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17-19 September

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 1 Virginia Water 0
Ascot's captain Louis Bouwers’ header in the third minute of stoppage time was enough to see off the gritty resolve of Virginia Water on Tuesday. The visitors had defended resolutely throughout and looked to have escaped with a goal-less draw, until the hosts’ man-of-the match nodded home at the death. This inaugural “B383 derby” matched two sides separated by just six miles and a county boundary, as Berkshire’s table-toppers welcomed Surrey’s pyramid-climbers. And, as The Waters arrived with just two league defeats from eight compared with Ascot’s two losses in ten, the majority of the 122-strong crowd were expecting a closely-fought contest.

And, as it transpired, the first half was indeed short on chances, except for one gilt-edged moment which Ascot should have capitalized on. That effort fell to Jean-Claude Etienne who somehow side-footed wide of an open target after 15 minutes when Nathan Minhas’s precise right-wing cross had picked out his run to the far post. And, moments later, visiting ‘keeper Matt Jones’ blushes were spared when his fumble from Harry Laflin’s snap-shot drifted wide of an upright, but all the excitement of the half was confined to those sixty seconds.

Virginia Water’s best chances arrived when they successfully charged down a brace of Lee Allen clearances, but the hosts’ goalkeeper was equally spared of blushes by his covering defenders. Ben Hodges’ left-footed effort shortly before half time sailed well over for Ascot, and it was unsurprisingly goalless at the break.

The second half needed to improve – and it did – in part due to the managerial changes thaw saw three substitutes introduced by home supremo Jamie Tompkins before the hour mark. One of them – the fit-again Chris Ellis – would enter at the start of the second period and would cover ninety minutes’ worth of turf in that time, mainly by raking across each flank to boom in a plethora of trade-mark long throw-ins throughout the half.

The visitors, however, looked to have thwarted all of them. Bouwers himself almost converted from an Ellis throw-in just after the restart whilst defender Adam Mills was a tall and consistently defiant proposition at right back, but Ellis would get his reward later-on with one final roll of the die. Before all that, the hosts had probed and pushed and even pranged a post when Harry Laflin’s glancing header deflected onto an upright from Jonny Denton’s corner. That chance came and went after 72 minutes, and it looked increasingly likely that the Yellamen would gain nothing from what was an otherwise frustrating night.

The Waters, meanwhile, had set out to hit their hosts on the counter – and when they did it was Allen who produced his only meaningful save of the night – and crucial it was – when he stood up well to save from substitute Harry Brooks in the 77th minute. George Lock was also well placed to thwart another potential effort from the Surrey side who were otherwise devoid of clear opportunities, whereas the Yellamen looked increasingly lively as the game went on and James Haworth’s powerful effort brought another awkward save from Jones.

As time ticked away, the unfortunate Etienne saw another powerful shot deflected over the bar as Ascot were frustrated once again, but their late rally proved crucial. And, with 93 minutes approaching, Ellis took one, last, crucial arch over the side rails, stepped forwards to unleash another thunderous throw-in, and Bouwers epitomised his dominant display by rising highest in the penalty area to head past Mason and give his side the win.

Visiting manager Ceri Jones was dismissed for his ugly and elongated remonstrations following the goal, but it was the hosts who took the plaudits for their ability to win ugly, in what is of course the beautiful game. 

Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Haworth, Carlisle (Denton 60’), Bouwers, Boultwood (Ellis 46’), Laflin, Sullivan, Minhas, Hodges (Regragui 56’), JC Etienne. Sub unused: Willmott

Ascot United 1 Virginia Water 0 (away view)
The long awaited first derby between the nearest of neighbours ended in dramatic fashion, with the home side grabbing a 94th minute winner from one of many aerial bombardments, that left the visitors disappointed, when a point was deserved for their efforts.

On a very difficult pitch, it was not the best footballing match to watch, but did not lack in effort from both sides. Ascot had the more chances overall, with one clear miss from close range in the first half, and Matt turning a goal bound header on to the post in the second half. VW had their best chance in the second half, when Jake Baker beat both CBs to see his shot saved by Lee Allen in the Ascot goal.

The endeavour was clear to see in front of a good crowd, bolstered by a large away following even if goal mouth action was restricted to far too many set pieces – credit must be given to both defences who stood firm on the night. VW continue to learn in the top flight of the Hellenic, and played the better football in the opening exchanges, albeit a number of corners and long range shots the best we had to show for it. Ascot grew into the game and created some chances, not too plentiful by their previous high standards, and honours were duly even at the break.

The pattern continued in the second half, with the home side’s introduction of Chris Ellis causing the visitors some problems with his missile long throws, with a strong tail wind at his back.

As the half wore on, with a draw seeming inevitable, up popped Louis Bowers in the bewildering 4th minute of injury time, to head home from close range, ably assisted by the predictable long throw. Classless goal celebrations from the Home dugout saw tempers rise, culminating in Ceri being sent off. Subsequent home officials apologies for their behaviour fell on deaf with officials, but were welcomed nonetheless.

Credit to both sides, in a typically heated encounter, the visitors disappointed not to force the draw, but well done to Ascot also, who kept going and will take some stopping.

Wantage Town 6 Holmer Green 0
A totally different performance from Saturday saw Wantage Town rattle in six without reply against fourth placed Holmer Green.

After Steve Robertson put Wantage ahead on 15 minutes there was only one team in it. Aided by a couple of own-goals Wantage made it a round half-dozen through Kaylem Patterson, Jack Dunmall and Connor Mattimore.

Hellenic League Division One Subsidiary Cup

Abingdon Town 1 Didcot Town Development 0 (away view)
Abingdon’s much vaunted team in this division sneaked a win with a clinical first half finish in this well contested and always exciting Division One Subsidiary Cup Match. It says much for Didcot’s excellent play that the home team sought it necessary to concede six bookings to Didcot’s one to keep the visitors at bay.

Didcot’s effort and lead up play was superb to watch and although the home team also had chances Didcot had clearer ones with at least three clear first half efforts which could not be put away and a shot which hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper stranded. A further clear penalty was oddly ignored with an assistant referee you would have thought well placed to see it.

While the second half had fewer clear chances Didcot still pressed hard for a goal that would have been just reward for so much hard work. Both defences held firm though and one goal was enough on this occasion. Towards the end Ancalet Odihiambo received his second yellow and the home team finished with ten men.

Penn & Tylers Green 3 Chinnor 0
On Tuesday night Penn entertained Chinnor, who they had already beaten this season in the league 3-0, at home in the Supplementary Cup and in a very entertaining even game, which could have gone either way as the game flowed from end to end from start to finish. 

Penn eventually gained the breakthrough in the 80th minute when a through ball released Raju Pritpal, who burst into the penalty area and shot into the far corner across the dive of the Chinnor goalkeeper to keep Penn’s mini winning run intact. 

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