|17/11/2023||19:45||West London Veterans Football League||2023-2024|
|Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side|
|Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom|
17 November 2023
Ascot United 1-6 West London Rams
Frustrating night for the Yellas
Ascot United came off second best in their top of the table clash with West London Rams (WLR) on 17 November. The game was evenly contested for an hour, but as the game moved into the final 30 minutes the Rams’ bench – and the impressive Paul Jones in particular – began to make ever more of an impact. 6-1 was ultimately harsh on Ascot, but, respect due to the Rams, they took the strain when it mattered and ultimately finished the game very impressively.
Neither side was at full strength for what all present realised was going to be a pivotal moment in both sides’ league campaigns. Ascot gaffer Dave Good opted to go for four at the back. Matt Newall, replete with distinctive orange headband, and Jeff Lamb were in the middle, with Chris Ferdinand and Neil Corbett flanking them. Phil White makéléléd in front of the defensive line, with Tim Standing and Mikey Lewis agitating just in front of him. Glenn Johnson (left) and Adam Moroney (right) were tasked with looking up and helping out Ian Davies up front.
A decent crowd were treated to Ascot starting on the front foot. Moroney kept finding space down the right, and his incisive running caused no small amount of concern in the Rams’ defence. It came as no surprise when Moroney created the first chance of the evening, pulling back from the byline to Mikey Lewis six yards out. Quite how the mercurial Lewis put the chance over the bar only he’ll know.
Ascot’s bright start was nonetheless interrupted when the Rams broke quickly and took the lead. Up to that point the visitors had offered little going forward, and there was more than a hint of offside about the goal. But, the officials weren’t having any of that; Vincent Achampong rounded Nick Beard, kept his cool and slotted home. Ten minutes were on the clock and the Rams had their noses in front.
The hosts nonetheless continued to look dangerous themselves. With 15 minutes gone Moroney again caused havoc down the right, crossing just in front of a outstretchedIan Davies. He was inches away from equalising. It felt like a matter of time before the goal would come.
Soon enough a goal did indeed materialise, but unfortunately for the Yellas it was at their end. The Rams again played the hosts’ defensive line impressively, Andrew Hiblen breakingfree and doubling their lead.
The Yellas weren’t put off. Ian Davies headed narrowly over before the Rams’ keeper raced out and dived at his feet just as the trigger was about to be pulled. Mikey Lewis was also popping up in encouraging places, but the decisive finish was just eluding him. He put one chance wide and had claims for a penalty turned down in a melee from a corner. Half-time came, 2-0 it stayed.
Dave Good rang a few changes. Mike Tomlinson entered the fray for the struggling (hamstring issues) Jeff Lamb, whilst Adam Abusweder came on to give some extra width down the left. This time it was the Rams who started on the front foot, although the first chance fell Ascot’s way. Mikey Lewis pinged in a lovely corner, Phil White glanced the ball goal-bound. More or less everyone at the Racecourse thought the ball was destined for the bottom corner, but somehow it hit the inside of the post and bounced out. White looked perplexed. It was beginning to have the feel of ‘one of those nights’.
The introduction of Paul Jones caused further problems for the hosts. Jones is big, quick and strong. And, he can finish. With Rob Saunders now on for his seasonal-debut and Ascot pushing forward, Jones’s presence up front ensured that Rams were looking ever more likely to catch Ascot on the break. Sure enough, an hour in and the ball dropped slightly fortuitously to Jones’s feet. He made no mistake. 0-3.
Ascot saw little choice but to keep going. Just a couple of minutes later Phil White jinked his way through on the right of the box before and brought down. No debates, penalty Ascot. Ian Davies made no mistake. Where there was life there was most definitely hope.
But hope, as they say, is often what kills you. Jones was looking ever more like a footballing version of Tyson Fury, and Ascot were finding him very difficult indeed to deal with. Sure enough, with 72 minutes on the clock he was at the centre of a breakaway down the left before then popping in the box and finishing with some aplomb. Minutes later he banged another top bins, only to have his hat-trick wiped out thanks to an upraised linesman’s flag.
Ascot were doing all they could to find a way back into the game, but with time running out the Rams showed their ruthless streak. Further goals from Achampong and Andre Scarlett made the game feel rather more one-sided than it actually was, but there can be no complaints; they took their chances and did well in restricting Ascot when the hosts were on top.
The Yellas will no doubt be disappointed with the evening, but they have little time to worry too much about that. Saturday 25 November sees them in action again, against Nottsborough in the first round of the League Cup. A great opportunity to bounce back and get back in the winning groove.
Team. Nick Beard, Chris Ferdinand, Neil Corbett, Matt Newall, Jeff Lamb, Phil White, Glenn Johnson, Tim Standing, Mikey Lewis, Adam Moroney, Ian Davies.
Subs. Laurence Munns, Mike Tomlinson, Stuart Birkett, Adam Abusweder, Rob Saunders.
Goalscorer. Ian Davies (pen).