|ASCOT SIGN OFF WITH FLACKWELL DEFEAT
Wilks Park Whimper for below-par Yellamen
Ascot United lost 1-0 at Flackwell Heath on Monday to sign off in seventh place in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division.
Ascot’s final league match of the season came fully three weeks after their last competitive fixture, although manager Jamie Tompkins had given his troops a recent run out in Development Team fixture as he prepares for the league cup final in a further two weeks’ time.
The Heathens had won the reverse fixture 3-1 and had also beaten on Ascot in their last match of last season, so there was added incentive for the visitors who would climb back into the top six with a favour from Windsor and a win of their own.
The first half was a tepid affair, and although Ascot were thankful to ‘keeper Sam Gray for his trio of good saves, they came closest to scoring themselves but for the width of the crossbar.
Gray came to Ascot’s rescue after just five minutes when Adam Thomas almost capitalized on Louis Bouwers’ hesitancy; Gray would stand up well to make the save.
His second save was better – standing up as long as possible to thwart Thomas again – with Mo Thomas firing a difficult loose ball over the bar.
In between those chances, Ascot were desperately unlucky not to take a sixteenth minute lead. Fabien Etienne’s crunching tackle saw him win the ball, and after continuing his run he delivered a teasing left wing cross from which Sheridan Campbell clattered the crossbar on the half-volley.
Flackwell’s Simeon Weekes might have done better with a far post header after 27 minutes and Gray beat another Thomas strike away in first half injury time, but it remained goalless at the break.
Gray was at it again soon after the restart when he dived full stretch to keep out Thomas’s free kick as their private battle continued, although Ascot showed a little more promise and Harry Laflin would glance a header wide from Denton’s 49th minute corner.
Campbell was unable to convert George Lock’s teasing cross from a tight angle, Laflin saw a long-range effort easily saved and Walters’ audacious flick would hit the bar again from Haworth’s cross – but that was as good as it got for Ascot.
Before the last of those chances, substitute Ashley Howell had shown persistence to undo Bouwers again, and he would plant the ball over Gray for what was ultimately a 72nd minute winner.
Bouwers might have nicked an equaliser only for Watkins to smother his effort late-on, but Gray would produce an even later save to deny Howell a second with a brilliant close-range block.
Ascot will need to step up significantly for their cup final in two weeks, although if man-of-the-match Gray reproduces his form then Windsor will need to play well to beat him.
Ascot United: Gray, Lock (Kibaki), Haworth, Bouwers, F. Etienne, Laflin, Sankoh (Regragui), Denton, Price, Campbell (Kassim), Walters. Subs unused: Carlisle, Whiter