Royalists win 3-1 against walking wounded
Ascot United were beaten 3-1 at Windsor FC on Saturday as three more players hobbled off leaving physio Chad Smith looking for extra treatment tables. In truth the hosts were well worth their win – easing the pressure on home manager Mark Cooper – who has for once been knocked off Top of the Crocks after his vocals had earnt his own lengthy stay at the top.
All the recent form would suggest an Ascot win. The hosts, reeling from a succession of poor results and with manager Cooper under increasing pressure, faced an Ascot side on a six-game winning sequence and who had won their last five matches against The Royalists – a run stretching back to Boxing Day 2017.
But local derbies are unpredictable, and the home side would fully deserve a two-nil half-time that could have been more had it not been for ‘keeper Sam Gray.
Gray could do nothing about Windsor’s 11th minute opener – a rasping close-range volley into the roof of the net from Lindell Stewart from Eric Sowolona’s right-wing cross.
Gray was then at full stretch to tip Stewart’s effort over the bar after he had side-stepped onto his right foot from a short corner routine, but Ascot should have levelled immediately only for Harry Laflin to shoot straight at Sam Butcher first-time after Adam Everiss had put the ball on a plate for him.
Just before that Taylor Morgan hobbled off with a groin injury for Ascot, who left themselves a mountain to climb in the second half.
James Harper’s diving header from another Everiss cross was also straight at Butcher as Ascot briefly threatened, but Windsor finished the half strongly as Excellence Muhemba’s shot on the turn left Gray rooted as it fizzed past a post before Danny Horscroft reacted quickly from Gray’s save to tap home a second goal in the 37th minute (pictured scoring, shooting-stars.co.uk).
Gray was at it again six minutes after the restart – rescuing Sam Evans who had allowed Muhemba to escape his attentions – by standing up to deny him when one-on-one.
But the game was all-but-over just after the hour mark when Sowolona smacked home a left-wing cross first-time to make it three-nil.
Everiss would immediately cut the deficit to 3-1 with a well-taken prod under Butcher – just reward for his marauding runs forward – but after that it was a tale of woe for Jamie Tompkins’ side.
Firstly, Chris Ellis would hobble off – and then earlier substitute Denis Nortey followed suit – before Laflin’s day ended with a clattering on the ankle that left him virtually immobile for the final couple of minutes. Laflin had earlier seen his side’s final chance go begging with a header over the bar from George Lock’s cross, but it was otherwise a day to forget.
The Yellamen will now look to regroup and recoup ahead of next week’s potential banana skin FA vase tie at Wallingford.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Everiss, Harper, Evans, Ellis, McCormack, Denton, Morgan (Nortey (Graham)), Laflin, Ferguson (Hamid). Sub unused: Thompson