Ascot United 1st X1 Veterans v Croxley Community 1st XI Veterans



30/09/202219:45West London Veterans Football League2022-2023


Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side
Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom


Ascot United Vets 1st XI 7-2 Croxley Community Vets 1st XI


Ascot United Vets and Croxley Community Vets served up some entertaining fare as they went head-to-head at the Racecourse on 30 September. Ascot had much more of the ball, but that didn’t stop Croxley going in at half-time 2-1 up. The introduction of John Nutter for the second half saw Ascot go through the gears and by the time Nutter left proceedings with 10 minutes remaining the hosts had scored six more goals and cantered away to win 7-2. Fair reflection? Ascot were ultimately much the better side, but work to be done on that first half performance.


Gone are the days of 40C heat and multiple waterbreaks in every game; the good old English weather was back in more traditional form on Friday 30th September with rain teaming down. The ball fizzed about, everyone got drenched and in the end some pretty decent football was played.


Dave Good went into the game with a squad of 16. He opted for what in effect was a 3-4-1-2, Toby Underwood and Dave Simpson giving the width with Nige Gatehouse, Jon Keough and Neil Corbett playing as the back three. Tim Standing and Mike Tomlinson sat in the middle leaving Rob Saunders to cause chaos moving forward. Ben Standing and Adam Moroney played up top.


Ascot dominated possession from the first minute, Dave Simpson immediately finding plenty of space down the right. Indeed, there weren’t even five minutes on the clock and he’d already pinged in a couple of dangerous crosses. Throw in a top draw save from the visiting keeper (from a Ben Standing effort) and it was already looking like Croxley might be in for a long night.


But, for the next 40 minutes or so it didn’t quite pan out like that. At times things became a little frantic as Ascot players tried to seek out the killer pass. Croxley had little of the ball, but when they did have it they looked dangerous. Indeed, it was Croxley who struck first, breaking away at pace and not even a fine Rich Harrison save could prevent the visiting centre forward following up and tucking the first goal of the evening away.


The goal didn’t stop the same pattern from returning; Ascot had the lion’s share of possession, but they never really settled. Rob Saunders narrowly put a free kick over, Ben Standing was again denied by some fine goalkeeping but Croxley did also threaten to breakaway and double their lead.


Thankfully for the hosts that didn’t happen. With ten minutes to go to half-time the ball dropped at Rob Saunders’ feet and the mercurial number 10 smashed the ball in from 25 yards off the underside of the bar. Goal number one of the campaignfor last season’s leading scorer.


But, again, Croxley didn’t lie down. With 42 minutes on the clock they (again) broke away and it was left to Rich Harrison to turn the ensuing shot round the post. That then led to the game’s first real flash point. The resulting corner went nowhere, but Croxley still managed to work a good position that Neil Corbett did his best to try and shut down. Did he clip the centre-forward’s heels (in the box) in the process? The massed hordes (well, there were five of them) on the Kippax in front of the pavilion held their breath and murmured penalty. They’ve certainly been given before. But not this evening….


Croxley were unhappy, but that didn’t stop them from re-grouping and scoring in first half injury time. A long range free-kick was fired in, Rich Harrison saved it, but the rebound was bundled in nicely. 1-2 at half time and Ascot had some re-grouping to do.


And, re-group they certainly did. John Nutter came on in the middle of the park (wearing a particularly eye-catching pair of white boots), Chris Ferdinand came on on the right of the back three and Matt Newall slotted in on the left.


It didn’t take long for the re-org to start paying dividends. The hecticness that had at times been noticeable in the first half vanished. The ball fizzed, the space was worked and suddenly Ascot looked like they’d score every time they went forward. Ten minutes in and Rob Saunders worked neatly with Nutter who calmly put a slide rule ball through to Adam Moroney. He made no mistake. 2-2.


Toby Underwood, now on the right in place of Dave Simpson, then popped up to curl a gem of a shot into the top corner to make it 3-2. John Nutter quickly added a fourth, speeding through to notch his first goal in Ascot United colours. The Yellamen were rapidly going through the gears.


The fact that Croxley went down to ten men didn’t help, but the hosts were proving too hot to handle even before the red card was dished out. Toby Underwood added the fifth from the penalty spot following a foul on Moroney before Rob Saunders went full on bonkers and scored what is already a stand out candidate for goal of the season; Saunders was out on the left and half volleyed the ball with his right foot across the keeper and into the far top corner. A work of art.


The scoring was then completed when Underwood notched his second penalty of the evening and indeed his hat-trick, powering the ball home following a foul on Mike Tomlinson in the box.


There could, and quite plausibly should, have been more goals in the second half. Ascot really showed what they can do. But that also shouldn’t cover up the fact that the first half was all rather patchy. So, room to improve there. All in all, it’s still nonetheless hard to complain about a 7-2 win in the first game in a new division.


Next week sees Ascot in cup action; they are off on to Roehampton to face Bank of England.


Team; Rich Harrison, Dave Simpson, Toby Underwood, Jon Keough, Nigel Gatehouse, Neil Corbett, Mike Tomlinson, Tim Standing, Rob Saunders, Ben Standing, Adam Moroney. Subs; Chris Ferdinand, Phil White, John Nutter, Matt Newall, Andy Gleave


Goals: Toby Underwood (3, 2 pens), Rob Saunders (2), Adam Moroney, John Nutter

Ascot United 1st X1 Veterans7

Croxley Community 1st XI Veterans2


Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side
Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom
Referee to be confirmed