Heathens return to haunt Yellamen with 2-1 win
Flackwell Heath took their chances to end Ascot United’s perfect start to their league campaign with a 2-1 win at The Racecourse on Tuesday evening. The hosts hit the woodwork three times and squandered numerous other chances as the Heathens converted both of their clear-cut opportunities either side of a Marcus Mealing penalty.
The two sides were meeting eight days after the Heathens’ 2-0 win over Ascot in the County Cup, although the Yellamen had shuffled their pack on that occasion and reverted to a more familiar starting line-up in a bid to extend their winning start to their league campaign.
As it turned out, the home side were left chasing another game at half time when Flackwell’s only real chance yielded a 29th minute goal; James Mansfield and Jack Shakespeare linking up for ex-Yellamen Duarte Surpanu to cross from the right wing – the ball sailing across Ascot’s back-line – and defender James Keeley’s advanced position paid dividends as he slotted home.
Earlier, Mealing had a sight of goal for Ascot but shot straight down Cairo Richards’s throat, but they might have levelled via one of their other two golden chances only for Richards to make a brilliant sprawling save to deny Brendan Matthew what looked like a clear goal from close range after he ghosted onto Ollie Harris’s first-time cross.
And, they came even closer to a leveller in the 37th minute only for Harry Grant’s thunderbolt to take a deflection and cannon back off an upright; but it was The Heathens who remained in the box seat at half-time.
But following a mad sixty seconds early in the second half, the Yellamen found themselves level. Jordan Ajanlekoko’s goal-bound effort was blocked, the visitors broke and Jamie Ashdown made a fine save, before Ascot countered immediately and Matthew was felled by Richards in the penalty area; the resultant spot-kick tucked away by Mealing.
The impetus was with Ascot, although Shakespeare put the brakes on their recovery when his snap-shot found the bottom right hand corner after 62 minutes to restore Flackwell’s advantage with what proved to be the winner.
After that, Mealing and Matthew both had good shouts for another spot kick, Dan Bailey was disappointed to head wide from a corner and substitute Keaton August’s half-volley on the turn smashed back off the bar as Ascot laid siege, but there was still time for a final head-in-hands moment when Matthew’s volley on the turn from Usman Lalustani’s cross cannoned back off the woodwork for the third time.
As it was, Flackwell held on for the three points that they earnt for their muscle, as opposed to the proverbial boxing scorecard.
Ascot United: Ashdown, Lock (Lalustani), Masters (Gray), Ajanlekoko (Walters), Bailey, Tucker, McCormack, Grant, Mealing, Matthew, Harris (August). Sub unused: Bouwers