|17/02/2023||19:45||West London Veterans Football League||2022-2023|
|Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side|
|Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom|
17 February 2023
Ascot United Vets 3-7 Chelsea Vets
The top of the table clash in the WLVFL on 17 February went – ultimately – the way of Chelsea Vets. Ascot United started brightly and were good value for the 3-1 lead that they had with half an hour gone. But, former Ghanaian international Elvis Hammond showed speed that (in Vets’ football at least) was akin to that of an Olympic sprinter and he subsequently raced through time and again. He helped himself to a hat-trick. Chelsea front man Trevor Dennison had no need to do anything even half as strenuous; he scored a hat-trick, too, with all three goals coming from the penalty spot….
Ascot United’s Vets’ 1st XI won’t look back on their encounter with Chelsea Vets very fondly. The hosts started brightly, forcing four corners in quick succession in the first two minutes. From the fourth of those Dave Woozley rose highest to power a header into the roof of the net. Chelsea were never going to go for the high press and that helped Ascot start on the front foot. Plenty of room to be optimistic and the mood on a jam-packed Kippax terrace was certainly positive.
Chelsea did nonetheless manage to level things pretty quickly. Ascot felt that there was a Chelsea hand ball in the lead up to the penalty, but there was little doubt that a foul in the box followed soon after. Trevor Dennison made no mistake from 12 yards.
Still, it was Ascot who struck next. Adam Moroney was very much in the middle of things and it was his bustling up front that saw the ball drop nicely to Rob Saunders. He finished with panache from 25 yards. That was quickly followed by another incisive break; Ben Standing was the man on the end of that and he ultimately did well to slide the ball home from a narrow angle. 3-1 and the Yellas were ticking nicely.
Good players, however, always have the potential to make a difference and that very much applied to former Fulham and Leicester player, Elvis Hammond. His speed and directness caused Ascot problems all night and a jinking run in from the left followed by a lovely right footed finish saw Chelsea pull the score back to 3-2. Right back Andy Frost then burst through to level proceedings, before Hammond was again set free and he give Chelsea the lead. A breathless half ended 4-3.
The second half, however, was a different kettle of fish. At times it got grumpy and bad-tempered and for significant periods very little seemed to happen. Goals were never completely out of the question, but ultimately Ascot lost their rhythm and began to feel ever less at one with the world.
Chelsea, meanwhile, wound the clock down, and relied on the speed of Hammond and the trickiness of Scott Todd to cause Ascot problems. With Tommy Williams looking to thread the both of them in Ascot found themselves ever more exposed on the counter.
It wasn’t, however, a counter-attack that spawned the next goal. With ten minutes left, Nigel Gatehouse thwarted Todd with a magnificent late tackle, but the tricky winger dribbled in from the resulting corner and was sent tumbling to the turf. Penalty number two, goal number two for Dennison, and Chelsea were crafting a bit of breathing space.
For the hosts the final minutes of the game were eminently forgettable. They tried to go forward, but that left gaps for Chelsea to exploit. And that they did. Todd was (again) upended in the box; cue penalty number three. Hammond then wrapped things up in injury time via another burst of pace. 7-3 and the deed was done.
Eryk Nawala did little wrong in nets all evening and yet he picked the ball out of the net seven times. Even then, for 80 minutes of the contest Ascot were well and truly in it. But,ultimately, Chelsea’s game management and their fine finishing saw them home and three points clear at the top of the league. Ascot move on, starting on Saturday 25 Feb at Bank of England.
Team: Eryk Nawala, Mike Tomlinson, Neil Corbett, Dave Woozley, Jon Keough, Chris Ferdinand, Stuart Birkett, Tim Standing, Rob Saunders, Ben Standing and Adam Moroney.
Subs; Nigel Gatehouse, Jamie Burgess, Phil White, Andy Gleave and Sam McIntyre.
Goals; Dave Woozley, Rob Saunders, Ben Standing.