|24/11/2023||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|
24 November 2023
Ascot United IIs 2-5 Putney Vale Rangers (Vase)
Ascot United IIs and Putney Vale Rangers (PVR) produced some entertaining fare in the first round of the Vase on 24 November. There wasn’t a great deal between the sides, although the longer the game went on the better the visitors got. Plus, PVR took their chances, whereas Ascot United were left rueing the ones that they spurned.
Winter finally has landed at the Racecourse Ground. There were bobble hats on show in the warm up, under-armour in evidence everywhere and Darren Lewis was clearly making an attempt on the ‘most layers ever worn in a warm up’ world record. Norris McWhirter will no doubt be reporting back on that one in due course.
Ascot set up in an old skool 4-4-2. Stuart Flurry and Micky Parker were right and left of skipper Paul Woodford and Stuart Birkett in midfield, with Ben Spence and Carl Collins up top. At the back Darren Lewis slipped in at left back, Dan Hough was on the right. That left Ed Du Bois and Nigel Gatehouse in the middle of defence with Lee Perry in nets. And, fair play to the Wycombe season ticket holder, he stepped up relatively late on to solve a keeper crisis.
Ascot started the game brightly. Carl Collins was proving a menace down the right, and he put a number of dangerous crosses in across the box. The only problem was that no one could get on the end of them. Ben Spence was doing his best to link play up in the middle whilst Stuart Birkett was doing the Bryan Robson thing in the centre of the park.
Half chances came and went for the Yellas, but it was PVR who opened the scoring. A speedy break saw them carve a hole through the Ascot defence and the visiting centre forward made no mistake. When the ball was curled neatly into the top corner with 25 minutes gone Ascot were two down and faced with a mountain to climb.
Begin to climb it though they did. Paul Woodford had already pinged in a few decent corners, and it was no surprise when Ascot scored from a set piece. Nige Gatehouse rose highest and thumped a header goalwards. That was blocked by a defender, but the big centre-half pounced to bury the rebound. It was a goal of which both Paul Mariner and Eric Gates would have been proud.
The hosts didn’t really want half-time to arrive. They were on top and looking dangerous; PVR had scrambled away a neatly worked free kick from six yards (following a picked up back pass) and the gaffer had had a shot from the edge of the box well-blocked. Ascot were in the ascendancy.
That carried on into the second half, with Zak Dimitrowskiadding a bit of directness up top. Dimitrowski may well have missed two good chances but his mazy runs and box of tricks were causing absolute bedlam. Ascot simply needed to score the next goal.
Indeed, they thought it had arrived when John Heard slipped Dimitrowski through. The North Macedonian twisted and turned, before curling the ball beautifully …. on to the post.
Looking back, it was probably the key moment of the game. Had that gone in then there was a fair chance Ascot would have gone on and won the match. As it was, PVR seemed to be given a new lease of life. They put their foot on the ball nicely in midfield and the quick centre forwards got ever more into the game.
Eventually, they broke away and increased their lead. The goal came from the penalty spot following a hand ball. Ascot then tried to up the tempo and get back into it, but some defensive hesitancy let the visitors in and before Ascot knew it they’d gone 4-1 down. Game over.
Jez Myhan did his best to set up some sort of miracle comeback, finishing impressively to bring the margin back down to two, but with barely five minutes on the clock the smart money was still very much on PVR. That was even more so when the centre forward broke from the half-way line and slotted past Perry to make it 5-2.
Ascot’s cup journey is therefore over before it really started. So be it. The Yellas don’t, however, have long to wait to get back in the saddle. They are back in action (in the league) next week when Meadonians are in town.
Team. Lee Perry, Dan Hough, Darren Lewis, Nigel Gatehouse, Ed Du Bois, Paul Woodford (c), Stuart Birkett, Stuart Flurry, Micky Parker, Ben Spence and Carl Collins
Subs. John Heard, Zak Dimitrowski, Scott Brown, Jez Myhan
Goals. Nigel Gatehouse, Jez Myhan