August is the saint just as game peters out
Battle-worn Ascot United warmed up for their FA Vase Semi Final on Saturday with a narrow 1-0 win against Chalfont St Peter on Tuesday evening. After battering their hosts and forcing countless corners, it was substitute Keaton August who popped up three minutes from the end of normal time to score the decisive solitary goal.
The Yellamen, beaten just once in 33 games over almost six months, were strong favourites against a Chalfont side dicing with the prospect of relegation and looking to end a four-game losing streak.
But the home side frustrated The Yellamen in a one-sided first half where Ascot’s corner-count already approached double figures, although they couldn’t find the net.
Chris Ellis’s early volley deflected wide and Harry Tucker’s header went straight at home ‘keeper George Zammit.
Zammit then saved well low-down from an Ellis throw-in although The Saints had a sight of goal when Adam Roberts fired wide from distance after Jordan Ajanlekoko had earlier put Ascot team-mate Sean McCormack under too much pressure.
Zammit did well again at the feet of Usman Lalustani eight minutes before the interval but it remained goalless.
Ascot were forced to make all five substitutes in a worrying second half after the already-injured Brendan Matthew, Dan Bailey and Alfie Grant had failed to start the game, and after further injury woes the travelling faithful were left wondering what sort of side they will be able to field at Corsham.
But the league remains their top priority and their patched-up ranks dug deep; substitute Harry Laflin’s flick-header was somehow clawed off the line by the impressive Zammit.
Ellis then struck the crossbar from Jordan Ajanlekoko’s 85th-minute flick-on as the pressure mounted, before the crucial strike late-on when August deceived Zammit with his quick feet and rolled home, much to the delight of the 20-or-so traveling fans.
Ten times that number are expected to make the trip to Wiltshire on Saturday, but some of them may need to take their boots unless the treatment table is kind to their heroes.
But it was another good night for their title prospects as fellow challengers Reading City dropped further points.