|LAZAR STRIKES AGAIN AS ASCOT SINK SAINTS
Ascot beat Brackley 1-0 with Lazarczuk netting winner
Rob Lazarczuk was the matchwinner again as his first-half goal sent Ascot United into the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup Quarter Finals whilst also earning three league points. In an unprecedented double-header – the match being designated as both a league and cup tie due to fixture congestion – Lazarczuk’s smart first-half finish against Brackley Town Saints ensured a repeat of last Saturday’s outcome when he had struck to beat Longlevens.
Early-on it was Brackley who threatened first when the unmarked Matt Johnson headed over from Dan Middleton’s cross just three minutes in.
Josh Bowden then lobbed wide when through on goal and then Lee Allen blocked another effort from the same player when one-on-one moments later, but Ascot responded when James Richardson’s shot was saved before Louie Gilpin struck an off-target effort.
Moments after Bowden had headed over for Brackley, Ascot threatened again through the lively Richardson. Firstly, he fired a shot of his own over the crossbar, before his fine run took him past three defenders before setting up Lazarcuk, who shot wide.
However, the defining moment came after 35 minutes when Gilpin fed Barry Dunbar, Dunbar laid the ball off to Lazarczuk, and the Ascot top scorer slotted into the corner of the net from 20 yards.
The hosts’ George Lock then came close to connecting with a dangerous cross on the stroke of half time, but it remained 1-0 at the break.
Ascot made all three substitutions in the 2nd half, with Ross Seldon introduced at its inception, but it was the visitors who started brightly again and James Hammond saw two early efforts go begging; his first blocked and his second off-target.
At the other end, Lazarczuk beat two players before seeing his shot miss the target but the Saints posed the most threat in the second half and Lee Allen produced good saves to deny both Bowden and substitute Len Steele.
But Allen would produce an even better save in the 75th minute to tip away Hammond’s effort from the edge of the area – at full stretch in the process – and the supporters’ player of the season was at it again in the 77th minute to thwart Steele once more.
And with time running out, the Yellamen survived a few nervy moments in injury time but held on to earn a home tie with Pewsey Vale, whilst virtually guaranteeing their safety with a sixth win in eight matches in all competitions.
Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Denton, Sullivan, Bouwers, Carlisle, Da Silva (Seldon), Gilpin, Dunbar (Hall), Lazarczuk, Richardson (Wensley). Subs unused: Boultwood, Hodges