|11/03/2022||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|
11 March 2022
Ascot United Vets’ 2s 3-4 West Kensington Kings
Ascot United Vets’ second string served up a seven-goalthriller against the newly crowned champions of Division Three, West Kensington Kings (WKK). WKK have now won 13 from 13, but they can’t have had a much tougher ride than they had at the Racecourse Ground on 11 March. The visitors were 4-1 up at one stage, but a barnstorming response from AUFC saw the hosts pull that back to 4-3 with ten minutes on the clock. Unfortunately for skipper Martin Kay and his side, that decisive fourth goal just wouldn’t come. That leaves WKK 18 (!) points clear and mathematically champions. Respect due, a decent effort.
AUFC started the game very much on the front foot. The ball fizzed around nicely and for 20 minutes or so WKK struggled to get any possession at all. Chris Tredwell, Garyth Brant and Leon Palmer-Wilson passed the ball slickly, whilst Kay started impressively in an unaccustomed right midfield role. With Nigel Gatehouse, playing 90 minutes for the first time in not far off a year, marshalling the defence well, all that was left was for AUFC to put the ball in the onion bag.
That, however, was where things got a bit tricky. Much of the passing was crisp, but the hosts struggled to create too many genuine chances. Brant had a decent effort from distance and Zak Dimitrovski twisted and turned with intent in the box. But shots on target? Not too many.
With half an hour gone, the gaffer found himself making his first change of the evening. Why? Tactical switch? Change of shape? Erm, nope. Enter shoelace-gate. For reasons that are likely to remain forever a mystery, a knotted shoelace became the mother of all granny knots and given that Kay was struggling to actually see the mess he was creating around his right foot he decided to take a blow. Jad Sidhu replaced him; unfamiliar though the role was to him, too, he got up and down as AUFC continued to dominate the ball.
But, good sides are good sides for a reason, and when a sloppy pass out of defence landed at the feet of a WKK central midfielder he immediately charged forward. Cue a decent finish and the visitors were 1-0 down. Disappointing.
Indeed, WKK were now showing why they’d scored 71 goals this season so far; every time they got the ball a forward-looking troika caused Ascot real problems. They were quick, they worked well together and they finished well. Ascot had been warned.
AUFC nonetheless quickly bounced back. Dimitrovskicontinue to pirouette in the box and when a WKK defender caught him on the ankle AUFC had the clearest penalty you’ll see all season. Dimitrovski stepped up, cool as you like, and placed the ball well to the keeper’s right. 1-1.
Hopes that that was to be the launching pad for an AUFC flurry of goals were, however, soon dashed. More mistakes led to WKK taking the lead before half-time and by the mid-way point in the second half they were 4-1 ahead. Kev Patterson had pulled off two tremendous saves, but the WKK strike force was simply too hot to handle. Respect due, they are why they are top of the league.
Still, AUFC refused to give in. Rob Burton came on in the centre of the park, and he passed the ball about nicely. Brant continued to be a thorn in the visitors’ side, Mike Hynes pinged a few decent passes out to the wings and Jez Myhanalways looked capable of popping up in the right place at the right time.
It was Leon Palmer-Wilson who nonetheless struck next, curling in an exquisite corner that the keeper made something of a hash of. That was quickly followed by a third; Stu Flurry played in Mike Hynes who teed up Brant. He made no mistake. 3-4 and game well and truly on.
AUFC threw all they had at WKK, but the equaliser just wouldn’t come. Chris Tredwell marauded up and down the right with intent, Mickey Parker and Darren Lewis did their best to work something out down the left and a barrage of corners gave AUFC ample opportunity to bundle a fourth goal home. But, it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I think there must be something of a Leeds issue going on here” mused Martin Kay to the Sky Sports News team afterwards. “Both Leeds and the Ascot United Vets’ 2s dominate possession, pass the ball well, work hard …. and go and damn well lose”. A sobering thought as AUFC move on to the final four games of the season.