|Berks and Bucks FA Men's Senior Cup
ASCOT STUN DIDCOT TO MAKE COUNTY CUP SEMIS
Yellamen win 3-1 in the battle of the Jamies
Ascot United produced a stunning display to beat Didcot Town 3-1 and keep their Berks and Bucks Senior Trophy dream alive on Tuesday evening. After traversing four rounds to make it to the Quarter Finals, Jamie Tompkins’ side outclassed Jamie Heapy’s higher-ranked opposition to book a potentially lucrative semi-final spot.
The Yellamen arrived in Oxfordshire on the back of a six-game winning streak, but having not played since 5th February and facing up to life without 29-goal top scorer Harry Laflin – recently signed by Guildford City – the travelling faithful know their side would need to pull out the stops to topple another step-four outfit.
Didcot came into the game with patchy home form and off the back of a weekend defeat, and they were fortunate to be only one-nil down at the break after a dominant Ascot performance that once again belied their status.
Tom Scott’s thunderbolt stung home ‘keeper Leigh Bedwell’s palms early-on and Taylor Morgan’s flick into the net was rightfully chalked off for offside soon after, but Ascot’s intent was a sign of things to come and Scott would continue to be the visitors’ engine room.
There were, however, anxious moments for the visitors when Jamar Smith volleyed wide for Didcot before the same player headed narrowly over in the ensuing action; George Lock bravely colliding with the crossbar as he shepherded Smith’s effort over.
But Bedwell would save his side when Keaton August struck from a tight angle before Morgan’s follow-up was deflected wide, although Morgan would rifle home soon after to make it 1-0 on the half-hour mark after Didcot had attempted to play their way out from the back and been dispossessed.
Ascot ‘keeper Sam Gray saved smartly from Noah Alabi and Joe Green’s free kick sailed just wide as the home side briefly rallied before the break, albeit either side of another chance for the high-pressing Yellamen when Duarte Surpanu’s flashing volley narrowly missed from Morgan’s lay-off.
There would be no let-up in the visitors’ workrate in the second-half and Morgan doubled his side’s advantage with an exquisite 52nd minute finish. This time, Adam Everiss was superb in the preceding play as Ascot won their midfield battle, and when Morgan was set clear he checked back onto his right before curling past Bedwell from the edge of the area.
Morgan might have had a hat-trick only for Bedwell to stand up well and deny him when clean through in the 65th minute, and the incredible onslaught continued when substitute James Richardson almost made an impact seconds after coming on when his shot was tipped agonisingly wide by Bedwell; 73 minutes played.
At the other end, defender Joe Green was pushed forwards into a makeshift attacking role and should have nodded home at the far post in the 81st minute, but the hosts’ attacking move created gaps in the their defence and when Richardson raced clear in the 90th minute there was only one thing on his mind – not the corner flag – but a precise left-wing cross which Sean McCormack slotted home first-time from inside the six-yard box.
Defender Michael McKirnan scored a brilliant stoppage time free kick for the home side, but it was otherwise a desperately poor performance from them.
But take nothing away from cup kings Ascot who have now seen off both Thatcham and Didcot on two occasions in recent seasons – their seventh consecutive victory was thoroughly deserved.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Everiss, Merrick, Bailey, Ellis, McCormack, Scott, Morgan (Bouwers), August (Richardson), Surpanu (Masters). Subs unused: Sykes, Nortey