|04/03/2022||00:00||West London Veterans Football League||2021-2022|
|Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side|
|Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom|
Ben Standing 2, Doug Buchanan, Sam McIntyre
4 March 2022
WLVFL League Cup Quarter-Final
Ascot United Vets 4 -0 Spartans
The Yellamen cruised into the semi-finals of the WLVFL’s league cup with what was ultimately a convincing display against Premier League Spartans. A brace from Ben Standing plus strikes from Doug Buchanan and Sam McIntyre were enough to see the hosts into the next round, although respect due to the visitors; they kept coming and posed a threat right until the very end.
The magic of the cup returned to the Racecourse Ground on 4 March. No, we’re not talking about the 1st XI’s mouth-watering Berks/Bucks tie against Wycombe Wanderers (that’s set for 8 April), rather the next stage in the Vets’ 1st XI’s attempts to lift the WLVFL’s League Cup at Plough Lane in May. Spartans did their best to foil Ascot in their quest, but a half hour period in the second half was enough to decisively decide this encounter in favour of Dave Good’s side.
Spartans came to Ascot on a decent enough run. Following a poor start to the campaign they’d picked up nicely through the winter months and had recently managed to draw 0-0 with high-flying Poly. They wouldn’t be an easy nut to crack.
Ben Standing led the way for Ascot in trying to do just that, notching the first goal of the evening with little more than five minutes on the clock. Spartans responded positively, Adam Cooper in particular causing problems on the left and indeed striking the post midway through the first half. 1-0 at half-time and the game could easily have gone either way.
Ascot came out for the second half looking to stamp their authority on the occasion. Much as was the case in the previous round against Nottsborough, they did that with quite some aplomb. Mike Tomlinson pretended he was 25 again, surging down the right to put a perfectly weighted ball onto Sam McIntrye’s head. The hosts’ striker put it narrowly wide.
McIntyre was again at the centre of things just two minutes later as Rob Saunders set him up nicely; the ball wouldn’t quite sit and the chance went begging. All the money was on McIntyre being the man to stretch Ascot’s lead, but it was Doug Buchanan who took that particular accolade. The ball was cleared from a corner straight to Buchanan; he took a touch and thumped the ball home. 2-0 and Ascot were ticking.
Toby Underwood then got into the action on the left, robbing the visiting full back and curling a delightful cross in the direction Ben Standing. Standing bundled it in, but it was more Dean Henderson than Jordan Henderson and the ref rightly quickly ruled it out for off side.
Spartans were under siege, but they did periodically manage to rally; 53 minutes in and Jon Keough needed to head off the line and a couple of minutes later Dave Simpson was forced to track back and make a timely block to thwart another Spartans’ attack.
The next goal was clearly going to be a big deal, and the watching masses were relieved to see that it went Ascot’s way. Toby Underwood narrowly fizzed over following some craft from Rob Saunders, before Saunders set McIntyre up to fire impressively into the roof of the net. 3-0 and Ascot could begin to breath a bit easier.
Saunders made sure that that continued to be the case by again setting McIntyre away, only this time the big striker crossed admirably for Standing (B) to bag his second of the evening. 4-0 and that was it as a genuine contest. That didn’t stop Adam Cooper from (again) hitting the post, and the Yellamen from continuing to go forward, but ultimately the scoring was done for the evening.
Ascot were never at their best and at times Spartans asked some decent questions, but in the end the fitness and touch in front of goal came through. The semi-final will be an occasion to savour; West London Rams at Imber Court on Saturday 12 March. Bring your popcorn and enjoy the footballing feast.
Team : Harrison, Keough, Woozley, Newall, Tomlinson, Buchanan, Simpson, Underwood, Saunders, B Standing, McIntyre, Burgess, T Standing, Tredwell, Spence (Manager : Dave Thompson)