Yellawomen beaten 4-1 despite impressive display
Championship side Reading FC’s Under 23 side fought back from a goal down to run out 4-1 winners in the Berks and Bucks County Cup against Ascot United on Sunday. Trailing 1-0 to Amelia Kimble’s early goal, The Royals scored quickly either side of half-time before going on to add gloss and book their place in the next round.
Familiar opposition despite three-tier gap
Impressively, eight players from Ascot United’s Junior Premier League squad featured – Kate Fox, Erin Huntley, Ailsa Sheppard and Kimble lining up for the home side – whereas Ellie Manners, Becky Tinnelly, Sofia Lacey and Poppy Airey were also cleared to play for Reading.
Spittle in fine form to thwart Reading
Reading were predictably dangerous and livewire Lucy Powis was unlucky to see her lobbed effort cannon back of the inside of the right-hand post after just seven minutes. But, after that, home ‘keeper Nicole Spittle was in fine form to keep Reading at bay, racing from her line in the tenth minute to bravely save at Powis’s feet before making an even better save in the 43rd minute by saving at the feet of Powis who looked odds-on to score when racing onto Airey’s ball over the top.
Skinner in the game as Ascot press hard
But the Yellawomen had their fair share of chances, and much of their creativity came through the feet of Tiff Skinner, who was involved in Ascot’s opener. With fifteen minutes on the clock, Philippa Holden led her side’s press and regained possession for Skinner, who threaded a delightful ball through for Kimble, and she hammered a low right footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner.
Skinner and Dom Carrington then linked up for substitute Sarah Leonard in space, although she could only fire wide, before Skinner picked out Leonard again in the 34th minute, although the resultant shot lacked pace to trouble visiting ‘keeper Lauren Reeves.
And just as it looked as if the home side would take a deserved lead into the break, The Royals struck in first-half injury time when Stevie Kennedy spun on a right-wing cross and finished past Spittle from close range; 1-1 as the sides changed ends.
Crucial early goal crucial leaves Ascot chasing game
Just as they had struck late in the first half, the visitors then scored early in the second when Airey hammered a long range free-kick into the roof of the net with just three minutes on the clock.
But Ascot would create plenty of chances; Laura Spark couldn’t get enough on Georgia Luckhurst-McCord’s header back across the area in the 55th minute, Leonard’s cute backheel then set-up Kimble to fire wide after Holden had set Leonard clear four minutes later, but it was Carrington’s effort that bounced twice on the roof of the crossbar before being scrambled clear that was more agonising than all that had gone before.
But Spittle was soon in action again with a smart save down to her right before Airey’s header from the resultant corner flew over, although the third goal arrived in the 75th minute when another Ascot JPL player, Tinnelly, thumped home unmarked at the far post.
Luckhurst-McCord’s late brace of chances for Ascot almost set up a grandstand finale although her first effort, a volley, was well-saved by Reeves before she clipped over after good work by Leonard as the ninety minute mark ticked by.
However, Reading had the last word when Tia Johnson fired into the bottom right hand corner from distance to add a flattering fourth.
What’s next for Ascot?
The Yellawomen finally get a road-trip after a seemingly endless run of home games when they travel to Eastleigh next weekend.
Ascot United: Spittle, Luckhurst-McCord, Huntley, Spark, Todd, Fox, Holden, Carrington, Kimble, Skinner, Richardson-Taylor. Subs (rolling): Killick-Bird, Sheppard, Yewings, Vince, Leonard
Reporter’s Star Player: Lucy Powis (Reading). Hugely impressive fifteen year old striker, looked dangerous every time she had the ball and showed great maturity.
Attendance (estimate): 100