LEATHERHEAD EDGE ASCOT 1-0

#WeAreAscot.


Dominant Tanners record double over Yellamen

Ascot United rounded off an exceptional 2023 with a 1-0 defeat at promotion-chasing Leatherhead on Saturday. The Yellamen, who are still adjusting to life at step-four after their double-winning campaign last season, rarely threatened and were undone early in the second half but might have nicked an unlikely point but for the width of the crossbar.

Tanners provide stiff test as reverse fixtures commence

Leatherhead provided the first reverse fixture of the campaign and gave Ascot an opportunity to avenge a 1-0 defeat at The Racecourse in September. The Yellamen would also take heart from the fact that the home side’s form at Fetcham Grove – 18 points from 10 games – was inferior to their near perfect away record – 21 from 8; the real question was could they breach the league’s meanest defence. Manager Jamie Tompkins made one change to the side that drew with Uxbridge on Boxing Day – Charlie Morgan in for Harry Grant – whilst Luke Edgecombe continued in goal in place of Hugo Sobte, who continues to recover from concussion.

Leatherhead boss possession but Ascot stay in the hunt

The home side enjoyed around three quarters of the possession in the first half but a combination of wayward finishing and resolute Ascot defending ensured the half ended goalless.

In an eerily subdued atmosphere, Tyler Cox shot wastefully over, Daniel Hector fired high and wide and Fabio Saraina curled wide of the top left; Ascot unable to mount any sustained spell of pressure of their own at the other end.

Defender Jamie Splatt then fired straight down the throat of Edgecombe at the 2nd bite of the cherry following a rebound and Thomas Stage’s cross-shot squirmed across the six-yard box and out for a corner, but The Yellamen held on.

And, their sixty-or-so travelling supporters found their voices as their side forced their first corner in the 36th minute – which ultimately came to nothing – before both Saraina from distance and then Stage threatened again for Leatherhead before half time; the latter drawing an unconventional yet effective save from Edgecombe to retain parity as the sides changed ends.

Ascot pay price for conceding early – but threaten late on

Edgecombe produced a brilliant save to deny Hector soon after the restart, but he would be beaten in the 48th minute when defender Michael Elechi’s left-wing cross deflected up and over to the right of goal where Splatt was on hand to volley home from a narrow angle.

Hector’s shot deflected wide and Edgecombe tipped Stage’s effort around a post as Leatherhead pushed for a second goal, but in a rare foray forwards Ascot came within a crossbar of equalising when substitute Chris Ellis – on as a striker – picked out Alfie Grant with a long throw-in and his back-header looped onto the top of the woodwork; twenty minutes to go and a glimmer of hope.

But Tyler Cox came agonisingly close to making the game safe with a shot which took two wicked deflections en-route to adding to the hosts’ double-digit corner count – Leatherhead somehow failing to add to their slender lead – although as the game ebbed away Ascot’s Chad Goulter would flash a free header wide from McCormack’s corner wide; had he found the net it would have been the ultimate smash-and-grab point.

But as it was, one point on Boxing Day was all The Yellamen could take from their three festive fixtures so far.

This was the biggest crowd Ascot had played in front of this season – 486 – and since they won the FA Vase at Wembley in front of almost 20,000 back in May, and whilst the curtain will shortly come down on this calendar year, that golden moment in 2023 will remain an enduring memory for the Yellow and blue faithful into 2024 and beyond.

What’s next for Ascot?

Two days off and an evening New Year’s Day fixture kickstarts the first of three home matches for Ascot United, beginning with Badshot Lea.

Ascot United: Edgecombe, Lahtinen-Kalsi, A. Grant, Edwards, Bailey, McCormack, T. Morgan, C. Morgan (Lock 64’), Welch (Balogun 78’), Goulter, O. Harris (Ellis 64’).

Entertainment: 3

Reporter’s Star Man: Jamie Splatt (Leatherhead)

Away fans (estimate): 60

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