Usman Lalustani stunner seals Ascot United points and ends Reading City run

Usman Lalustani celebrates scoring for Ascot United. Photo: Rob Mack.
Usman Lalustani celebrates scoring for Ascot United. Photo: Rob Mack.

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Goals from Brendan Matthew and Usman Lalustani were enough to beat a lacklustre Reading City side and earn Ascot United a seven point lead at the top of the Combined Counties League Premier Division North.

Matthew opened the scoring with his 27th goal of the season, when after a succession of Ascot crosses and Reading clearances, the ball fell invitingly for him at the back post and he tapped home. It wasn’t his greatest finish, but they all count.

Usman Lalustani then wrapped up the three points with a definite goal of the month contender. Having received the ball from a superb pass from man of the match Jordan Ajanlekoko out on the right, he carried the ball for a few yards before unleashing a 25 yard screamer that beat goalkeeper Charlie York at his near post and into the top corner of the net.

It was Ascot’s 17th match unbeaten in a row, which has set a new club record. It also ended Reading City’s own record of 16 games unbeaten.

The hosts started the game on the front foot and looked the most likely to score. Cheered on by a decent crowd of 315 braving sub zero temperatures, Ascot’s first real chance was from a Harry Grant header that lacked power and was easily dealt with by the Reading defence.

Matthew then had his first chance to open the scoring in the 29th minute, but his shot was deflected over the bar. From the resultant corner taken by Harry Grant, the ball fell to Jordan Ajanlekoko after a fumble by York, but he blazed over from six yards, meaning the first half remained goalless.

Action from Ascot United vs Reading City. Photo: Rob Mack.
Action from Ascot United vs Reading City. Photo: Rob Mack.

After the break, Lalustani gave us a preview of what was to come by almost beating York with a rising shot that he had to push over his crossbar.

Ascot continued to pressurise the Reading defence and were rewarded with a penalty in the 60th minute after a handball in the area. Matthew stepped up but produced a weak shot to his right that was easily saved by York.

Four minutes later and Matthew had made up for his error by opening the scoring, with Lalustani adding a deserved second 10 minutes from time.

Reading offered very little in the second half and will be disappointed not to have put Ascot under any pressure.

Ascot’s attention can now turn to the journey down to Devon on Saturday and the FA Vase tie against Buckland Athletic. Jamie Tomkins will be looking for another hard working performance of passion, attitude and togetherness. Reading meanwhile are back in league action when they host Windsor at the Rivermoor.

Ascot United: Ashdown, Lock (Bailey), Gerrard, Ajanlekoko, Matthew (August), A. Grant, H. Grant (Gallimore), Tucker, Welch (Walters), McCormack, Lalustani (Mealing)

Reading City: York, Smith, Donville, Lazarczuk (Valentin), Veal, Cowd, Baines (Johnson), Davies, D’Cruz (Waight), Pilling (Bangura), Lee Unused sub Thomas

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