|Ascot United return to The Wibbandune Sports Ground to face high-flying Colliers Wood United on Saturday (3pm) (SatNav SW20 0AA – remember spectator parking is limited - park on opposite side of A3 and use footbridge), less than 24 hours after the AUFC Veterans begin the weekend’s action at home against Croxley on Friday evening.
They’re all tough matches right now, and this one is right up there against a side who have only lost one league match all season and have The Yellamen firmly in their sights, being three points behind with a game in hand.
Ascot boss Jamie Tompkins knows what his side need to do, and that will include avoiding the same start they made at Colliers Wood’s ground when they played tenants Balham last month – deservedly falling one-nil down in a below par beginning before being handed a lifeline when the home side had a man sent off – catalysing what had looked an unlikely winning comeback.
The ‘Wood have plenty of goals in their ranks. Striker Mario Embalo has bagged countless goals for his side over the course of several seasons, and is a survivor from the last time the two sides met – in the 14/15 FA Vase campaign – when a late Joe Grant double finally saw Ascot home 4-2 after extra time. Co-incidentally, that match came two years after their previous meeting, also in the FA Vase, when Ascot won 3-2 away.
This season, Colliers Wood are enjoying their best campaign since joining the Combined Counties Premier Division 15 years ago. Apart from three top-half finishes, they have traditionally been a lower-half side, but have risen up to become genuine title contenders this time around after almost one third of the season.
William Efambe (7 goals from 9 games) And Ayden Richards (6 from 10) have done the most damage up front, but Embalo (4 in 12) remains a threat, albeit not in the goal-a-game form he has been accustomed to in prior seasons. The Wood have defeated Balham, Molesey and Balham in an impressive start – so it was surprising when they took a 5-1 hammering at CB Hounslow in their only defeat just over a month ago.
On Sunday, the Ladies entertain Oxford City at The Racecourse whereas the Reserves travel to Harefield United Ladies.
And, remember the weather watch!