Laflin and Morgan on target against St Panteleimon
Ascot United returned to winning ways in the league with a 3-1 win over St Panteleimon on Saturday. In a feisty encounter where manager Jamie Tompkins was dismissed at half time, Harry Laflin and Taylor Morgan were on target to earn his side three much-needed points.
The Yellamen had halted a five-game winless run in their midweek thrashing of Newport Pagnell Town – albeit the visitors fielding a weakened team – but visitors St Panteleimon would pose a sterner test coming into the game in 5th place; 8 points and 5 league places better off than Ascot.
In a high-octane first half, Ascot were in the ascendancy for long spells and Laflin’s goalscoring touch continued with a brace of goals that looked like giving his side a comfortable half-time lead, only for the visitors to score a controversial goal just before the break that led to the dismissal of manager Jamie Tompkins for his verbal remonstrations with the officials at half time.
Early-on, Laflin stooped to power a first-time header into the top right from Sean McCormack’s precise right-wing cross; David Amate having pressed high and won possession to set up McCormack.
Ascot then doubled their advantage in the 20th minute with a move starting on the opposite flank. This time, Adam Everiss crossed for Laflin, Laflin laid the ball off to Morgan, and Morgan was clumsily challenged by Yemi Boraihmoh. The referee awarded a penalty, and Laflin buried it into the bottom right via the fingertips of ‘keeper Lewis Everitt (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk).
At the other end, Sam Gray raced off his line to deny early Saints substitute Courtney Massey with a well-timed tackle before the hosts’ Rashid Hamid was lucky to only see yellow for a strong challenge although it was Saints’ goal just before the break that really had tempers flaring. Everitt did fantastically well to thump a low goal-kick up field following an Ascot attack – and even though Ibrahim Lukulay lobbed the ball into the net merely six seconds after the ball had left Everitt’s hands – it was the basketball-style hand-dunk to control the ball that went unnoticed and led to the half-time shenanigans and Tompkins’ dismissal.
The second half was a story of substitutions, shouting and a couple of shots.
Ascot made five replacements – including a 60 second debut run out for Allied U18 player Toby Thompson – but before that both sides were lucky to have retained eleven players on the pitch.
Hamid was substituted immediately after the last of his nine lives went in another strong challenge, and in terms of goalmouth action there were really only two meaningful chances for both sides. Saints went close when Guillerme Monti played a neat one-two with Lukulay before seeing his resultant shot saved by Gray, and late in the game Lukulay wasted his side’s best chance to get back into it when he sliced wide.
Before that, Morgan had given Ascot breathing space with a neat left-footed finish past Everitt after the referee had allowed play to continue following a foul on Keaton August; McCormack delivering the telling cross that Morgan controlled and slotted home.
Another substitute, Duarte Surpanu, rifled a late shot that Everitt saved with his legs, before the final whistle blew following six minutes of added time – bringing a relief to the hosts in more ways than one.
Ascot United: Gray, Amate (Lock), Everiss, Hamid (Harper), Bouwers, Bailey, McCormack (Thompson), Denton, Morgan (Nortey), Laflin (Surpanu), August.