Yellamen mount stirring comeback from 2-0 down
Ascot United produced a stunning second half comeback to beat Risborough Rangers 3-2 in Tuesday night’s Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round replay. Trailing 2-0 at the break and looking dead-and-buried, the Yellamen were level inside an hour before substitute Sam Evans scored at the death (pictured with Chris Ellis, shooting-stars.co.uk) to set up a first qualifying round tie at Hythe Town.
Saturday’s initial encounter had ended one-all despite Rangers playing for over 85 minutes with ten men, and in terms of personnel Ascot made two changes to their starting line-up with Duarte Surpanu and Keaton August coming in for Sean McCormack and Taylor Morgan.
Unfortunately for Ascot, the writing looked on the wall early-on and only an incredible back-tracking goal-line clearance from outstanding defender Chris Ellis prevented Rangers from taking a fourth minute lead.
Incredibly, history almost repeated itself when Kieron Schmidt only saw yellow for a bad fifth minute tackle on Surpanu, but this time Risborough would survive with eleven men.
Sam Gray then saved from Marcus Wylie but it was Ascot who should have taken the lead against the run of play when an unmarked Ian Davies could only side-foot wide from Keaton August’s cross following Ellis’s sensational defence-splitting pass.
But that miss would soon be punished when defender Bertie Squire-Adams volleyed home from long-range in the nineteenth minute before a quick-fire break led to Rangers’ second in the 35th minute after Schmidt had released Adam Morris, who in-turn fed Sam Pekun to curl a deliciously audacious effort home from the edge of the box.
Half time saw Jamie Tompkins ring the changes as Evans joined Calum Ferguson on the pitch; Davies and Surpanu making way. And, this shuffle of the pack would ultimately end with a diamond finale.
Just three minutes into the half, Tom Scott – who has grown in stature since his arrival pre-season – cracked a fine volley past Jack Brooker to give his side a glimmer of hope.
That glimmer was further stoked when Ascot broke in the 59th minute and George Lock put the icing on a fine move by deftly flicking home this third goal of the season, sending the Racecourse faithful wild.
At this point all the momentum was with Ascot although Evans – who had earlier been driven to the match from his family holiday in Dorset – gifted Rangers the chance to regain the lead only for Wylie to shoot wide after the youngster had lost possession.
After a stale period where both sides huffed and puffed – Ellis would superbly snuff out anything Rangers had left to offer whilst the visitors’ increasingly shaky looking rearguard did the same – extra time looked a formality.
But as 90 minutes ticked past, Ascot won a corner. Roared on by vocal support both on the sidelines and behind the goal, one final cup-tie-melee in the penalty area ended with match-winner Evans in the right place at the right time to slot home the winner, sparking pandemonium both on and off the field.
Breathe. It’s a trip to Kent in ten days’ time. Anyone up for a cup run?
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Masters, Scott, Bailey, Ellis, Surpanu (Ferguson), Denton, Davies (Evans), Laflin, August. Subs unused: Sykes, Andrady, Morgan, McCormack, Walden