Ascot United make up ground as they play catch up in the Combined Counties

Jamie Tompkins

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Ascot United might be playing catch up in the Combined Counties Premier Division North, but their form is such that they must be considered one of the favourites for honours this season.

On Tuesday night they swept aside a decent Burnham side 5-0 at the Racecourse Ground, despite going down to 10 men after 20 minutes when Daniel Bailey was sent off.

Harry Laflin fired them in front after only 55 seconds on Tuesday night and Sean McCormack made it 2-0 before Bailey's dismissal. The sending off hardly knocked them off stride, however, and they completed a dominant win with goals from Johnny Denton, George Lock, and McCormack's second of the night.

Former Reading midfielder James Harper played 75 minutes on his debut before being withdrawn ahead of Saturday's trip to Edgeware Town.

The victory lifts them to 10th in the table, nine points behind leaders St Panteleimon, however, the Yellamen have matches in hand on virtually every side in the division and are catching up fast.

Add to that the recent acquisition of former Royals talent Harper and they look like one of the best equipped sides for promotion this season, while you also wouldn't bet against them going deep in cup competitions.

“We’re catching up in the league in terms of games played,” said Tompkins. “The boys are in good form and have a really positive mindset.

“Burnham are a really talented side, with a mixture of young players and experienced players, but they can also be inconsistent. We knew that if they were on form, it would be a difficult night for us, but the way we approached the game was fantastic.

“I was really pleased with the efforts of the whole squad in that game. The quality shone through as well.”

On Harper's first match as a Yellaman, who's joined after a controversial switch from Windsor last week, Tompkins added: “It's a fantastic addition and he's going to bring so much talent and experience to our club, especially for the younger players who are learning the game.

“He was fantastic last night, played 75 minutes and will be ready for Saturday’s game. It was a last-minute change of heart. He made his debut for Windsor against us in the county cup last Tuesday. By that point we’d already put a seven-day approach in, and he was very interested in the project we have. He was desperate to play in the game last night and it's great that we could get someone of his quality to come in.

“But we've also got players who've been here three or four years. They're loyal and committed to the club.”

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