|WALTERS INSTRUMENTAL IN WOOD WIN
Kai stars as Ascot beat Colliers Wood 3-0
Man-of-the match Kai Walters led the line in Ascot United’s deserved win over Colliers Wood United on Saturday as the tousling continued at the top of the Combined Counties League. With just 11 points separating the top 12 places, league leaders Ascot capitalized on a day when 2nd and 3rd place teams Knaphill and Spelthorne met; Knaphill’s win ensuring Ascot ensued the day five points clear at the top.
The visitors had also once occupied top spot, although their indifferent form since Ascot won the reverse fixture in November had seem them drop to 7th, albeit still within easy striking distance of their rivals.
Ascot were totally dominant in the first half and aided by the strong wind at their backs created a host of decent chances. Ideally they would have led by more than a solitary goal at the break with the visitors briefly benefitting from it after the two sides switched ends, but it was at least a much improved performance on the disjointed display one week earlier.
Early on, Walters and James Richardson both had their chances, but the opening goal came in the 17th minute following a set play. Lead up to that, Richardson had done well to win the foul that led to Calum Ferguson's free-kick, and although the delivery itself was poor, the ball was scooped up by defender Emmanuel Quarshie, Louis Bouwers made his presence felt, and after Walters had pounced to hook the ball back in, Mitch Gutteridge helped it past Jacob Balheimer with a deft flick.
Half an hour in, Walters stabbed wide when well placed, Richardson’s deflected effort was palmed away by Balheimer five minutes before the break and Bouwers headed Denton’s free kick wide when unmarked moments later, but the Yellamen failed to add a second goal before the break. At the other end, Jack Buckle’s half chance was all Colliers Wood had to show for their efforts just before the break but home ‘keeper Sam Gray – making his 50th appearance - got his body behind it to easily save.
Incredibly, the Yellamen would strike again with the wind in their faces just two minutes after the break – and it was predatory striker Davies who nipped in between defence and goalkeeper to roll into the net to make it two-nil.
Wood probed in and around the Ascot area but lacked a cutting edge; Amari Blankson volleying over in the 58th minute when he might have done better.
But Ascot would eventually dominate the half, and once again a combination of well-timed substitutions and making the right choices on the pitch would see them home.
One of those substitutes – Aiden Higgs – would rifle an inviting cross that Kassim glanced over the bar with a header, before another of them – Elliott Carey – tapped home at the far post to make it 3-0 in the 75th minute after Walters’ earlier effort was saved and Kassim had recycled the ball and picked him out.
Higgs and Kassim both had chances to make it four before substitute Harry Laflin and Jack Buckle were both dismissed in added time following an altercation.
But it was a good day at the office for the hosts, who seem to have found their form again at exactly the right time.
Ascot United: Gray, Burden, Gutteridge, Denton, Bouwers, Flanighan, Kassim, Walters, Davies (Higgs 68’), Ferguson (Carey 60’), Richardson (Laflin 64’). Sub unused: Merrick