Rob Saunders came off the bench to score two stunning direct free kicks for ten-man Ascot on Saturday, spurring his side to an eventual 4-1 triumph over high-flying Thatcham.

Having led 2-0 in the second half, Ascot were on the back-foot after Joe Gritt’s dismissal and Yashwa Romeo’s goal for the visitors, before Saunders’ moments of brilliance steadied his side’s ship.

The first real opportunity for either side resulted in a goal, a chance forged by the strength of Damien Markman who was unfairly impeded mid-way through the visitors’ half. The resultant free kick from Matt Cooper was headed back across the goal by Joe Yeates for Lee Boon to volley home from 12 yards.

Cooper himself almost scored a fortunate second when his inswinging corner was palmed onto the crossbar and over by a Chris Rackley in the visitors’ goal.

However, the goalkeeper pulled off a top class save to deny Boon after 30 minutes, diving full stretch to tip his effort around the right post.

Thatcham offered little attacking threat and the final chance of the half fell to Ascot but Gritt’s volley drifted agonisingly wide.

The Yellamen extended their lead from Cooper’s free kick, as Rob Gier applied the faintest of touches before Jermaine Roche scooped home.

However Thatcham were back in the contest after 67 minutes when Romeo turned the ball in from close range after a free kick was headed back across goal. Gritt was then shown a second yellow card for impeding Romeo as home nerves grew.

Paul Taplin’s header from a corner flashed wide for Thatcham as the visitors looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage but it was Ascot who sealed the win after 81 minutes courtesy of a trademark free kick from Saunders.

Despite only being on the field for two minutes, he curled a superb 25 yard effort over the wall and in off the left post.

Incredibly, Saunders planted a near-carbon copy free-kick into the same corner of the net with two minutes remaining. The crossbar denied Thatcham a consolation goal at the death.

The Yellamen followed that up with a win on Tuesday evening at Ardley thanks to a brace from Roche and a late Daryl McLean strike.

Roche grabbed his first of the game in the 19th minute when he raced onto a through ball and finished past Jack Harding in the hosts goal.

It took until the 60th minute for Ascot to double the lead and it was Roche again as he picked up a long Dave Hancock clearance and muscled his way past the home side’s defence to fire home and put Ascot in complete control, as their performance deserved.

The win was sealed late on when McLean fired home from 30 yards to make it 3-0 to Ascot and cap a fine performance by the Yellamen, who continue their fine form.

Ascot now sit second in the Hellenic Premier Division, a point behind Highmoor Ibis. Lamb’s men travel to Wootton Bassett Town on Saturday (3pm).