GUTSY Ascot United slipped to a narrow 2-1 home defeat to Hellenic League Premier Division high-flyers Thatcham Town on Saturday.

Thatcham were quickest into their stride, and Shane Coper-Clark saw an early effort well saved by the feet of Lee Allen.

Ascot’s immediate reply saw Rob Lazarczuk’s free-kick easily saved by Chris Rackley, before Allen saved again for Ascot, this time from Harry Grant.

Cooper-Clark gave his side a 16th minute lead after fashioning the chance – the striker dragging the ball back from his right foot to his left before firing an accurate shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

Rackley was in action once again soon afterwards when his diving save denied Lazarczuk, who then might have done better with a long-range chip.

At the other end, Allen made a good save to deny Cooper-Clark once again, but the hosts’ ascendancy continued and Samir Regragui was unlucky to see his header form Lazarczuk’s cross trickle past a post.

Not to be denied, the Yellamen finally equalised in the 34th minute, James Goodey blasting home a Regragui cross.

Allen preserved parity with another save from Cooper-Clark in first-half injury-time – but at the end of a second half devoid of many chances, the striker latched onto Tom Browne’s deep cross to volley into the roof of the net with seven minutes remaining.

Regragui’s injury-time free-kick into Rackley’s arms was as good as it got for the home side, who were left pointless once again from a performance which should have yielded more.

Ascot United – who stay 18th in the table – are due to visit Bishops Cleeve Development in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup this coming Saturday (3pm).