Ascot United face FA Vase replay after Abbey Rangers draw

Harry Laflin. Photo: Neil Graham /
Harry Laflin. Photo: Neil Graham /

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Harry Laflin’s late penalty ensured Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division sides Ascot United and Abbey Rangers must do it all again to book an FA Vase third round date with Corinthian FC after the two sides drew 2-2 on Tuesday evening.

Substitute Laflin coolly rolled home his spot-kick in the 80th minute to set up extra time, although neither side could go on and win it at a blustery Addlestone Moor.

The tie, restaged after Saturday’s postponement, pitched two Combined Counties League high-fliers together only ten days after their first league meeting of the season, which Ascot had won 2-1.

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Once again there were a handful of new names on the Ascot team sheet as Aiden Higgs started up front and Juwon Akintunde was handed a place on the bench; the suspended Elliot Carey a notable spectator.

It was Ascot who produced all the fireworks early-on in the fifth-of-November affair and were well on top in for the first quarter of the game. However, it would be visiting ‘keeper Sam Gray who produced a fine early save to deny Sheridan Campbell; standing up well to palm the ex-Ascot striker’s effort away after Jamie Hoppitt had played him in.

But, The Yellamen took a deserved lead in the fifteenth minute when Ian Davies glanced home after Mario Banovic had headed Jonny Denton’s deep corner back across the penalty area; Luqman Kassim having initially won the set-piece.

Ian Davies celebrates with Luqman Kassim. Photo: Rob Mack / Shooting Stars.

However, the game changed when Daryl Cooper-Smith blasted his side level when unmarked in the 23rd minute, and it completely morphed when Cooper-Smith bagged his second from the penalty spot after Louis Bouwers had conceded the foul.

An increasingly scrappy affair was punctuated by the referee’s whistle, and it was something of a relief when the first half ended; 2-1 the score remained.

Ascot improved again after the interval and Kassim would shoot weakly at ‘keeper Cameron Kennedy after a neat one-two with Denton, and after both players again had half-chances, it was the 65th minute double-substitution that paid dividends.

This time, Ascot pressed, and after Kassim had played the ball through got replacement Akintunde to run on to, Kennedy was tempted into diving at the Akintunde’s feet as he travelled away from goal – a penalty was the result – and Laflin duly converted.

Extra time might have been avoided had Gray not saved from Hoppitt in the 90th minute, and in the added thirty minutes Cooper-Smith looked certain to complete his hat-trick only for Denton to do just enough to send the striker wide – his resultant shot from a less favourable angle doing the same. At the other end, Davies might also have done better for Ascot from close range when man-of-the match George Lock superbly beat the defence and sprayed an inviting cross into the six-yard box only for Davies to miscue.

Alex Hendrie’s through ball to Ben Kersley five minutes from time looked to have set up the hosts for a winner, but Kersley rushed his effort when he had more time to compose himself, and he scooped his effort wide of a gaping target.

A draw was probably a fair result, and the two sides will now meet for a third time in as many weeks.

Ascot United: Gray, Lock (Carlisle 106’), Haworth, Hodges (Akintunde 65’), Bouwers, Banovic, Kassim, Denton, Davies (Bennett 113’), Higgs (Laflin 65’), Lalustani. Sub unused: Burden, Taylor, Etienne

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