|ASCOT PEGGED BACK BY FLACKWELL
Heathens fight back to salvage 2-2 draw
Ten-man Flackwell Heath recovered from going 2-0 down inside eight minutes to draw 2-2 on Tuesday evening, with all the goals coming in the first half. The visitors were reduced to ten men in the second half, but the home side could not capitalise on their numerical advantage and inflict a rare defeat on the Heathens.
Flackwell desperately needed a win to keep their slim promotion chances alive. The relentless pressure of those above them had stressed their own prospects in recent weeks, and with ex-Yellamen Charlie Samuels and Josh Dillon in their ranks, there was an added bite to proceedings.
The Yellamen were in equal need of a win for different reasons, but knocks to playmakers Samir Regragui and Trevor Mutero at the weekend out paid to their chances of starting the game, making a difficult prospect even more challenging.
Ascot’s patched up ranks made a whirlwind start to the game and found themselves two goals up inside eight minutes. Firstly, referee Mourad Bougouizi made the correct decision not to award a fifth minute penalty to Ascot even though Louis Bouwers was bundled over in attacking James Goodey’s free-kick, allowing Mo Davies to bundle the ball home after play had been allowed to continue. Then, Bouwers, immense in the first period, catalysed a second goal in the eighth minute after his bold run from defence paved the way for Goodey to slide Barry Dunbar in – and Dunbar rounded David Lyons before firing home from a tight angle.
However, the Heathens struck back swiftly when Francis Amartey’s low strike beat Lee Allen in the tenth minute – despite Allen getting a hand to the firmly struck shot – and Allen would be the busier of the two ‘keepers as the half elapsed.
Sheridan Campbell’s arrowed effort whizzed across Allen’s six-yard box and was deflected wide for a 17th minute corner and Allen then twice saved with his feet from the same player in the 22nd and 28th minutes.
Flackwell did, however, eventually level matters in the 34th minute with a goal owing much to the quick thinking of Lyons. With Ascot on the attack, Lyons’ quick clearance found Amartey on the left wing, and the dangerous winger danced through 50 yards and numerous challenges before bundling the ball past Allen.
Ascot finished the half more vigorously and Matt Jones might have done better with a near post header from Davies’ 42nd minute corner, but it remained level at the interval.
Mutero was introduced at half time, and although he and his team mates huffed and puffed, the second half failed to live up to the standards of its predecessor.
That was, in part, due to the sweeper-esque characteristics of Ascot ‘keeper Allen – who would frequently scamper from his area to deny the marauding Heathens – and the commanding assuredness of his opposite number Lyons, who dealt with everything Ascot threw at him.
Flackwell were reduced to ten men in the 63rd minute when Mitch Woodward crudely kicked out at Mutero and received his marching orders, although they almost scored five minutes later but for a fabulous goal-line clearance by the hosts’ Callum Carlisle.
Samuels saw a succession of long range efforts sail over for the Heathens and Dunbar might have had the last laugh for Ascot with a difficult first-time shot at the near post from George Lock’s right-wing cross, but 2-2 is how it remained.
Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Denton, Hodges, Bouwers, Carlisle, Goodey, Seldon (Adkins), Dunbar, Jones (Richardson), M. Davies (Mutero). Sub unused: Regragui