Ascot United started their Combined Counties Premier Division campaign in emphatic fashion with a thumping victory at Molesey. The Yellamen were looking good for promotion in 2019-20 before the season was cancelled and based on yesterday’s performance, they will be competing at the top end of the table in 2020-21.
Despite being the away side Ascot started in the ascendancy, seeing more of the ball and looking the more dangerous, with overlapping full-back George Lock a constant threat. The Yellamen thought they had won a penalty 10 minutes in, but the flag was up for offside.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when a nice move found Lock on the right of the box and his cross was met in the middle by Ian Davies who fired, first time, into the roof of the net.
Davies claimed his and Ascot’s second goal just before the break when a diagonal pass from Harry Laflin cut out the last defender and found his strike partner in space. Davies was able to steady himself before slotting the ball under the keeper to give Ascot a deserved 2-0 lead at the break.
Molesey came out after the break with renewed purpose and put Ascot under some real pressure for the first time in the game, however, the home side were unable to find a breakthrough and Ascot made them pay by increasing their lead after 54 minutes with one of their first attacks of the half. Davies with a hat-trick in his sights saw an effort well saved by Michael Bawn in the Molesey goal but Laflin was on hand to turn in the rebound.
Midway through the second half, the Yellamen made it 4 when substitute Riccardo Andrady was fouled in the box and a penalty was given. Laflin stepped up and smashed the ball in sending the keeper the wrong way.
A few minutes later Molesey drew a penalty of their own which was converted by Dariush Heravi. Any hopes of a comeback the home side might have had were quashed a few minutes later when a Laflin pass sent Ben Hodges clean through and the substitute finished well to make the score 5-1.
The attacks kept coming for Ascot and with 10 minutes left Davies was the first of the two strikers to complete his hat-trick. A move very similar to the first goal saw Lock deliver a fine cross from the right and Davies was on hand to tap in at the far post.
Laflin had to wait until into injury time to get his third goal of the game but it was worth the wait as the striker picked the ball up on the left side of the pitch, cut inside and released a shot from the corner of the area, across the goal and into the far side of the net.
That was to be the final action of the game. Ascot start the 2020-21 season with a big win and go straight to the top of the table; the position they occupied when last season was ended.
A full gallery of images from the game available at www.shooting-stars.co.uk/ascotunitedfc