Nottsborough Veterans v Ascot United 1st X1 Veterans



25/03/202314:00West London Veterans Football League2022-2023


25 March 2023

Nottsborough 3-4 Ascot United


Ascot United got back to winning ways on Saturday 25 March, thanks largely to a rumbunctious second half performance against struggling Nottsborough. The visitors were 3-1 down with half an hour to go but the super-sub-combo of Stuart Tanfield and Chris Watney helped the Yellasfight their way back and claim three well-deserved points.


In 1973, so the story goes, Pele and his magnificent Santos team toured England. They played games against a range of sides. For training purposes, they based themselves at the Kingston University sports ground in Tolworth, now home to Nottsborough. It was, by all accounts (see here), a decidedly magnificent doo with plenty of locals flocking to see them go through their paces.


On a boggy (but still generally decent) pitch on a windy day in March there wasn’t a great deal of 1970s Brazil on show when Nottsborough hosted Ascot United. The Yellas’ kit wasn’t a million miles away from that of Brazil, but that’s probably about as close as the comparisons got.


That having been said, the Yellas had spent the last two weeks getting steamrollered by the potential league champions, West London Rams. They were therefore pleased to simply be playing someone (anyone!) else for a change.


Dave Good’s side set up with a back four with what was in effect a diamond in front of it. Adam Moroney and skipper Ben Standing were the two souls tasked with scoring the goals. Ascot’s original gameplan lasted all of three minutes; the luckless Nigel Gatehouse, fresh from tearing his boots apart last week against the Rams, turned, slid and his groin slid with him. Gatehouse limped off, reflecting ruefully on spending an hour in traffic to get to the game and then little more than 180 seconds on the pitch.


The ever-versatile Chris Ferdinand slipped back into the back line as the Welsh Wizard, Andy Gleave, came on in the centre of the park.


Nottsborough looked decent enough when they had the ball, but it was Ascot who made the early running. Ten minutes in and Ascot worked the ball nicely out to the right. The cross came in and Ben Standing showed his ‘fox in the box’ tendencies to get in at the back post and slide the ball home.


Ascot continued to look dangerous, Neil Corbett pinging crossfield balls out to the right for fun and Standing enjoying himself in and around the box. Indeed, most of those present thought Ascot had a penalty when Standing was upended running down the inside-right channel. The referee disagreed. Goal kick it was and 1-0 it remained.


The next 15 minutes were Nottsborough’s brightest of the game. A soft foul on the edge of the Ascot box saw the home side’s number seven curl a sumptuous free kick into the top corner and then some defensive hesitation led to the ball bumbling over the line for a Nottsborough second. Frustrating, and it took Ascot a while to recover. Nottsborough thumped another free kick against the bar and in the end the visitors were happy enough when half-time came and no further damage had been done.


Gaffer Good nonetheless decided that a couple of changes were necessary, and both were very much made with getting more width into the game. Chris Watney came on to play wide right, and the mercurial Stuart Tanfield took up a berth out on the left. Phil White stepped back 25 yards and played in the Makele role leaving Stu Birkett and Toby Underwood to press on.


The re-set led to Ascot getting the ball in some dangerous positions, but it was nonetheless Nottsborough who scored next. A mis-placed pass in the middle and suddenly the small centre forward was away, rounding a sprawling Nawala and tapping into an empty net. 3-1 and Ascot were up against it.


But, the Yellas showed impressive resilience and fought back admirably. The kitchen sink wasn’t quite hurled at the hosts, but it was definitely unwrapped and placed in an out-sized catapult. The Yellas were not going to die not knowing,


Dave Woozley stepped into the middle of the park and he injected a sense of urgency into things. It was nonetheless Tanfield who was key to Ascot pulling one back, pinging the ball into the box only to see the keeper fumble it. It bobbled out to Chris Watney who pinged a peach of a shot into the far corner. 3-2 and game well and truly back on.


The equaliser wasn’t long in coming. Toby Underwood and Adam Moroney were involved in the build up but it was Woozley who fired in from just outside the box. 3-3. And Ascot definitely felt there was more in the game than just the point.


Nottsborough tried to fight back, going long via their big centre forward, but the momentum was very much with Ascot. Cue a lovely through ball from Tanfield – now temporarily operating on the right – to Moroney. He held offhis marker, cruised into the box and slotted the ball into the back of the net. 4-3 and the Yellas had turned the game right round.


The hosts had five minutes to salvage something from the contest and to their credit they definitely rolled the dice. But,Eryk Nawala and his defensive line held firm and the Yellasclaimed all three points.


“Watching that” mused Dave Good to Mark Chapman on Five Live’s ‘Sport’s Report’ later on Saturday evening “has aged me ten years. At times we made things hard for ourselves, but we put in a really good shift and ultimately got what we deserved. It’s definitely nice to get back to winning ways”.


The win sees Ascot move back to 3rd in the table. They now have a bit of time off and are not likely to be in action again until the other side of Easter. Don’t overdo those Easter eggs, folks….


Team; Eryk Nawala, Dan Hough, Neil Corbett, Dave Woozley, Nigel Gatehouse, Chris Ferdinand, Toby Underwood, Stuart Birkett, Phil White, Ben Standing (capt), Adam Moroney.


Subs: Andy Gleave, Chris Watney, Stuart Tanfield


Goals; Ben Standing, Chris Watney, Dave Woozley, Adam Moroney

Nottsborough Veterans3

Ascot United 1st X1 Veterans4
Referee to be confirmed