An Aldershot Town XI produced an optimistic display and a comfortable win at Ascot United this afternoon.
Ascot, who play in the Combined Counties League Premier Division, arranged a free admission game for 125 spectators via an online booking facility and spaces were soon snapped up.
The conditions were warm but blustery at the Racecourse Ground (the second one I’ve visited this year!) and I have to say that the officials and staff at Ascot were just as friendly and hospitable as those at Wrexham.
On entry, spectators were asked to use the hand sanitiser provided but facial coverings were not a stipulation and with so much space to use, people were spread out and behaved sensibly; only in the second half when the weather turned somewhat stormy were some sat next each other in the stand.
Pre match on social media some of our fans were asking others to purchase food and drink at the club rather than outside in the town in order to give money to Ascot United in thanks for their generous offer of free admission and I think many of us did this.
I spoke to Danny Searle before the game and said the last time I spoke with him was at Dagenham. “Yeah thanks for reminding me of that one!”.
I like what he is trying to build and if this pandemic situation allows, I hope that our faith and loyalty will reap rewards. After all, he got a lot of stick in some quarters last term but on a budget of nothing he helped guide us to safety.
Shots were, as you might expect, stronger from the off, both physically and tactically and went ahead very early on through Harrison Panayiotou with a crisp finish.
He added two more in the first half, rumour having it that he scored the perfect hat-trick today; left foot, right foot and header.
Before those two goals though, Shots were awarded a rather dubious penalty, according to several United players.
Craig Tanner stepped up and this happened….
It was very similar, I thought, to Connor Shields’ missed penalty at home to Barrow early doors last season, though that one was more down the middle.
At three-nil, a fair few changes were made at the interval, the number 22 replacing Alex Finney who we’ve seen before left side of defence and I’m unconvinced, He does get himself into awkwardness, losing possession then more often than not retrieving a situation.
The 20 first half (from the A Trialist stock) looked really solid and I think made an assist for one of Harry’s goals. Second half I think most would agree that we liked George Fowler at right back and when Joel Nouble came on, he was a real handful, tricky, threatening and there were signs that there could be a potent force for us up front with him and Mo Bettamer.
James Rowe was steady I thought and there was a good showing from Rees, Sendles-White, oh and the number 24!
Early in that second half the home side were themselves awarded a penalty which was converted well into the bottom right corner past Mitch Walker.
Mo Bettamer restored the Shots three goal cushion late on with a nice finish to compliment a nice day out all round.
Veracious and fair to say that had we drawn and not won, I would have still praised Ascot United for their sterling efforts and would still be in buoyant mood back home writing this match report.
It’s a lovely little ground Thee Racecourse, not one I ever expected to chalk off but there we are, I am sure other Shots fans would reciprocate in wishing Ascot United best wishes for future progress.
I understand from reading ATFC Chat on Twitter, linked to the official site, that plans are for us to test thee water with home friendlies subject to the current ruls and regulations, the long-term hope of course being that we and other clubs can begin the new season with perhaps half-capacity inside grounds to begin with.
The National League fixtures for 2020’21 are due on or before 8th September.