|West London Veterans Football League
Welcome to the Sand Siro (© Loz)
So much rain yet Croxley have found a gem of a ground with sand base and a really good surface for this time of year. A dangerous fixture for Ascot knowing that Croxley were 2-1 up at half time in the earlier fixture this season and that they had held Sporting Kitz to a 2-2 draw in their last home game.
Ascot started the game very positively. The movement in possession was great, they retained the ball well and created a lot of good opportunities. Off the ball, Ascot were snapping into the opposition all over the pitch and were frequently regaining quick possession and capitalising on that. In the opening minute Rob played a gorgeous pass with the outside of his right foot, bending round the defender for Adam to race on to. He set Stu, rushing into the box and his shot was blocked. A few minutes later and Ferdi won the ball with his strength and played Stu in, he found Sam who hit a blistering drive just rising over the crossbar. It was noticeable that in these first few minutes the Croxley defence were not keen to get up the pitch. They could see the threat and sat a little deep. Ascot capitalised on that.
More intense pressing on 10 minutes and Rob won the ball on the edge of the box and drilled in an unstoppable drive into the far corner. Keeper didn’t even get the time to move. 1-0. 5 minutes later, more pressure on the ball and with three Ascot players racing into the box Rob found Sam will a lovely cross and he headed it back across the goal into the opposite corner – Ascot were playing well and being very efficient.
On 27 minutes, Croxley had a free kick wide left and played the ball into Ascot area for the first time. It was cleared but clipped back in. A striker tried to take control of the ball and went to ground and the ref pointed to the spot. Penalty slotted home and it was 2-1. Ascot had dominated possession and created a lot of really good situations and it looked a little harsh to be only one goal ahead. The Ascot response was, again, efficient and clinical. A corner from Rob was headed back across goal by JK and bundled into the net by Adam and it was 3-1
Ascot were back in the driving seat and Sam nearly made it four when he raced through and looked to chip the keeper. The pressure and the quality of play was excellent in this half. Ascot kept the ball really well and Croxley showed signs of tiring. On 36 minutes following a long period of sustained possession, Adam raced clear of his defender down the left hand side, drew the keeper and squared to Rob for a tap in and 4-1. Croxley brought on a new striker and from the kick off he had two touches. One as he raced forward and the second to slot home following a slick 1-2. Again, this didn’t seem to affect Ascot and Rob created another goal for Adam. His driven path being clipped into the corner by Adam – excellent finish and 5-2 at half time. Ferdi was linking up nicely with the defence and distributing the ball with ease whilst breaking up play continually. The pitch was holding up really well and the sun had even come out
Ben Standing joined the action following a recent injury and began to settle into his game. The heavens opened and for about 5 minutes the rain crashed down. Croxley did not give this game up and as Ascot drew breath, Croxley started to find a bit of the ball and created a few situations. Wooz looked to have been fouled by Croxley centre forward but surprisingly the ref waved play on and it was 5-3 after 48 minutes.
Ascot had dropped off a bit and the next 20 minutes were pretty sloppy. Perhaps Ascot stopped playing through the thirds but there was a noticeable increase in the error count. Garyth and Nige came on and gave the team some new energy but on 75 minutes it got interesting as Croxley pulled another one back with a chip that drifted in at the far post and it was 5-4. The next goal was now important.
Croxley nearly got it. Striker went through 1 on 1 with Jamie who got enough on it to slow the ball down so that Wooz could stop it going over the line. He cleared and Ascot woke up.
Rob found Sam and his header just went over the bar. A fine strike by Rob was arrowing into the top corner but a defender bravely got in the way and deflected the shot over the bar with his head. There was a bit of a scramble on 81 minutes and the ball fell to Ben who smashed it into the roof of the net and that was probably that.
Garyth jinked through the Croxley midfield and laid the ball off to Sam who finished under the keepers body and another scramble involved Ben creating an assist for Garyth as they both sort of laid down in the six yard box. 8-4 and came from 2-0 down in the second half to win that 3-2
The beer and pizza at the Croxley Community club was very good even with the slightly disgraceful incident of an Ascot player on his dry January ordering a hazelnut latte from the bar. You know who you are ?
Good performance. Good to watch on any surface.
Team : Burgess, Tomlinson, Woozley(c), Keough, Corbett, Ferdinand, Underwood, Birkett, Saunders, Moroney, McIntyre, Gatehouse, Brant, B Standing