|ASCOT AT THE DOUBLE IN WINDSOR WIN
Yellamen beat Royalists 2-0 with dominant display
Debutant Luqman Kassim scored a memorable goal as Ascot United eased past Windsor at a sodden Stag Meadow on Saturday. The impressive forward cut in from the left and arrowed an incredible cross-shot into the top right hand corner to give his side the lead, before Nathan Minhas wrapped it up later on.
On paper this was a tough one to call. Windsor’s recent inconsistency had seen them unable to win two successive matches, although each time they had won they scored a hatful. Ascot, meanwhile, arrived off the back off five wins from six, but had needed to dig deep during that spell to maintain their place at the top of the table.
The starting line ups included Rob Lazarczuk who had returned to the hosts after a season-long exodus at Ascot, whereas the visitors welcomed defenders Louis Bouwers and Chris Ellis back to the side after missing last weekend’s cup win. And, there was a debut for new Kassim, who joined Ascot after a spell in the Finnish third division.
Kassim would play his part in a dominant Ascot first-half display, but it was their overall shape that snuffed out virtually everything Windsor could muster.
Kassim’s jinking run set up Jonny Denton to fire over after 17 minutes and Minhas fired just wide after a neat-one-two six minutes later; Ascot now starting to tick.
Another brace of efforts from Minhas inside a minute went begging – firstly when his volley was blocked from an Ellis throw-in – and then side footing wide shortly afterwards.
For Windsor, Jeevan Panesar’s free kick from near the half way line brought ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the home supporters as it bounced dangerously through to Lee Allen untouched, and Lazarczuk would later scramble a weak header goalwards from Jamie Di Giuseppe’s deep free-kick, but that was as good as it got for the home side.
Minhas came agonisingly close to giving Ascot a 33rd minute with a curling effort from a tight angle after Samir Regragui had won possession and played him in, before Harry Laflin went close with daisy cutter five minutes before the break. However, the visitors could not force an opening that their endeavours had deserved, and it remained goalless at half time.
Early in the second half Panesar’s stooping header from Di Giuseppe’s corner went wide for Windsor, but the visitors would quickly regain control in a performance that oozed confidence and unity.
However, it was Luqman’s simply stunning strike that proved the catalyst. With 54 minutes on the clock, he danced his way in from the left wing and struck an inch-perfect effort across Hugo Sobte and in off the angle off post and bar to spark wild celebrations from the visitors.
Luqman fired just wide soon after Minhas had set him up, before Minhas got one chance too many for the home side when he raced clear and slotted past Sobte to make it 2-0 in the 70th minute.
Ascot’s Lee Allen made a fine save to prevent a headed own goal 15 minutes from time, but there was still time for substitute Geoff Kibaki to run rings around the tiring home defence and sting Sobte’s palms from close range just before the end.
Windsor looked like a well-beaten side at the end, but take nothing away from Ascot whose top-quality performance is a measure of just how far this young side have come.
Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Haworth, Carlisle, Bouwers, Ellis, Regragui (Kibaki), Denton, Minhas, Laflin (Hodges), Kassim (JC Etienne). Subs unused: Boultwood, Sullivan