|ASCOT BEAT WINDSOR TO LIFT LEAGUE CUP
Yellamen just too slick for Royalists at Nolan Oils Ground
Ascot United kept their nerve to beat Windsor 3-1 at Ardley and lift the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup for the first time since 2014. The Yellamen led two-nil at the break, and although Windsor battled hard with ten men after the first-half dismissal of Dan Roberts, it was ultimately a comfortable victory for Jamie Tompkins’ men.
The teams had been separated by just one place and three points after their league programme had concluded a couple of weeks earlier, but Windsor would be looking to avenge the double which Ascot inflicted on them during that campaign.
The 300-plus crowd delivered a minute’s applause ahead of kick-off for recently departed non-league stalwart Darrell Freeland, but were then kept waiting for almost twenty minutes before any meaningful action as both sides measured each other up in Oxfordshire.
And, it was makeshift forward Chris Ellis who would provide that spark, turning and sprinting away from the defence before tumbling in the box in what was deemed to be a fifty-fifty challenge.
However, it was Windsor ‘keeper Hugo Sobte who was at fault for Ascot’s 22nd minute opener – a long throw-in from Ellis - which Sobte somehow punched into his own net under pressure form his own defence.
The Yellamen then enjoyed a decent spell, and stunned their opponents when they doubled their lead six minutes later. Inevitably it was another Ellis throw-in, and after Windsor made a hash of attempting to clear, Harry Laflin thumped an unstoppable effort into the bottom right to spark wild scenes from the noisy travelling supporters.
Windsor were struggling to get a foothold in the game, although ‘keeper Sam Gray would make two important contributions to shut them out before half time – firstly when blocking from a dangerous inswinging corner and then with a finger-tip save to tip George Gould’s rising effort past the left-hand post.
However, The Royalists were dealt a huge blow when top scorer Dan Roberts saw red for a kick to James Haworth’s head, a decision harsh on Roberts who appeared entitled to go for the ball as Haworth stooped to clear.
The second half saw Kieran Knight booked for a horrible tackle on George Lock, and this set the tone for a petulant second half where Windsor were left increasingly frustrated by several decisions against them.
But, Ascot would keep their discipline, and virtually killed off the tie with a lightning break on the hour mark. This time, Laflin released Price, and Price galloped forwards before slotting a well-disguised effort past Sobte just when it looked as if his moment had passed.
To their credit, Windsor’s ten men battled hard, and got their reward when Corey Parchment slammed home a rebound after Gray had done well to keep out Jamie DI Giuseppe’s deflected free-kick; 67 minutes played.
Price would twice try his luck after substitute Luqman Kassim had turned provider – firstly after 72 minutes when Sobte easily saved and again after 79 minutes when his effort was blocked – but Windsor would deny Ascot a fourth.
Tompkins’ men comfortably saw out five minutes of added time, before enjoying the moment with their adoring supporters after a truly memorable campaign for the talented Racecourse outfit.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock, Etienne, Denton, Bouwers, Ellis, Sankoh (Kibaki), Walters, Laflin (Carlisle), Price, Haworth (Kassim). Subs unused: Regragui, Campbell