Yellamen kickstart year with 3-1 win

Ascot United kicked off 2024 at The Racecourse with a dominant 3-1 win over Badshot Lea on New Years’ Day. The Yellamen were rewarded for their relentless pressing to record a league double over the visitors, who faded badly in the onslaught.  

Late kick off tempts neutrals amid heavy rain

The match was moved back to an unusual evening kick-off for New Year’s day, tempting the floating spectator but equally dissuading those who watched the late afternoon rain set in to foster a miserable, damp evening in Berkshire. Earlier in the day, Met Police, Chipstead and Guernsey had all picked up points, but The Yellamen were still where they were before the Christmas fixtures began – thirteenth – albeit on goal difference from three other teams.

Ascot enjoy more chances but pegged back by half time

With most supporters seeking what little cover was on offer, the home side took a sixteenth minute lead with a goal out of the top drawer. The move started with Sam Balogun, who hassled and hustled possession back in midfield before picking out Ollie Harris. Harris fashioned space for a thunderous strike which Harry Cawdron beat away, although Jay Welch’s equally powerful shot from the corner of the penalty area flew into the top left hand corner.

Cawdron tipped another effort from Welch over (pictured, and then made a scrambling save from Alfie Grant’s header, but in between those efforts the visitors levelled the scores when Callum Wiltshire and Kareen Akinibbi combined in the wake of Welch losing possession; Josh Keeya let rip from distance with a curling effort into the top right just after the half-hour mark.

Akinibbi outmuscled Josh Edwards five minutes before the break but with a clear sight of goal could only fire wide, and one-all it remained.

Chad’s the lad as Baggies turn bad

The Yellamen were a constant threat to the visitors even out of possession, and their relentless pressing would soon pay dividends. Chad Goulter epitomised much of that, and he would kickstart the move that led to Ascot regaining the lead six minutes after the restart. This time, new signing James Clark received Goulter’s pass, sprayed the ball out wide to McCormack, and after darting forwards he thumped in a wicked cross that Harris glanced home first-time.

Things got better for the hosts in the 68th minute when The Baggies only half cleared a corner, and although they scored in the recycled play when defender George Hedley turned McCormack’s cross into his own net under pressure from Clark, the goal owed much to the earlier touch of Welch, who picked out McCormack with a sublime pass on the volley that cut the visitors apart.

From that moment, Badshot Lea fell apart. Devoid of ideas and defending haplessly they lacked any cohesion – Ascot taking much credit for their incessant pressure – although Steven Sylla and Keeya once again might have done better with late, late long range efforts that were off target, and Luke Edgecombe was finally able to enjoy a less stressful evening between the sticks.

The hard-tacking hosts received a flurry of bookings for their efforts, but they were both well worth it and well-managed as manager Jamie Tompkins used all three substitutes to good effect in the closing twenty minutes.

What’s next for Ascot?

Thatcham Town are the visitors next Saturday as the league programme and quest for points continues.

Ascot United: Edgecombe, Lock, Ellis, A. Grant, Edwards, McCormack, Clark (Lahtinen-Kalsi 85’), Goulter, Welch, Balogun (C. Morgan 70’), Harris (Lalustani 79’). Subs unused: H. Grant, Phillips,

Entertainment: 4

Reporter’s Star Man: Chad Goulter (Ascot United)

Away fans (estimate): 20




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