Young Yellamen beat Fleet Spurs 2-0 to pip Westfield
Ascot United Allied Under 18’s were crowned Allied Counties Youth League (South) champions by beating Fleet Spurs 2-0 in a must-win game on Monday. With league leaders Westfield having already finished their league program and lying one point above Ascot with a superior goal difference, Josh Nice’s side needed to beat Spurs in their final game to leapfrog Westfield to glory.
Despite being rock-bottom, the home side’s form had improved since the turn of the year with only one defeat in five matches in open play. However, Nice’s side have been impressive throughout the campaign, and once again showed their professionalism and maturity in front of the large number of travelling supporters who had hopped down the M3 to North Farnborough.
It looked for all the world that a combination of excellent goalkeeper and resolute defending would keep Ascot out until half-time. Alex Hall stung Kieran Rush’s palms after just five minutes before making an even better save to thwart George Fairbairn when clean through in the 11th minute, and then diving full stretch to claw away Hugo South’s free-kick midway through the half.
At the other end James Docherty was rarely troubled, although home defender Reece Knight really should have made better connection with a glancing header as half time approached.
But, there was still time for one final chance, and after Ascot broke, Jake Pandhor was tripped in the box; Lawson Jones stepping up to confidently hammer home the resultant spot-kick into the bottom right.
The second half was incredibly scrappy and after Nice had thrown on all five substitutes in two separate tranches, The Yellamen finally killed the game off.
It took fully eighty minutes for them to do so; Ollie Mann escaping down the right wing and delivering a lofted cross that fellow substitute Matt Hurdwell bundled home at the third attempt after Rush had got down well to save his header and then recovered to block his follow-up.
Hurdwell’s shot on the turn might have added gloss three minutes from the end of normal time following Tom Bailey’s excellent run, but 2-0 it remained sparking scenes of joy amongst the players, staff and travelling supporters.
Many will point to a pivotal moment in early February when Ascot bagged an injury-time equaliser against Westfield to put the destiny of the title in their own hands. However, it is the statistics – P14 W11 D2 L1 – which speak volumes of a campaign oozing consistency and commitment from an extremely talented group of players; players who are now title winners and who we are proud to say wear yellow and blue.
Ascot United: Docherty, Bailey, McCart, South (Bowden), Thompson, Walden, Hall (Mann), Pandhor, Jones (Hurdwell), Holden (Chaisty), Fairbairn (Tomkins).