LIAM’S SPOT-ON AS ASCOT BEAT CHIPSTEAD

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Tack’s penalty enough for Yellamen

Liam Tack’s first half penalty was enough for Ascot United as they edged out Chipstead on Saturday. Tack’s effort, awarded after a foul on George Lock, was the highlight of an otherwise stale first half before a second period littered with chances.

All change please! Team and trend on the agenda

Both sides were looking for an upturn in form with Ascot and Chipstead’s last six games yielding five and two points respectively. And, much had changed in the hosts’ squad since their reverse-fixture defeat in October – Sobte, Case, Killeen, Matthew, Ajanlekoko, Surpanu, Welch and Balogun having all since departed – but with Ben Harris, Liam Tack, Mark Scott, and Taylor Morgan recruited alongside matchday new-boys Ewan Lynch and Ollie Mason.

Before kick-off, defender Lock received an award for reaching 250 appearances one week earlier (pictured, shooting-stars.co.uk), although Usman Lalustani’s 100th appearance went on ice for at least another two weeks after illness ruled him out of the matchday squad.

Double injury blow for hosts but Chips pay the penalty

The first half was largely uneventful other than a late catalogue of errors that led to Ascot’s half time lead, although the visitors almost scored in the sixth minute when Mark Scott tipped Danyaal Iqbaal’s rising effort over after a fine, driving run from Daniel Berry who rode his way through a handful of attempted challenges.

At the other end the Yellamen failed to forge a clear opportunity of their own, and were forced to reshuffle when Sean McCormack hobbled off midway through the half holding his hamstring – adding to Harry Laflin who pulled up in the warm-up in similar circumstances – although substitute Lynch got his moment as a result.

And, it was Lynch’s cross that led to Ascot’s opener, although in fairness it was poor – although so was Bradley Wilson’s awful attempted clearance – but defender Alfie Young eclipsed that with a poor challenge on Lock for a stonewall penalty. Up stepped Tack, and he netted the spot-kick into the bottom left; 35 minutes played and that is how it remained at half-time.

Yellas should have sewn it up before Chips rally late-on

Nine minutes into the second half, visiting ‘keeper Harrison made a fine double save to keep his side in it, firstly blocking Harry Grant’s shot after Morgan had dug out an inviting left-wing cross that Firth had initially cut out, before Ollie Harris saw his first effort from the rebound blocked and a follow-up also saved by Firth.

At the other end, defender Daniel Vaughan’s wayward header from a corner went begging, although his side showed more intent in the final fifteen minutes as Berry wriggled through a couple of challenges before firing over and Scott saved smartly from the same player after Wilson had played him in.

In between those chances Ascot threatened again from an unlikely source – the left boot of Chris Ellis – but he did well to fashion a left-footed effort from a tight angle that Firth dealt with.

The excellent Ben Harris lasted 75 minutes in an end-to-end display – backing up a powerful attacking display with defensive work in his own penalty area – before Dan Bailey replaced the man-of-the-match.

After that, Chipstead wasted their best chance in the 89th minute when substitute Jacob Sewell somehow scooped his effort over the crossbar at the far post after Berry’s deep cross had picked him out, although in seven minutes of added time there was still time for the two sides to trade more chances as Morgan’s shot nicked off a defender and over for an Ascot corner before Ollie Lahtinen-Kalsi’s brave intervention deep into stoppage time thwarted one last throw of the Chips’ dice.

Ascot United: Scott, Lock, Lahtinen-Kalsi, Tack, Ellis, Tucker, McCormack (Lynch 21’), H. Grant, B. Harris (Bailey 75’), O. Harris (Mason 90+1’), T. Morgan. Sub unused: Sykes

Entertainment: 3

Reporter’s Star Man: Ben Harris (Ascot United)

Away fans (estimate): 15

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