HILLTOP BEAT ASCOT TO END LEADERS’ RUN

#WeAreAscot.

Hosts capitalize on slip-up on night to forget for Yellamen.

Ascot United lost 1-0 at Hilltop in an unpalatable Tuesday evening in Hillingdon. Surrendering their long unbeaten run, the Yellamen failed to bring their A-game, although a controversially overturned late penalty was one of several factors going against them against an in-form side who took their chance.

Seeking to at least extend their 26-game unbeaten streak, The Yellamen faced an in-form Hilltop side coming into the game with four wins on the bounce, undefeated at home since October and having taken points off both Reading City and Egham Town in recent weeks.

In an ugly first half on a horrible playing surface, Hilltop briefly threatened from the kick off, although after weathering a couple of corners Ascot went on the attack and had two good early chances as Sean McCormack fired wide after a defensive error and Brendan Matthew’s far-post header was cleared off the line by defender Sharmade Ali.

At the other end Rhys Forster raced from his area to avert danger midway through the half, Michael Panford then almost connected with Jibril Mahdi’s centre in the 27th minute and Hussein Mahdi fired a free kick around the wall but wide of the target when well-placed just before the break; 0-0 a fair reflection of a poor spectacle.

The Yellamen started the second half brightly and Matthew might have done better at the far post when he swivelled and struck over after Jordan Ajanlekoko and Mealing had combined to turn Sean McCormack’s free-kick back across the area.

But moments later, Forster slipped as he took a goal kick, scuffing the ball to Mahdi, and he was able to take a few touches before finding the net.

Ascot used all five substitutes within a six-minute window after the hour mark, although Hilltop remained resolute at the back – even surviving striker Panford’s 66th-minute sin-bin – but the real drama was to follow.

Home ‘keeper Victor Telles Mirand made a fine saw to claw Harry Grant’s header away from Usman Lalustani’s 75th minute cross, although that was the last meaningful football action of the night; cue a debacle.

Firstly, both benches were involved in a discussion over a missing match ball – sparking seven minutes of handbags and bookings for the hosts’ bench – referee Adriana Bucur with the extensive lectures, and even the home players began scuffling amongst themselves.

With ninety minutes played therewas still at least nine – possibly twelve – added minutes to play when also considering the substitutions and lengthy treatment to Forster in the wake of his earlier slip, and in the sixth minute of them Bucur rightly awarded Ascot a penalty when Keaton August rounded Mirand and was pulled down. However, in the face of home remonstrations, the referee consulted with her assistant and the spot-kick was revoked.

Incredibly, just moments later the final whistle sounded – cutting the game short.

But it is nights like these that are best quickly forgotten; one can only do what is in one’s own control.

Ascot United: Forster, Gerrard (Gray 64’), Bouwers, Ajanlekoko (Walters 70’), A. Grant, Bailey (Lock 64’), Welch, McCormack, H. Grant, Mealing (Lalustani 64’), Matthew (August 70’).

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