Brilliant Bailey inspires Ascot to victory on road
Ascot United returned to action with a 2-1 victory at Wembley FC on Saturday. In their first match of 2022, The Yellamen’s captain Dan Bailey was superb in defence and weighed in with a goal as Ascot overcame their hosts with a strong second half display.
The curse of COVID meant that both sides had played just one game in four weeks – which they had both won – so an element of rustiness was expected in what has become an increasingly disrupted campaign.
As it was, both sides were initially rusty, although the home side created most of the chances in a scrappy first half and the best of them brought the best out of visiting ‘keeper Sam Gray just ten minutes in when he palmed away Jonathan Iley’s bullet header from Calvin Osborne’s cross.
Defender Bailey’s brilliant challenge then denied Ned Jones a scoring opportunity after he had raced onto Yassim Fehmi-Gil’s pass, before defenders Jermaine Heron and Osborne both skied long-range efforts over as the half wore on.
In between those chances, Ascot finally mustered a sight of goal when Keaton August checked onto his right foot and flashed a half-chance wide, but his afternoon ended early when he limped off with a hamstring injury five minutes before the break.
And then came the sucker blow from Ascot. They won back possession with a crunching midfield challenge, Sean McCormack fed Taylor Morgan, and he superbly spun away from the defence before rifling an unstoppable effort past home’ keeper Paul Wood with the angle against him.
The Yellamen were much improved in the second half and Bailey created daylight with a 59th minute downward header into the net after Jonny Denton’s corner had skimmed off a defender and into his path. However, that daylight was only made possible because of Bailey’s brilliant challenge on Jones ten minutes earlier, which denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.
From that moment Ascot were largely in control; Morgan’s cross-field pass to McCormack ended with him bringing a fine save out of Wood, Harry Laflin fired over when well placed and substitute Dennis Nortey brought another good save out of Wood as Ascot should have added a third, although defender George Lock had earlier done well to block Heron’s chance at the other end on his 150th appearance for the Yellamen.
Unnecessary late nerves jangled when Chris Ellis needlessly conceded a late penalty which Rowan Larrington rolled in, but there would be no further drama and Ascot held on for a 2-1 win that took them above their hosts into seventh.
Pictured: Ascot “Ultras” in front of their redecorated surroundings
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Everiss, Scott, Bailey, Ellis, McCormack, Denton, Morgan (Nortey), Laflin (Thompson), August (Surpanu).