|West London Veterans Football League
|Racecourse Ground 3G 11-a-side
|Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom
17 March 2023
Ascot United Vets 1-5 West London Rams Vets
West London Rams’ Vets continued their title charge with what was ultimately a straightforward win against Ascot United Vets on Friday 17 March. Ascot certainly pushed them, but ultimately the Rams had that extra touch of class in the final third and that’s what made the difference.
The teams had met six days previously in the league cup semi-final. Things went very much the Rams’ way then. And, with injuries and unavailabilities forcing gaffer Dave Good to once again shuffle his pack, Ascot entered the fray rather more in hope than expectation.
On the plus side, it was good to see Adam Abusweder making his first start for the ones, whilst Ian Davis came on in the second half for what was a really encouraging first 45 minutes of Vets’ football. Andy Lunn also made a welcome return, although not many folks were probably expecting that he’d do so at centre-half. More on that later.
It was nonetheless the visitors who started brightly and kept the ball impressively. Rob Wollaston purred in the middle, although Tim Standing and Phil White did a decent enough job of cancelling much of the danger out. Chris Ferdinand led the defensive line well and the game subsequently remained goalless for the first half hour.
WLR then made a sub, bringing a jack in the box centre forward on. He promptly smashed the ball home from fully 25 yards to give them the lead. Once again Eryk Nawala found himself picking the ball out of the net having done diddly squat wrong.
That’s how the score looked as half-time approached. Being positive, Ascot had certainly not buckled under the Rams’ pressure. Adam Moroney ploughed what at times was a bit of a lone furrow up front but in the run up to the break one good and one very good chance came his way. He did brilliantly to craft them, it was just a shame that neither ultimately ended up in the back of the net.
If Ascot were going to get back into the game then they needed to start the second half well. They didn’t. Within a minute of the whistle going WLR had doubled their lead, the speedy centre forward racing away and calmly slotting home. That soon became three when they scored direct from a free kick, Nawala having been adjudged to have stepped out of his area with the ball in his hands.
It was that third goal that really ended the game. WLR began to ooze confidence, scoring a magnificent fourth and a decent fifth. A quick Rob Saunders free-kick put Adam Moroney in to grab a nicely crafted consolation, and Ian Davis also put the ball in the net only to then see that a foul had been given *for* him in the build up play. It really was that sort of night.
By that stage poor old Nigel Gatehouse had had to leave the fray, a dicky groin curtailing his evening’s work. Thankfully the injury doesn’t look as bad as was initially feared. Dave Good decided that rather than shifting three or four players around to cover for Gatehouse he’d simply fling Andy Lunn, the Vets’ resident David Bailey (google him), into the back line.
Lunn rose to the challenge admirably. One thing no one is going to have to teach him anything about is the concept of the defensive header; he nailed one of those from inside his own half that went hurtling through for a goal kick. Get those things on target from a bit closer in and the Vets’ may well have a potent weapon on their hands.
All in, no one enjoys getting beaten 5-1. But, there are most definitely good and not so good ways of that happening. Ascot tried to play football, they had a shape that for the most part worked well and there really is no legislating for bits of brilliance the likes of which some of the Rams’ lads can produce.
Next week the Vets are in action again. They travel to Nottsborough on Saturday 25 March.
Team: Eryk Nawala, Jamie Burgess, Toby Underwood, Phil White, Chris Ferdinand, Nigel Gatehouse, Adam Abusweder, Sam McIntyre, Tim Standing, Rob Saunders and Adam Moroney (capt).
Subs: Stu Birkett, Andy Lunn, Dan Hough and Ian Davis
Goal: Adam Moroney