Ascot United win 4-1 in fine display
Ascot United Women produced a stunning all round team performance as they routed Woodley United 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. Striker Sarah Leonard was in imperious form, but was just one of many stand-out players as her side returned to winning ways.
Yellawomen bounce back in style
The hosts had suffered a damaging 2-0 loss at Warminster Town one week earlier – their first league defeat of the season – and were looking to bounce back against surprise-package Woodley who were harbouring title aspirations of their own, lying six points behind Ascot with two games in hand.
Lenny’s a menace as Yellawomen take three-nil lead
Ascot United were devastating in the first half and fully deserving of a three-goal half time lead, which would have been more had it not been for Woodley ‘keeper Sophie Cheadle.
And, whilst the Yellawomen were good all over the park, it was Leonard who stood out and had a hand in all three goals.
Firstly, she opened the scoring in the tenth minute, racing onto Alix Todd’s pass and showing the visiting defence a clean pair of heels before rifling home from a tight angle, despite the best attempts of Cheadle.
Then she turned provider in the 22nd minute after outmuscling the visiting defence – this time on the right wing – before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Philippa Holden to slam home.
Hayley Cruickshanks then produced the pass of the half – sliding Leonard in through the eye of a needle – although Leonard couldn’t get the ball under control and the chance was gone.
Cheadle then brilliantly saved Leonard’s close-range effort – turning the ball onto the bar after Amelia Kimble had turned provider – but Ascot added a third in the 43rd minute; predictably starting with the same source. This time, Leonard skipped past two players before riding a strong tackle to slide in Kimble, and although Kimble’s shot lacked pace it had enough precision to force a sprawling save from Cheadle only before Todd rifled home the loose ball.
At the other end, the home rearguard doubled-up to snuff out anything Woodley tried to muster, capping a first-half performance just about as good as it could get.
Second half shared but feisty affair
Woodley were much-improved after the break and hit the crossbar early-on through Gemma Sims, although ill-discipline would ultimately let both her and her side down.
Any hopes of a comeback were soon snuffed out when Holden let fly from distance; her effort sailing over Cheadle and into the top right hand corner with 55 minutes on the clock.
The visitors threatened again only for Sims to miss with a mis-timed header and Sarah Lawrence fired straight into Sophie Allen’s arms when well-placed, but Ascot continued to threaten and almost made five in the 69th minute. This time, Kimble’s raking cross-field pass found Katie Vince on the right, and her delicious cross landed at substitute Tiff Skinner, who was denied by another smart save from Cheadle.
Pippa Humphrey’s late shot for Woodley sailed harmlessly into Allen’s arms, but Sajunae Turner did give the visitors something to shout about with a well-taken half volley three minutes from time to make it 4-1.
Izzy Woods and Sims both saw red in injury time for a coming-together, but that was the only blot on an otherwise stellar display.
What’s next for Ascot?
The Yellawomen are in league cup action next weekend with a visit to lower-tier Woking.
Reporter’s Star Player: Sarah Leonard. Simply unplayable, weighed in with a goal and two assists.
Ascot United: Allen, Luckhurst-McCord, Moss, Killick-Bird, Todd, Woods, Holden, Kimble, Leonard, Cruickshanks, Robertson. Subs (rolling): Vince, Carrington, Huntley, Skinner, Richardson-Taylor
Attendance (estimate): 65