|LEA LEAVE IT LATE TO DENY ASCOT
Yellamen and Badshot Lea draw 2-2 in FA Cup
Ascot United let a 2-0 lead slip against Badshot Lea in the Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday as the top two sides in the Combined Counties League went head to head on the Road to Wembley. Usman Lalustani’s brace had given Ascot the box seat, but after losing a couple of players to injury, Ascot were finally undone by a 93rd minute equalizer
Having comfortably won both of their opening league matches, on paper this was just about as hard a cup draw that either side could have wished for, although the prize will eventually be corn well-earned.
Despite being a home tie for Ascot, the tie was reversed to ‘Lea’s new Wrecclesham home whilst their own facility is revamped, and after both sides had got to grips with the strong wind it was Badshot Lea who threatened first, albeit with a weak Zac Hawker free-kick which Sam Gray easily gathered.
Gray would make two brilliant saves to keep his goal intact at half time, the first of which was a world-class save to claw Nic Ciardini’s swirling free kick away from the top-left hand corner midway through the half.
Playing with the wind behind them, Ascot looked comfortable but rarely threatened – and when they did it was Lalustani who gave them a 24th minute lead with a deft flick from James Richardson’s cross after Rory Merrick had earlier crossed from the right.
Gray’s second save was another one from the top-drawer, diving full-stretch to palm Danilo Cadete’s volley over after a defensive slip, but Ascot survived until half time with their slender advantage.
Ascot lost a defender to injury soon after the restart, although it was home ’keeper Kallum Lunn who lost his range after 54 minutes with a horrendous attempted throw that Lalustani latched on to and slotted back into the empty net.
Ascot’s Harry Laflin then twice tried his luck from long range in quick succession, before The Baggies grabbed a 69th minute lifeline. This time, Nick Medcraft’s sublime touch took him away from Ethan Burden, before whacking a cross that ended up at substitute Meshach Williams, who tapped in.
Desperate defending from Elliot Carey looked to have preserved a passage into the net round late-on – Cadete denied – and shortly after Richardson had gone on another mazy run for Ascot it was the home side who were awarded a late free kick. This time, the wind was on their side, and defender Liam Flanagan nodded directly home to the delight of most of the 120-strong crowd.
The two sides will do it all again on Tuesday in Wrecclesham.
Ascot United: Gray, Burden, Defender, (Hodges 48’), Carey, Bouwers (Carlisle 74’), Ellis, Merrick, Denton, Lalustani, Laflin, Richardson (Wensley 92’). Subs unused: Lock, Taylor, Nice, Bennett