Ascot United huffed and puffed but failed to blow Camberley Town’s house down as they lost 1-0 to a solitary second half penalty in Tuesday night’s local derby. A disjointed performance yielded little on a frustrating evening for the travelling faithful, who watched on as their side threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Camberley at the closing stages, albeit to no avail.
|08/09/2020||19:45||Combined Counties - Premier||2020-2021|
|Krooner Park, Old Dean, Surrey Heath, Surrey, South East, England, United Kingdom|
Camberley cling on to sink misfiring Ascot 1-0
On paper, Ascot went into the game as favourites after their 7-1 opening day mauling of Molesey whereas the home side slumped to a 2-1 reverse at Raynes Park Vale. However, local derbies are often great levellers, and the two sides have traded bragging rights in recent cup exploits whilst sharing five goals in last season’s tightly contested league outing at The Racecourse.
This was the first league visit to Krooner Park for the Yellamen having lost last season’s fixture to lockdown, and the first half was a totally forgettable affair where the ball spent too much time in the air and quality was at a premium.
However, Camberley would be the happier of the two sides at the break and only the sharp reflexes of Sam Gray would keep them out as he made a couple of strong saves before Ascot finally mustered an opportunity of their own.
Gray was at full stretch to palm Alfie Gibbons’ third minute free kick over but his save in the eleventh minute was even better as he got down low to turn Carlo Santoro’s shot away after Sam Hutchings, Antonio Dembele and Mark Jordan had linked up well to fashion the chance.
Ascot youngster Sam Evans, starting at left back for the first time, made a fine block to charge down Jordan’s shot midway through the half before Ascot finally created a couple of half chances. Firstly, Ben Hodges skied his effort went unmarked after George Lock had overlapped Riccardo Andrady to deliver a right wing cross – 37 minutes played – before Aiden Higgs would get contact on another teasing cross from Lock, albeit he ran out of pitch and his effort at stretch went wide two minutes before the break.
The second half could not have been any worse than its predecessor, and for the neutral it was an entertaining affair as Camberley defended resolutely, backed up by the heroics of ‘keeper Jordi Wilson, who produced a number of fine saves to thwart Ascot.
However, it was Camberley who threatened first and it was the telling moment of the game when Dembele was softly fouled just inside the penalty area; Jordan duly converting into the bottom right for what proved a 49th minute winner.
Dembele would race clear in the 52nd minute and round Gray, but the angle proved too tight and his chance to double Camberley’s lead disappeared.
But after that it was Ascot who created most of the chances. Andrady’s shot was deflected wide and had Louis Bouwers’ header from the resultant corner been either side of Wilson – whose body he struck – it would surely have been one-all.
Laflin was then denied by Wilson’s sprawling save in the 64th minute when Laflin looked odds-on to squeeze the ball home at the far post, before his 77th minute free header glanced agonisingly wide after Dan Bailey had nodded back across the box.
But Camberley still posed a threat and Santoro raced clear only to see his thunderous shot blocked by Gray, although quite how he missed an open goal from the rebound only he will ever know.
That chance arrived in the 84th minute – but there would still be 12 further minutes of action for Ascot to salvage something – which they almost did.
Progressively throwing more players forward – Bouwers remaining up top as a makeshift striker – they asked repeated questions of the hosts, but it was from the final play of the game that their best chance came in the 96th minute. Gray pushed up for a corner, substitute Jonny Denton swung it in, and Laflin met the ball from close range with a header that Wilson saved and gleefully smothered; once again anywhere else and it was surely a leveller.
But it wasn’t to be, and the Yellamen will regroup for their homecoming against Colliers Wood on Saturday.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock (Denton 62’), Evans, Carey, Bouwers, Bailey, Andrady, Hodges (Ferguson 46’), Davies (Richardson 66’), Laflin, Higgs. Sub unused: Sankoh