Grant nets to clip Robins’ wings
Ascot United edged into the Isuzu FA Vase Quarter Finals with a tense 1-0 win at Bridgwater United on Saturday. The game could have gone either way, but the visitors’ patience was rewarded when Harry Grant’s deflected late effort sent them into the last eight (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk).
The Yellamen, quarter finalists in 2013 and 2015, marched into Fairfax Park on a 21-game unbeaten run but were up against a side also vying for promotion to Step 4 from the Toolstation Western League, albeit their form had stuttered of late and were without several key players due to injury and suspension.
There was an eery quiet about the game early-on as, despite a sizeable crowd, both sides and their fans lay in wait.
And, it was fully eighteen minutes before the first meaningful chance – Usman Lalustani twice denied by home ‘keeper Jake Viney in quick succession before Brendan Matthew fired over the rebound – Sean McCormack the earlier provider.
At the other end chances were few and far between, although Jack Thorne should have done better in space from George King’s delivery midway through the half as the tension grew.
But changing ends at half time The Yellamen attacked the Yellow Wall – a hardy band of 40-or-so noisy travelling supporters sucking the ball into the net – and so it played out.
Matthew saw an early shot saved by Viney before Conor Hartley found the side-netting at the other end, but Ascot should have led when McCormack fired over on the overlap after Matthew had played him in.
But a side that has scored 101 goals before mid-February, and only failed to score in one of their 33 games would not be denied and – roared on by their noisy supporters – they finally made a telling break when Grant’s deflected effort wrong-footed Viney with thirteen minutes remaining following Jay Welch’s free kick, sparking delirium behind the goal.
Despite their being at least a quarter of an hour remaining The Yellamen then played out the game with calm and confidence and will now look forward to their eighth FA Vase tie of the season – still short of the ten they played enroute to the 2013 Quarter Finals – and if they are to match that they will need to go all the way.
But its back to business on Tuesday as Wallingford and Crowmarsh provide their Valentine’s Day date.
Ascot United: Ashdown, Lock, Gerrard, Ajanlekoko, A. Grant, Tucker, McCormack (Ellis 82’), H. Grant, Matthew, Lalustani (Mealing 82’), Welch (Gallimore 86’). Subs unused: Gray, Walters, Balogun, Bouwers