|West London Veterans Football League
Clinical on a very blustery day
Ascot met Claygate at Imber Court with the weather promising not to help make it a high quality contest. The wind blew strongly all game and combined with a dry and bumpy pitch it was more hook and hoof than tiki and taka. There were some very good passages of play in these difficult conditions and despite it being a little bit of a leveller, the quality of the Ascot finishing made a significant difference.
Ascot scored from the first move of the game. Toby swung in a corner and Matt found himself in a lot of space at the back post and “volleyed” home with his right foot. After 8 minutes, Ascot had doubled the lead when the ball was played forward to Sam who turned and played into Rob. He spun his marker and nonchalantly tucked it away into the corner 0-2. Chances were few and far between, the odd fast break by Claygate being snuffed out by a very well organised defence. A lot of Claygate energy was wasted with a good number of potentially good situations being rubbed out with offside decisions – a great line organised by JK.
Rob had a wind assisted free kick which just went wide. It might still be travelling. On 25 minutes with the ball bouncing awkwardly, Andy saw Sam free and tried to pick him out with a good reverse pass. The recovering defender just got there but in trying to clear the ball, he looped a header over his keeper and into his own net 0-3.
Claygate had an excellent chance to get one back with a fast move down the right wing. An excellent ball in should’ve been converted by the striker but he miscued his finish. A minute before half time and quick short corner left Claygate unbalanced, a one two between Rob and Toby left Toby with space and time on the corner of the box. Toby clipped it into the far corner and the keeper didn’t even move 0-4.
We had been in this situation before against Claygate and they came back to 4-4 before we nicked it in the last minute so it was important to stay focused. The wind was now with Claygate and Ascot were finding it hard to get out and threaten the Claygate half. Rich was playing well and dealing with some good inswinging corners but it did look like Claygate would get the next goal and they did have the chance. A break down the right and a cut back to the striker who had checked his run on the penalty spot. First time strike and a really good save by Rich with his feet. Ascot responded with their first real threat of the half and Simmo got in down the right and the ball moved to an unmarked Sam. The keeper made saves to keep out the first and second strike but Sam buried the third into the roof of the net 0-5.
This knocked Claygate but to their credit they kept going. By now Leon was on the pitch making a return to the line up and his energy down the left was creating a number of good opportunities. Simmo then came into the game spurred on by a raucous home crowd who were giving him some jovial stick. Response number 1 – the sixth goal started with a pass from Dan to Simmo in Ascot own third. Simmo beat two players and advanced up the pitch exchanging passes with Toby and then Rob. Simmo pulled it back to Rob who finished with a first time shot under the keepers body. 0-6
Claygate pulled one back with a header from an in swinging corner and then it was response number 2, Simmo to start the next move creating space for Rob who picked out Leon’s run responding to the wonderful call from Leon of ‘me me me me me me’ Leon was denied a certain goal when bundled over in the box. Toby converted the penalty. 1-7 Response number 3 as Simmo again fed Rob who again found Leon who found Ben Spence who coolly clipped it over the keeper into the far corner
Claygate got the last goal when a clearance by Rich ricocheted back of the strikers leg for the final score of 2-8
The game was played in an excellent spirit and Claygate were great hosts.
Team : Harrison, Hough, Keough, Newall, Tomlinson, Gleave(c) , Simpson, Underwood, Saunders, Spence , McIntyre, White, Palmer-Wilson, Lunn