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uhlsport football kit31 March 2018

Premier Division

Ascot United 4 Lydney Town 3
Ascot United inched nearer to preserving their Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division status by beating fellow strugglers Lydney Town 4-3 on Saturday. The Yellamen trailed early on before taking the lead and then being pegged back, but ultimately found a way to shrug off their determined visitors.

The groundsman had worked hard to ensure the match would go ahead despite the torrents of rain in the previous 48 hours, and despite the increasingly heavy conditions, both sides produced a scintillating first half where the lead changed hands twice. Both sides needed three points to boost their survival prospects – none more so than Lydney – who arrived with just one win since mid-December and in the middle of a poor run of form that had seen them tumble into the bottom four.

It was the visitors who threatened early-on when Toumani Sidibe wriggled clear of a challenge and squared for Peter Macklin, but both he and Jack Rutter both saw their efforts blocked; the latter would rue dwelling on his chance. However, Rutter’s fine deep cross in the 14th minute would lead to Lydney’s opener; Kerry Hale on hand to slot into the bottom right hand corner.

Having not been in the game until this point, the Yellamen turned the game on its head with two free kicks within the space of three minutes. Firstly, Jonny Denton stepped up to slot a low, hard free kick around the wall and into the left-hand corner in the 23rd minute, before Samir Regragui curled a sublime effort into the top right hand corner after Rutter had been penalised for pushing.

Undeterred, the Severnsiders struck back in the 30th minute when Hale’s cross-shot evaded Lee Allen and Ross Gabriel converted – Sidibi once again involved – but it was a parity that lasted just eight minutes until Ascot struck again. This time, it was a goal from open play and owed much to the run and shot of Callum Carlisle from outside the box which beat keeper Richard Thomas, cannoned back off the inside of the post, and fell invitingly for the impressive George Lock to ram home from ten yards. There was still time for Rob Lazarczuk to slice an effort wide for Ascot when well placed, but Ascot remained ahead at the break by the odd goal in five.

The second half saw Lydney pile forwards in search of an equaliser and Rutter’s 50th minute thunderbolt beat Allen before cannoning back off the crossbar. The lively midfielder saw another effort blocked in a goalmouth melee, substitute Josh Bennai’s effort was then tipped around a post by Allen, and Owen Williams was denied by desperate Ascot defending, but there was no way through for the visitors.

Sadly for them, Ascot finally woke up and Lazarczuk raced onto a through ball before slotting past the onrushing Thomas to give the hosts a two-goal cushion in the 65th minute. However, the visitors were rewarded for their industry when they earned a 72nd minute penalty that Gabriel stroked down the middle, but they would fail to carve out another clear-cut chance as Louis Bouwers and the rest of the home defence stood firm to deny them.

And, Ascot might have made the game safe had Barry Dunbar capitalised on a couple of late chances – both under pressure – but his side comfortably ran down five minutes of added time to put more daylight between them and the bottom four.



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