Ascot United’s Kai Walters scored the perfect Cup Final goal

Kai Walters celebrates. Photo: Neil Graham.
Kai Walters celebrates. Photo: Neil Graham.

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Sunday saw Ascot United lift the Isuzu FA Vase for the first time. It was won in the 80th minute with a goal from Kai Walters. Most teams would take any goal to win a Cup Final, but these are the seven reasons we feel Walters’ header was the perfect cup final winning goal.

He was a substitute

It’s unlikely Walters went to sleep the night before the cup final thinking he was going to score the winner. He began the game on the bench and only came on due to an injury to left-back Rob Gerrard. Had Gerrard not been forced to leave the field there’s no guarantee that Walters would even have got on the pitch.

An unlikely goalscorer.

The last time a Berkshire club won the FA Vase Shane Cooper-Clark score the winner for Thatcham Town. Cooper-Clark had an outstanding season for the Kingfishers scoring over sixty goals. Walters’ goal at Wembley was only his fifth of the season.

For comparison, Newport Pagnell Town pair Albie Hall and Jake Watkinson had scored thirty-eight and twenty-six goals this season while Ascot’s Brendan Matthew had scored forty-eight. It was these we expected to make the headlines. Instead it was Walters.

Late goal the game-changer

The goal came with only ten minutes remaining, it was the killer blow for Ascot United who had been under sustained pressure from Newport Pagnell for much of the second half. Once that goal went in it felt like it would be enough to see Ascot over the line.

It was a proper goal

Kai Walters heads the winner for Ascot United in the FA Vase. Photo: Neil Graham.
Kai Walters heads the winner for Ascot United in the FA Vase. Photo: Neil Graham.

Goals are goals right? Of course they are. But this was a proper goal from open play.

It was a winning goal. It wasn’t a penalty, nor was it an own goal, scuffed or deflected.

Walters turned and headed it across the goalkeeper. He meant it. Bonus points for hitting the far post.

At the Ascot United end

The goal was scored where the thousands of Yellafans were sat. His run from left-back across the box to the front post to meet Sean McCormack’s brilliant cross meant he could easily continue his run towards the adoring Yellawall.

All alone

It may not have quite been of the quality of Keith Houchen’s diving header for Coventry City in 1987 but as Walters was alone when he scored there was no opportunity for his team-mates to bundle him to the ground. He was allowed a lovely run up towards the Ascot United fans and did the trademark celebration for players who don’t score often – the knee slide.

Kai Walters gets the knee slide in, in the FA Vase Final. Photo: Neil Graham.
Kai Walters gets the knee slide in, in the FA Vase Final. Photo: Neil Graham.

The final game

Many of us dream of scoring the winner in a cup final at Wembley Stadium. For Kai Walters this is now reality. He did it in his last game for the club before he moves to Australia. When he gets there I do wonder how many Australians will believe his story, and perhaps as time goes on Kai will also wonder whether it was all a dream.

We could always just watch it again..

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