BOURNEMOUTH BEAT ASCOT 2-0 TO TAKE TITLE RACE TO THE WIRE

#WeAreAscot.

Yellawomen miss chance to win league

Ascot United Women were beaten 2-0 by title rivals Bournemouth Sports on Sunday as the Southern Region Women’s Premier Division title race took another turn. Needing a win to lift the Championship in Dorset, The Yellawomen slipped to defeat, and must now rely on a Bournemouth slip-up or an unlikely swing in goal difference to taste silverware.

Title challengers go toe-to-toe

This was an eagerly-anticipated clash between two sides who had drawn the return fixture and had since emerged as the only two title challengers. Before kick off, Ascot led Bournemouth by six point points, albeit Sports had a better goal difference and a game in hand. As such, the maths were simple: an away win would seal the title, a draw would be enough to keep it in Ascot’s hands heading into their final game at Woodley, and defeat would swing the pendulum towards Bournemouth – although in that scenario they’d still need to come through two tricky road trips of their own to steal the silverware from Ascot’s grasp.

Ascot undone and left with mountain to climb

The game itself was a tight affair, and fully thirteen minutes had passed before either side threatened. And, it was the visitors, who came close in a neat left-wing move that saw Hayley Cruickshanks hold up the ball well for Maddie Robertson, Robertson in turn picked out Alix Todd, and her speculative effort was thwarted by a combination of the crossbar and impressive home ‘keeper Sam Chrippes.

Jos Hughes then signalled the hosts’ intent with an ultimately wayward attempt, but her side would gain the midfield ascendancy that paved their way for their opener.

When it came, inevitably it was from the boot of ex-Yellawomen Hannah Bennet; the set-piece specialist firing a free kick over Sophie Allen and into the top left; 25 minutes played.

At the other end, Amelia Kimble worked tirelessly and her quick feet following a throw-in ended with a lay-off to Todd, whose shot fizzed over and onto the roof of the net.

But the home side scored a crucial second five minutes before the break. Most of their threat came down the left, and when Hughes picked out Liane Folkernstern on that flank, she skipped to the by line and drew a decent block from Allen before Rosie Eden slotted the rebound home first-time.

Visitors up the intensity but find no way through

Ascot made a flurry of changes in search of a route back into the game, but could find no way through a Bournemouth rearguard, for whom Kitty Norman was exceptional.

Phil Holden’s 81st minute free-kick was brilliantly tipped away by Chrippes when seemingly destined for the top right hand corner, although Ascot continued to press and Kimble twice had difficult chances, although the second of them was in the second minute of stoppage time and at full stretch on the volley; Chrippes gleefully gobbling it up.

It wasn’t Ascot’s day, but their 20-plus travelling fans may still get another afternoon in the sun if Sports slip-up.

What’s next for Ascot?

The Yellawomen are in cup action on Easter Monday before playing their final league game at Woodley on April 7th. If they win that and Sports fail to beat both Warminster on the same day and Woodley one week later, then the title balance will swing for one final time.

Time will tell.

Entertainment: 2

Reporter’s Star Player: Kitty Norman (Bournemouth Sports)

Ascot United: Allen, Drage, Huntley, Luckhurst-McCord, Vince, Todd, Holden, Robertson, Cruickshanks, Brown, Kimble. Subs (rolling): Markham, Couzens, Carrington, Barrett, Skinner

Attendance (est): 100 (25 away)

Scorers: BSFC: Bennet 25, Eden 40’

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