Ollie pops up with winner for ten-man Yellas

Ollie Harris’s thunderbolt was enough for Ascot United to see off play-off chasing Southall on Saturday. The Yellamen, who battled for over twenty minutes with ten men after the soft dismissal of Taylor Morgan, were hugely impressive throughout and extended their unbeaten run to six.

Yellamen look to continue run against visitors with fine home form

Southall already look set for a play-off spot, with leaders Chertsey looking imperious and sixth-placed Westfield ten points below them albeit with two games in hand. However, with The ‘All boasting an 80% home victory success rate this would be another tough ask for Ascot, despite Southall’s own recent six-game streak – eight points form six – placing them just thirteenth in the form table.

And, the Yellamen came into the game off the back of one of their best performances of the season one week earlier, and their five-game unbeaten streak – their best since promotion to Step four – looked more than capable of being extended.

Ben Harris was a notable absentee after his hamstring injury one week earlier, and with fellow attackers Harry Laflin and Sean McCormack, also absent there were starts for Ollie Harris, Morgan and Ollie Mason.

Impressive Yellamen edge first half

Ascot scored an eight – possibly nine – out of ten in a first half showing that oozed confidence. Indeed, they might have led after just ten seconds when Harris raced down the right and drilled an inviting cross across the penalty area that Usman Lalustani lifted over the bar when it looked easier to score.

In another promising move, Ollie Lahtinen-Kalsi’s left-wing foray ended with a ball inside for Liam Tack, and his quick feet opened up space before squaring for Harris, who fired straight at Michael Edegbe.

At the other end Southall were kept quiet; Jaden Thompson-Brissett’s ball over the top almost let in former Ascot star Brendan Matthew, but Mark Scott was quickly off his line to smother.

But it was otherwise Ascot who looked most likely to score, and it was one of their stand out players – youngster Mason – who would have an unusual hand in their opening goal. Amazingly – it was whilst he was off the pitch receiving treatment – and now temporarily facing ten men Southall were undone from a throw-in when Morgan held the ball up, Harris took a sweet first touch away from his marker and unleashed a rocket from a tight angle that flew into the roof of the net before Edegbe could react (pictured,

Concussion debate rears its ugly head

That goal came in the 38th minute, but there would still be eighteen further minutes added when Edegbe and Harris later collided – the former taking a huge knock to the head – for which he lay dazed for several minutes. Bravely – and what appeared stupidly at the time – Edegbe got up to take his place between the sticks, but it was a toss-up as to whether he would re-appear for the second half; and he did.

There was still time for Scott to get down sharply to save Thompson-Brissett’s low daisy-cutter to preserve Ascot’s deserved half-time advantage, and the sides belatedly changed ends.

Yellamen pick up where they left off

The visitors were as determined after the restart and Lahtinen-Kalsi epitomised that spirit with a superb 48th minute goal-saving block to thwart Anthony O’ Connor.

Thompson-Brissett and Tack then fired wildly over at either end, but the game threatened to change when Morgan was dismissed for his meek reaction to being cautioned – itself harsh – and incredibly the visitors would need to dig even deeper.

But that they did. Buoyed by their fifty-or-so travelling supporters within a crowd of 117, man mountain Mark Scott got down well to his right to save well from Frankie Taylor in the 77th minute, before producing the stop-of-the game just three minutes later to palm Thompson-Brissett’s effort away when it looked for all the world that the lively forward would find the net from a close, central position.

Scott continues to make his mark

That itself would be enough for a man-of-the match award, and even after he had gone down clattered for the third time and George Lock had scrambled off the line, he still had enough to save O’ Connor’s vicious cross-shot in the 90th minute.

Scott and his defence then held firm throughout five added minutes, before their side took adulation from their travelling supporters for a performance that even eclipsed that which they had produced week earlier.

Maybe, just maybe, the Yellamen have come of age at step four.

What’s next for Ascot?

The Yellamen have the chance to do both themselves and Southall a favour next weekend when Westfield are the visitors to The Racecourse.

Ascot United: Scott, Lock, Lahtinen-Kalsi, Tack, Ellis, Tucker (Edwards 55’), Mason, H. Grant, T. Morgan (sent off 69’), Harris (Lynch 74’), Lalustani (Bailey 66’). Subs unused: Sykes, McLeod

Entertainment: 5

Reporter’s Star Man: Mark Scott (Ascot United)

Away fans (estimate): 50




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