Howkins rescues point for high-flying Ardley

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Steve Howkins rescued an unlikely point for Ardley United as they came back from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 with Ascot United on Tuesday evening.

A clinical first half performance put the visitors two up but Howkins and Stuart Bridges earned Ardley a point that keeps Kevin Brock’s side third in the Premier Division.

With neither midfield dominating the early exchanges, clear-cut chances were at a premium in the first quarter with the first real opening coming on 23 minutes when a slip by Kelvin McIntosh allowed Jermaine Roach to break through, but Ardley managed to scramble clear.

Ascot remained on top, however, and took a deserved lead through Roach, who powerfully headed home a corner, before just four minutes later, the same man doubled the visitors’ advantage with a curling shot into the far corner.

A lacklustre Ardley side showed signs of life towards the end of the first half, but they were unable to carve out any clear-cut chances, leaving Ascot to take a two goal lead into half time.

The home side kick-started into life a minute into the second half as they hauled themselves right back into the contest when Dean Smith played a long ball to Bridges, who headed past Chris Grace in the Ascot goal.

Both sides played at a high tempo in an entertaining and bad-tempered second period that threatened to boil over, but Ardley kept their cool and a run by Jon Gardner down the left saw him take the ball to the byline and lat it back for Howkins to finish at the near post, pulling Ardley level.

Despite an end-to-end battle in the remaining minutes, neither side could find a winner with a red card to David Hancock the last notable action of the match.

Preceding that draw with Ascot was a comprehensive 4-0 win over Abingdon United at the weekend.

A Howkins header on 31 minutes put Ardley ahead and Callum Convey set up Ryan Brooks for a second goal minutes later before second half strikes from Ben Thomas and Howkins sealed the win.

Ardley travel to Wootton Bassett this Saturday.