BRACKNELL Town got the new year off to a winning start by beating Westfield 3-1 to take their unbeaten home Bostik League record into double figures.

But they were slow into their stride, which may have been due to them using a new formation for only the second time.

Three good early opportunities were wasted before their defence was easily carved open by the pacy Dylan Cascoe, who cut in from the left, drifted past keeper Mark Scott and slotted the ball home to put the visitors ahead after nine minutes.

Their new diamond formation - which saw Jamie McClurg and Joe Grant among those left on the bench - was not operating with the same fluency as in the 6-1 win over FC Romania nine days earlier and they were certainly not as sharp in front of goal.

Assistant manager Michael Butcher, standing in for the absent Geoff Warner, tinkered slightly with the set-up at half-time and within five minutes of the resumption they were on level terms, although thanks to a large slice of luck.

Seb Bowerman's shot was parried by keeper Gary Ross and Harry Carter attempted to complete the clearance, but it struck teammate Jack Dean and rebounded into the net for an own goal.

And the equaliser led to the Robin stepping up a gear. They started to play with a lot more cohesion and it was more like the old Bracknell.

In front of a crowd of just under 300, Town became the dominant side and Liam Ferdinand twice went close before firing his side ahead with a fierce rising shot into the top right-hand corner in the 57th minute.

It was Ferdinand who also netted the third goal with 20 minutes remaining, finishing off a slick move involving Ashleigh Artwell and Bowerman.

Manager Jamie Tompkins says Ascot United are in a "very good" position as they go into the new year.

Their 2-0 win over Longlevens on Saturday left them second in the Hellenic League, just one point behind leaders Brackley Town Saints albeit having played three more games.

"We considered December to be a crucial month for us and we won six games and drew the other, so that is very pleasing," said Tompkins.

Skipper Louis Bouvers opened the scoring against Longlevens by heading home a corner from Jonny Denton.

A goal-line clearance by George Lock denied the visitors an equaliser before the Yellamen doubled their lead in the 33rd minute through Luqman Kassim's deflected shot.

United - beaten only once in their last 14 league and cup games - visit third-placed Brimscombe & Thrupp this Saturday before making the short trip to Binfield on Monday evening.

Nathan Minhas, who has scored 30 goals, was playing his last game on loan for Ascot as parent club Billericay Town have now added him to their squad for the rest of the season.

"We do have the option to take him back, but in the nicest possible way I hope that doesn't happen as he should be playing at National League level," said Tompkins.

Despite having other talented strikers in their squad, Ascot wasted no time in bringing in a new forward to fill the vacancy left by Minhas, signing Ryan Debattista on a dual registration from Bostik League side Chalfont St Peter. His previous clubs include Egham, Beaconsfield SYCOB, Burnham and Basingstoke.

He is expected to be in Ascot's squad for their league matches at Brimscombe & Thrupp this Saturday and at Binfield next Monday evening.

Ian Davies maintained his hot form by scoring both goals as Binfield won 2-0 at Brimscombe & Thrupp in the Hellenic League's Bluefin Sports Cup to earn a quarter-final tie at Wantage. The striker has now hit the target eight times in the last four games.

He could have scored more as he squandered a good chance in the 55th minute on Saturday before breaking the deadlock with a 62nd-minute header and he doubled the Moles' lead in the 76th minute from the penalty spot, awarded for handball.

The tie at Wantage will be played a week on Saturday, January 12.

Before that, Binfield have league matches at Shrivenham this Saturday before hosting Ascot on Monday (7.45pm ko).

Wokingham & Emmbrook lost 2-1 away to Chalvey Sports in Division 1 of the Hellenic League. They fell behind in the 18th to a close-range finish from Jason Marney.

The Sumas deservedly drew level in the 54th minute through Elliott Rushforth, only to concede again 10 minutes later when Ryan Hazell headed home. They face Chinnor at Larges Lane this Saturday and next Tuesday (7.45pm ko) host Woodley United in the final Hellenic League Division 1 Subsidiary Cup Group B match.