Tuesday night replay teed up after clash ends 1-1
Ascot United and Risborough Rangers will do it all again on Tuesday evening after a tense one-all draw in the Emirates FA Cup draw at the B.E.P. stadium on Saturday afternoon. Despite playing 85 minutes with ten men following the early dismissal of Davis Haule, Rangers constantly thwarted Ascot and almost won it late-on after earlier fighting back from a goal down.
Both sides had won an extra-preliminary round tie to set up what was a mouth-watering clash on paper. Rangers were unbeaten in league matches since early 2019 – leading to promotion to join Ascot at step five for this season – and Ascot arrived off the back of a front-footed 5-1 thumping of Tadley during prior midweek.
And, it was not difficult to see why the home side had made themselves hard to beat. Excellent defending, backed up by man-mountain ‘keeper Jack Brooker – who was only beaten by Harry Laflin’s second half penalty – earned the Buckinghamshire side a well deserved second bite of the cherry.
The game was only five minutes old when Haule was ordered off for a high-footed challenge on Sean McCormack and, although the letter of the law was applied, the home side were aggrieved in such early stages of a full-blooded cup tie.
From that moment Ascot should have seized control, but whilst threatening to do that for long spells of the first half, they never really put Rangers to the sword in a frustrating display.
Laflin should have opened the scoring in the fourteenth minute, ghosting onto Jonny Denton’s inviting free kick, but he planted a free header wide with Brooker rooted to his spot.
Tom Scott, once again excellent in midfield, then dragged a shot wide after Taylor Morgan’s cross had been punched clear by Brooker under pressure from Ian Davies, but the hosts served notice when the other half of the Haule brothers still on the pitch – striker Brian – header agonisingly wide shortly after the half-hour mark.
But Ascot should have gone into the break ahead only for George Lock to blaze over after Morgan’s shot was saved, before Davies completely missed a side-footed chance and McCormack’s header sailed wide on the stroke of half time.
Kicking down the slope, Rangers almost punished Ascot early in the second half, although Haule could only shoot straight at Sam Gray after Chris Ellis had played ping-pong between his own feet and lost possession.
But, just after Morgan had seen a shot saved, it was his dangerous cross that struck the arm of defender Berti Squire-Adams in the 57th minute, paving the way for Laflin to hammer a fine spot-kick high into the top right (pictured scoring, shooting-stars.co.uk); although Brooker’s huge frame still enabled him to get fingertips to the ball on its way in.
However, only moments after a celebratory sigh of relief, The Yellamen switched off from a corner and Haule was on hand to plant a firm header past Gray and level the tie.
Incredibly, defender Joel Read’s audacious 50-yard free kick almost caught out the back-pedalling Gray, who tipped the effort over the bar, before substitute Keaton August almost made an immediate impact for Ascot at the other end only to scoop a first-time effort wide from McCormack’s cross midway through the half.
But it was the home side who looked more dangerous towards the end and Ascot were indebted to Gray who got down well to palm Sam Pekun’s low, bouncing effort around a post in the 88th minute to ensure Ascot escaped with a second chance on Tuesday.
The first qualifying round draw will take place on Monday with both sides in the hat.
The replay will take place on Tuesday 24th August at Ascot and tickets can be purchased online in advance here.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Masters, Scott, Bailey, Ellis, McCormack, Denton, Davies (Surpanu 58’), Laflin, Morgan (August 67’). Subs unused: Sykes, Ferguson, Andrady, Walden, Evans