|31/08/2021||19:45||Combined Counties - Premier North Division|
|Wokingham & Emmbrook|
|ESSC, Lowther Road, Wokingham RG41 1JB|
LAFLIN’S DOUBLE SINKS SATSUMAS
Harry hits another two as Ascot beat Wokingham 2-1
Ascot United stumbled their way to three points on Tuesday evening with a 2-1 win over battling Wokingham and Emmbrook. Leading two-nil courtesy of top-scorer Harry Laflin’s brace and in complete control, the Yellamen put themselves under pressure by conceding a needless second half penalty, although their shot-shy hosts could not muster an unlikely leveller.
The hosts, playing their first home league game at this level since 2016, welcomed a decent-sized crowd to Lowther road, boosted by a combination of free entry for club-shirt-wearing kids and a match deferred one-day from the regular Bank Holiday Monday program.
And, The Sumas would look to harness that support after the three league defeats on the road. However, Ascot were themselves looking for points in the first ‘A329 derby’ at step five since 15/16.
But the watching fans witnessed a somewhat tepid affair, with Ascot taking a slender half time lead after bossing possession in a first half-devoid of many chances.
Wokingham’s only chance arrive first – a low shot from defender Dan Carter that deflected wide in the fourteenth minute – before Ian Davies hit the woodwork at the other end after Sean Woodward had scrambled his header onto the post following Keaton August’s delivery from Jonny Denton’s earlier corner.
Eventually the visitors’ possession would pay off just before half time. Laflin had almost turned provider shortly before, only for August to fire over from Denton’s cross in the best move of the half, but he got on the scoresheet when he headed home from virtually under the crossbar when he rose highest to meet Chris Ellis’s long throw-in four minutes before the break.
After a lacklustre first half it came as a surprise when Keaton August almost iced a fine move straight from the restart, although his shot was well saved by Woodward when clean through.
But August’s cross would lead to Laflin’s second just before the hour mark, and although there was work to do from the lively forward’s right-wing cross, Laflin hooked a delicious volley over Woodward from just inside the area.
From that point it should have been plain sailing, but after Ellis had hobbled off injured leaving eventual replacement Calum Ferguson waiting in the wings, the hosts capitalized on their momentary numerical advantage when Josh Masters needlessly clattered Josh Harris – who was going nowhere – in the box. Up stepped Jake White – Sam Gray guessed correctly and saved – but White buried the rebound to reduce the arrears.
The rest of the game was equally frustrating for both sides. The hosts were woefully short of ideas as their fans attempted to rally them from the sidelines, whereas a disjointed Ascot never really looked like conceding another as much as they never really looked like scoring at the other end.
But three points is never to be sniffed at and winning ugly is ok. A much sterner test now lies ahead at Hythe Town as the FA Cup bandwagon rolls into Kent this Saturday.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Masters, Laflin, Bailey, Ellis (Ferguson 62’), McCormack, Denton, Davies, August, Surpanu (Graham 84’). Subs unused: Sykes, Bouwers