Ardley Utd 1
Ascot Utd 2
(Saunders 8, McLean 68)
Ardley United lost out in the Uhlsport Hellenic League’s Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup final to Ascot United at Abingdon United yesterday, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.
Ardley, who were crowned Oxfordshire Senior Cup champions last week, never looked like claiming a second trophy as they were outplayed by a lively Ascot outfit.
The sides were level at the break after Stuart Bridges had cancelled out Rob Saunders’opener, before Daryl McLean scored a deserved winner for Ascot in the second half.
Ardley were sluggish in the opening exchanges as Ascot made most of the early running, taking the lead after eight minutes.
Leon Yarnie beat several defenders before laying the ball off to Saunders, whose powerful effort rendered goalkeeper Jack Harding little more than a spectator.
Daryl McLean fires Ascot United’s winner past Ardley goalkeeper Jack Harding
But Ascot were in front for little over a minute as Ardley immediately responded, Bridges emphatically shooting into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Troy Bryan could have added a second before the break when he headed Steve Howkins’ cross over the bar, and Ardley were denied a penalty moments later after Jon Gardner appeared to have been tripped in the area.
But after the break, Ascot reasserted their dominance, eventually claiming the goal they had deserved in the 68th minute when McLean poked home after more good work from Yarnie.
Ardley rallied briefly towards the end, but it was too little, too late as Ascot eased home to lift the cup.
Ardley manager Kevin Brock said: “We’ve had a lot of games and the game on Thursday took a lot out of us.
“I thought in the first half we edged it, but in the second we didn’t get anything going and I thought they deserved to win the game.”
Ardley Utd: Harding, Smith (Thomas 72), Brock, Convey (A Beckett 72), McIntosh, Jackson, Stanbridge, Bridges, Bryan, Gardner, Howkins. Subs not used: D Beckett, Soanes.
Referee: P Staynings.