Ascot United 1  Northwood 0

Saturday 9th December 2023


1 Roraigh Browne
2 Harry McKenna
3 Deago Dunbar Bonnie
4 Teddy Stacey
5 Luke Tingey ©
6 Harry Gallagher
7 Sam Jenkins (81m)
8 Harry McCorkell (62m)
9 Reece Cameron
10 Godlove Oppong (68m)
11 Kofi Anokye-Boadi
14 Carl Stewart (62m)
15 Romario Jonas
16 Curtis Brown (68m)
17 Zeid Hannachi
18 Keagan Cole (81m)

Hugo Sobte, Oliver Lahtinen-Kalsi V, Alfie Grant, Daniel Bailey V(Christopher Ellis 77m), Joshua Edwards, Sean McCormack, Brendan Matthew V, Oliver Harris (George Lock 73m), Jay Welch, Samuel Bello-Balogun V(Harry Laflin 61m), Charlie Morgan

The Woods made their first-ever visit to the Racecourse Ground for an important first meeting with current FA Vase holders Ascot United, who were sitting just one place above the Woods in the table.

Despite the morning’s heavy rain, the game was never in doubt thanks to the home side’s artificial surface but both sides had to cope with a strong wind blowing across the pitch for much of the match.

Manager Ben Bukowski had to reshuffle his side following the untimely departure of top scorer Dan Williams to divisional rivals Uxbridge during the week though changes were minimal with Reece Cameron starting up front while Teddy Stacey kept his place in midfield ahead of Carl Stewart who was still feeling the injury, he picked up early in the previous game.

And the Woods made a positive start to the match, making inroads, forcing errors and causing several problems from a few early throws launched by Luke Tingey. After nine minutes, one of them appeared to be dropping nicely for Harry Gallagher but Cameron attempted an audacious overhead-kick which was well wide of the target. A few minutes later, another Tingey throw did fall to Gallagher but unfortunately, he also hooked his shot wide.

Ascot had rarely threatened at this stage and they also picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon when Samuel Bello-Balogun fouled Stacey in the centre-circle and the resulting free-kick brought a half-chance for Godlove Oppong. His shot was also wayward though and Cameron was unable to divert it goalwards.

It was after 21 minutes that the Yellas created their first chance with a quick break down the right which saw Brendon Matthew cut in to shoot across the face of goal but Roraigh Brown dived across to save well and the ball was cleared.

The long-throw continued to be the main danger from Northwood and two almost identical deliveries saw first Harry McCorkell flick on but Oppong fail to get a shot away and then Gallagher provided another flick with Cameron the player that couldn’t get a shot on target.

It was after 35 minutes that Ascot took the lead. Sean McCormack won a tackle wide on the right in his own half and sent a good ball down the channel which again found Matthew free. As before he cut in and shot across Browne in goal but this time it found the far corner and the Yellows were ahead.

PHOTOS by James Brown

The Woods worked hard to get back level before the break but the closest they came was in the first minute of stoppage-time when Gallagher again laid off a Tingey throw into the path of Sam Jenkins. He hit the target with a left-footed strike but it was straight at Ascot goalkeeper Hugo Sobte who parried and although Oppong got to the rebound first with a header it was only back into the grateful hands of the keeper.

With only one goal to bring Northwood back to level terms, there was much to play for as the second-half commenced but it was the Yellas that threatened in the early stages with that man Matthew looking the most dangerous. One effort found the side-netting when under pressure from Deago Dunbar-Bonnie while another presented a headed chance that was snuffed out by a good block from Tingey.

The Woods were making few inroads and made a couple of changes to try to rectify this. Stewart came on as substitute for McCorkell and then Oppong was replaced by Curtis Brown on 68 minutes.

Five minutes later came the best opportunity to equalise when Jenkins showed good balance to get past a couple of defenders as he found his way into the box but his right-foot shot was well saved by a diving Sobte who pushed the ball round the post for a match-winning save.

Jenkins picked up a knock soon after and was substituted on 81 minutes with Keagan Cole coming on for a late cameo but Ascot remained solid at the back for the final period and earned themselves a much-needed three points.

REPORT by Alan Evans