BEN Harris netted a hat-trick as Ascot United defeated Fairford Town 4-2 on Saturday – and manager Neil Richards believes there is even more to come from his recent signing, writes Dave Wright.

“He has made a great impact for us,” said Richards. “Ben is getting fitter and stronger, I would say he is only 75 per cent fit at the moment, so I would think there is still more to come from him.”

The Yellamen have certainly picked up since signing the former Windsor striker who has spent the last two years in New Zealand.

A week earlier, Harris had scored twice in United’s 4-0 victory at sixth-placed Brimscombe & Thrupp, their first victory in 10 games.

Richards commented: “That was a good win at Brimscombe, so it was important we built on it this week with another win.

“We started with the same team as it would have been unfair to drop any of the lads. We trusted in them and they went out and gave another good performance.

“It was pleasing to score four goals two games running.”

Their latest victory lifted Ascot into 16th place in the league standings, one of three sides, including Fairford, on the 17-point mark.

“I hope we have turned the corner,” said Richards, before adding a note of caution: “At this level, we are always going to get injuries and suspensions, but I hope we now have a strong enough squad that is capable of keeping us going up the table.”

With FA chairman Greg Clarke looking on, United took the lead after 15 minutes when Callum Carlisle made ground down the right flank and his cross was turned home by Harris.

The striker missed a good opportunity following Trevor Mutero’s defence-splitting pass before Lee Smith equalised in the 36th minute.

But the Yellamen regained the lead four minutes from the break when good work by Sam Regragui and Harris was finished off by Mutero.

The scores were level again in the 57th minute when the home defence failed to clear and were punished by Callum Preece at a time when Fairford were enjoying more of the play.

However, the Yellamen responded well and Harris made it 3-2 on 66 minutes before going on to complete his hat-trick in the 75th minute by heading home a cross from the impressive Regragui.

Even 4-2 up, Ascot could not relax, remembering they had squandered a three-goal lead when drawing 4-4 draw at Fairford last September. There were chances at both ends, but the hosts held on for a thoroughly deserved win.

“We defended much better,” said Richards. “They were superb, you could see they were determined not to concede again, and that was the most pleasing thing for me.”

Ascot United, whose game with Flackwell Heath was postponed last night (Tuesday) are home again this Saturday, when Royal Wootton Bassett are the visitors to the Racecourse ground (3pm ko).