘keeper James Dillon and into the bottom right; 30 minutes played (pictured celebrating, shooting-stars.co.uk).
After that it was all Ascot – Matthew missed and then Grant’s corner almost went straight in, but Matthew would come even closer when firstly he robbed Simeone and crossed from the by-line only to see the ball scrambled clear, before agonisingly hitting the side of the left-hand post and seeing the ball spin across the six yard-box and out for a goal kick on the other side in first half stoppage time.
Super Sobte shows his worth
Ascot goalkeeper Sobte produced several decent saves to keep Rovers out, but two of them – each thwarting Ghannam – were out of his top drawer.
The first came shortly after Ascot had threatened through Matthew, who was expertly challenged by defender Matthew Tanton, and as Rovers countered, Ghannam found himself one-on-one with Sobte who stood up well to save before Ghannam screwed the loose ball wide from a tight angle. The second of them came in the 77th minute as Ghannam teed himself up outside the area and thumped an outswinging drive that a soaring Sobte clawed around a post to keep his side in it.
Tucker’s out of luck as Rovers return
In between all that, Tucker limped off for Ascot just before the hour mark, and Rovers levelled in the 71st minute when Torpey scooped home after Ghannam’s deep free kick had been headed back into the area; Torpey would himself also later hobble off.
But despite looking threatening, the visitors were equally under pressure and had Matthew done better with his control from Ryan Case’s ball over the top then they may have been punished in the 83rd minute. Matthew also later saw a later shot deflect wide before both sides traded chances in injury time. Firstly – and almost inevitably – Ghannam shot through a crowd and wide in the 2nd minute of added time before Sean McCormack’s rising effort for Ascot sailed a foot-or-so over in the 4th minute of the overages.
A point each was probably a fair result, although both sides will reflect on what could have been a better haul.
What’s next for Ascot?
The Yellamen will need to raise their game to another level on the south coast next weekend when they bid for a place in the first round proper of the Isuzu FA Trophy. Isthmian League Premier Division side Whitehawk stand in their way, but having already pushed their division rivals Lewes all the way in the FA Cup, it’s certainly winnable.
Ascot United: Sobte, Tucker (Bailey 57’), Edwards, McCormack, Balogun (Welch 84’), Ajanlekoko, Matthew, Lahtinen-Kalsi (Lock 80’), Lalustani, H. Grant, Case. Subs unused: Morgan, Phillips
Reporter’s Star Man: Huge Sobte (Ascot United)
Away fans (estimate): 10