TEN-MAN Ascot United endured a miserable afternoon as they crashed to a 4-0 Hellenic League Premier Division defeat at third-placed Wantage Town on Saturday.

The Yellamen were good value at the break after a goalless first-half, but the game was totally spoilt by a questionable dismissal that paved the way for a second half of torment for the visitors.

Ascot manager Neil Richards (pictured) had strengthened his defence by signing Bracknell Town centre-back Adam Kirby 24 hours earlier, and he was a much-needed addition to the starting line-up against a Wantage side that had lost just one league game since mid-October.

However, his debut would turn out to be an unpleasant one after his dismissal before half time, although in truth there should at least have been red cards for the hosts for their part as protagonists.

Before the sending-off, it had been a decent affair.

Wantage started brightly and won a seventh-minute penalty which Ryan Markham struck low, but Ascot goalkeeper Lee Allen palmed the ball away.

Allen then nicked the ball off Ben Willoughby’s foot when clean through after 15 minutes, but the visitors played their way into the game and Rob Lazarczuk’s stinging drive was palmed over by Curtis Meare following Callum Carlisle’s drive forwards.

With the wind and the slope behind them, Wantage continued to push, and it took a trio of brilliant interceptions from George Lock to keep them at bay.

First, he denied Willoughby a shooting chance, then he blocked from Jim Glover after Steve Robertson’s lay-off, and then – three minutes before the break – Lock rescued his side again after Robertson had wriggled clear of Louis Bouwers.

In between all that Matt Jones could and should have given Ascot the lead, but Meare stood up well to deny him when one-on-one after Jones had initially capitalised on a defensive howler.

Yet the second half was one to forget for the visitors.

Dan Comer soon exploited the numerical advantage with a looping header past Allen in the 49th minute, before Jack Powell nearly added a second moments later.

Powell then turned provider for Jack Dunmall to make it 2-0 before Robertson lobbed home number three – all within 10 minutes of the restart – before substitute Sam Shepherd’s cross-shot made it 4-0 with 74 minutes on the clock.

On a bad day for the Yellamen, they also lost James Goodey to a hamstring injury and the misery continued up until the final whistle when Lazarczuk saw his penalty saved after substitute Mo Davies was fouled.

The result leaves Ascot United 15th in the table – three points above the drop zone – but having played more games than all of their fellow strugglers.

Ascot United face a relegation six-pointer at Highmoor Ibis on Saturday (3pm).