|13/01/2023||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|
13 January 2023
Ascot United 2nds 14-2 Claygate Royals 2nds
“Sometimes” mused gaffer Martin Kay to Mark Chapman on BBC Five Live after Friday night’s game “things just click. The transfer window is open and I have a decent budget at my disposal….but if the twos turn up and play like that every week then I’ll be free to invest that in an extra round of sandwiches or two in the post-game mash up rather than new players”. All fair enough.
The game itself was something of an odd affair. Ascot United’s second string are loitering in second place in Division Three of the West London Vets’ League whereas Claygate are much nearer to the bottom. Ascot subsequently went into the game as big favourites. Yet with 50 minutes gone the score was 4-2 and Claygate were fancying their chances of putting their hosts under some real pressure. Amir, the visiting number nine, was buzzing around whilst the number 10 was proving a tricky customer to deal with. What happened next? Carnage descended over the Racecourse and with it came a veritable deluge of Ascot goals….
Ascot dominated possession from the get go but it took a bit of time for the goals to come. Andy Gleave and Paul Woodford were running the show in the centre of the park. They were doing an excellent job of keeping the ball movingand of spreading the play. It was skipper Micky Parker who was first to make the most of that, fizzing a beauty of a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box. Ben Spence then doubled Ascot’s advantage thanks to an instinctive volley that came from a goalkeeping mis-kick.
Claygate weren’t for lying down though and a quick break saw one of their strikers go tumbling in the box. No complaints, stonewall penalty. Would Matt Newall, Ascot’s version of Luděk Mikloško, be able to psyche the taker out and preserve his clean sheet? Erm, no, the kick went down the middle and Matt reverted back to wondering how the house party his 15 year old son was having in his absence was panning out. Hopes and prayers to Matt that all went well there…..
Still, Ascot managed another couple of strikes before half-time. Paul Woodford finished nicely for the third whilst Stu Flurry – who cut an impressive figure on the right side of midfield – turned nicely back on to his left foot and finished with quite some aplomb.
The second half started with the unfamiliar sight of Dave Porter in nets as Newall came out to take his place in the back line. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Porter found himself picking the ball out of the net as Claygate broke and caught the Ascot defence on the hop. 4-2. Gaffer Kay was brooding on the touchline.
That, however, was as good as it got for Claygate. They certainly kept at it and they tried their best to deal with the Ascot onslaught, but in reality it soon got a bit overwhelming.
Phil White was the catalyst. Think Teddy Sheringham crossed with Matt Le Tissier and you won’t be far off. He scored four – at least two of which was superbly taken – and was involved in plenty more good work in the final third. Woodford suddenly discovered (quite from where is not clear) a burst of pace and on a number of occasions he tore down the left wing, Gleave, meanwhile, kept passing the ball through for third men running to cause all sorts of problems.
With half an hour left Rob Burton also entered the fray. He, too, made a real impact from the bench. He can’t have touched the ball more than a dozen times, but he pinged in three passes/crosses that led to goals and then scored the 14thand last himself from the penalty spot. Throw in the Haaland-esque contributions from the big Norwegian’s body double, Jez Myhan, and Ascot had well and truly put the game to bed.
Respect due to Leon Palmer-Wilson for keeping the vidiprinter going throughout. Quite how he kept up with the carnage in the second half is not clear. Decent tekkers.
“There can’t be many games in Ascot’s history when substitutes have contributed seven (!) goals between them” 2ndXI supremo Martin Kay was heard to say afterwards. “Phil White was riding the crest of a creative wave and Jez Myhanagain popped up and put the ball in the back of the net. Carry this stuff on and we will be in the promotion shake up come April” .
All in, Ascot’s 2nd XI will be really pleased with their performance. Claygate never chucked the towel in, it was more that Ascot had one of those nights where key players turned up and turned on the style. Magnificent stuff all round.
Team: Matt Newall, Dan Hough, Darren Lewis, Ed Du Bois, Dave Porter, Stu Flurry, Andy Gleave, Paul Woodford, Micky Parker, Ben Spence, Jon Gavin.
Subs; Phil White, Rob Burton, Jad Sidhu, Jez Myhan.
Comms; Leon Palmer-Wilson.
Goals: Phil White (4), Jez Myhan (2), Paul Woodford (2), Ben Spence, Micky Parker, Andy Gleave (subject to the decision of the dubious goals panel), Dan Hough, Stu Flurry, Rob Burton (pen).