|Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side|
|Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom|
30th December 2022
Legends 6-4 Icons
A late Doug Page penalty proved the icing on the cake as the Ascot United Legends overcame the Ascot United Icons on an excellent night at the Racecourse Ground. It was the Legends who initially hit the ground running, Dave Woozley, John Nutter and Sam McIntyre proving to be a more than useful triumvirate through the middle. Ben Standing and Ben Spence led an Icons resurgence in the middle third of the game, and at 3-3 it really was all to play for. But, big games require big players to step up at big moments; cue a calm-as-you-like strike from Page to seal things for the Legends.
Legends v Icons game are always eagerly anticipated affairs and the December 2022 rendition was no different. Matt Newall and Doug Page led a strong Legends unit whilst Mike Tomlinson and Dan Hough marshalled a quietly confident set of Icons. It was the Legends who initially set off like a train, Nutter spreading the play for fun, McIntrye holding the ball up impressively and Woozley marshalling things admirably at the back.
It subsequently came as no surprise that the Legends struck first, McIntrye making no mistake as he gallivanted through the inside left channel. The Icons, however, weren’t going to sit back and let their fate come at them; Zak Dimitrovski offered some width on the right and he was involved in the move that led to Ben Standing bringing the scores quickly level.
As the game moved into the middle third, both sides shuffled their respective packs. Mike Tomlinson came into the middle of the park for the Icons, Ben Spence pushed out right, Jon Gavin came on in the Terry Butcher role and Stu Flurry took on the keeper’s mitts. For the Legends, Garyth Brant went up top whilst Jad Sidhu slipped into the defensive line. It was also good to see Chris Tredwell enter the fray out left following a long injury lay off.
The middle of the three thirds was shaped by a penalty at each end. Jon Keough delivered a textbook leg sweep on McIntrye and that offered up the Legends the chance to extend their lead. That they did, although Stu Flurry did all he could to try and keep the ball out. “Thinking about it” he was heard musing later “it was good job I didn’t save it. If I’d done that I’d probably have ended up in nets for the 2s for the rest of the season”. Many a true word said in jest.
At 3-1 the Icons decided it was time to fight back. Ben Standing was very much at the centre of things. He grabbed his second of the evening before the Icons were given a penalty of their own. It’s worth noting that some very good players have missed penalties this month, and in that sense Stuart Tanfield is in elite company. Harry Kane didn’t hit the target in the Al Bayt Stadium on the 10 December and neither did Tanfield at the Racecourse Ground on 30 December. Both will no doubt rise phoenix-like again to take their leagues by storm in 2023. Take it from me, it’s a given.
The penalty miss didn’t halt the Icons’ flow, Ben Standing jinking his way impressively past Dave Woozley to set up Jon Keough for the equaliser. Good news at the time …. but Standing had inadvertently made a mistake, stoking the bear into a robust response. Why? Woozley promptly strode upfield, brushed past a couple of defenders and set up McIntyre nicely. Left foot, bottom corner, 4-3, half an hour to go.
The final third of the game saw more pack-shuffling and more goals. Adam Moroney proved to be a real menace up front for the Legends, whilst Tim Standing got up and down impressively. Leon Palmer-Wilson did all he could to hold back the tide in the Icons’ goal, but he could do little to stop the Legends taking charge.
Cue the entry of the best walking footballer in the club, Steve Brine, for the Icons and the indomitable Doug Page for the Legends. The masses watching on the side-lines pleaded for them to go head-to-head down the Icons’ left, but, alas, it was not to be, both players settling for roles on opposite sides of the pitch as left-backs.
Page, however, was gifted a glorious chance to make his mark. Keough delivered his second top quality hack of the evening, allowing Page to step up and take on Palmer-Wilson from 12 yards. Page opened his body up and calmly side-footed the ball into Palmer-Wilson’s left hand corner.
6-4 it subsequently ended. As ever, there was some excellent play (particularly from the Legends early doors) and the game was keenly contested. Magnificent stuff. Bring on the next contest in the summer of 2023.