Heroic Yellawall hold on for 1-1 draw

Ollie Harris scored and was sent off as Ascot United drew 1-1 at Uxbridge on Boxing Day Tuesday. Playing more than forty-five minutes with ten men The Yellamen almost held on for a famous three points thanks mainly due to stand-in ‘keeper Luke Edgecombe’s heroics, but it was nonetheless a fine point on the road despite the hosts’ late leveller.

Reds back home but Yellamen familiar with surface

Eighth-placed Uxbridge hadn’t drawn at home and thirteenth-placed ascot hadn’t drawn on the road during the campaign so far, so the smart money was surely on three points. Both sides were looking to bounce back from defeats three days earlier, the only question at 3pm was who would prevail on Uxbridge’s newly-installed 3G surface; The Reds now back at Honeycroft after a recent revamp.

Landmark for long-serving Locky

The Yellamen’s George Lock came in in the second half to make his 240th appearance for Ascot, taking him joint-second with Chris Grace on the all-time appearance roster, whereas ‘keeper Hugo Sobte missed his first game having suffered concussion at the weekend; Edgecombe stepping up to fill his gloves.

Uxbridge’s squad included few familiar faces, although Shaun Preddie – who featured five times for Ascot in the ill-fated 2020/21 COVID-hit season – was on the bench for them.

Trend to be friend?

Ascot’s last six matches had seen them win and lose alternately in sequence – the trend would hopefully continue for The Yellas after Saturday’s last-gasp Chertsey defeat – and despite their numerical disadvantage it was certainly on up until the 87th minute.

The first half itself was a feisty affair and had Uxbridge brought their shooting boots they might have given Edgecombe more trouble than they actually did.

Early-on, Uxbridge’s George Moore almost converted Alex Witham’s deep cross only to volley wide, although Sean McCormack reminded the hosts of Ascot’s threat when he broke clear and almost broke the crossbar with a ferocious rising drive.

Reds continue to misfire as fiery Harris scores and sees red

Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Alex Witham then posed as Laurel and Hardy as they both comically failed to convert amid chaos in the Ascot box, and they were soon punished when Ascot took a 37th minute lead. This time, Ollie Lahtinen-Kalsi picked out Taylor Morgan on the left wing, and his precise low cross was exquisitely converted by Harris, who opened his body to side-foot fist-time into the bottom right.

Sadly, Harris would react to a foul late in the half, and although defender Luke Paris milked a shove in the back, Harris was shown a yellow card – adding to the one he had earlier received – and that left Ascot with over 45 minutes to play a man down.

Ascot have the Edge – in goal!

The Yellamen knew the second half would be hard – and indeed it was – but they defended magnificently in the face of adversity.

Lahtinen-Kalsi cleared Williams’s cross from under his own bar before the hosts then struck the woodwork, and Edgecombe would then get down well to deny Williams again.

Paris then threaded Williams in only for Edgecombe to read the pass well – racing from his line to clear – before Murrell Williamson slid onto Moore’s deep cross but was inches away from connecting.

Incredibly, the Yellamen could – and should – have scored just after the hour mark in a rare foray forwards, only for McCormack to scuff his effort from two yards out; Morgan once again involved in the build up in setting up Harry Grant’s cross.

But Uxbridge turned the screw again and Edgecombe produced a simply stunning save in the 78th minute, somehow reacting to turn Williams’s first-time strike over the bar from Murrell-Williamson’s cross.

But just as it looked as if the Yellamen might nick all three points, Williams couldn’t miss a close range header three minutes from time and the scores were level – although there would still be ten further minutes to survive.

Edgecombe again denied Princewill Ogunmekan one-on-one when he skipped clear but incredibly the last laugh almost bestowed upon Ascot, who won a free kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time – McCormack swung it over – and Alfie Grant saw his far post effort deflect agonisingly wide as the smattering of fans behind the goal stood in breathless expectation.

But Ascot would have probably taken a point at the start of the half, and their 30-or-so travelling fans duly recognized that at the final whistle.

What’s next for Ascot?

There is no let-up in the toughness of fixtures as Ascot United travel to promotion hopefuls Leatherhead on Saturday; their final match of an incredible 2023.

Ascot United: Edgecombe, Lahtinen-Kalsi (Lock 68’), A. Grant, Edwards, Bailey, McCormack, T. Morgan (Balogun 80’), H. Grant, Welch (Ellis 87’), Goulter, O. Harris. Subs unused: C. Morgan, Laflin

Entertainment: 4

Reporter’s Star Man: Luke Edgecombe (Ascot United)

Away fans (estimate): 30




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