|West London Veterans Football League
Old Tiffinians’ 2nd XI 0-3 Ascot United 2nd XI
Ascot United Vets’ 2nd string finished their 2021-2022 campaign with a 3-0 win in Molesey against Old Tiffs’ 2s. A blistering start set the scene with two goals coming in the first five minutes. Despite regularly peppering the woodwork and creating a whole host of good chances, they only managed to put the ball in the onion bag one more time. But, 3-0 and a very solid fourth place represents a decent afternoon and indeed a decent season’s work.
With ever-constant concerns about traffic looming large, most of the team arrived at Summer Avenue in good time. They were greeted by the sight of no less than four cricket games; Old Tiffs’s sides were welcoming Epsom and Thames Ditton in the final round of warm up games before the Surrey Championship kicks in next week.
Indeed, with the sun burning down it was certainly cricketweather and the Ascot players took the opportunity to have a decent look at the cricketing fare on offer. They also went through the usual pre-match “where exactly is Martin Kay then” routine? The skipper eventually arrived thereby quashing any immediate concerns about his well-being, announcing that AUFC would be going 4-4-2 and that the aim was to play at a decent tempo.
That message most certainly got through and for half an hour AUFC played some excellent stuff. Dave Thompson held the ball up admirably up top and Garyth Brant twisted and turneddown the left to good effect. That helped Phil White, Mickey Parker and then Adam Abuswedder make hay down the flanksand it wasn’t long before that translated into a goal, Thompson coolly slotting home from the edge of the box.
The second came soon after with Dan Hough using his standing foot to ping one into the roof of the net. In the meantime Thompson had hit the bar, Brant was now causing total mayhem and it felt like AUFC were going to score a hatful.
Ultimately, it didn’t quite pan out like that. Brant had a goal disallowed for (what must have been a close) off-side (call) whilst Darren Lewis put one over following an excellent team move. But, Old Tiffs, to their credit, came back into it. They created little, but they did at least begin to stem the Ascot tide. That didn’t stop Brant from calmly added a third to help the visitors go into the break three goals to the good.
Skipper Kay brought on Carl England and Benny Spence for the second half, with Dave Thompson manfully taking on the linesman’s duties. In many ways the second 45 minutes were a bit of a non-event. Ascot seemed to play a little longer and that cut the midfield out of proceedings. Tiffs, meanwhile,looked more dangerous going forward. Indeed, Kev Pattersonmade a couple of smart saves as Tiffs began gaining in confidence.
However, Ascot eventually found their passing feet again, and Phil White in particular started to string things together nicely in the middle. Abuswedder buzzed around and periodically caused problems, Ben Spence took on the Thompson role of holding it up nicely and Mickey Parker seemed at times to have the freedom of the parish on the left. But, that fourth goal wouldn’t come and that even though England had a guilt-edged chance to tap home with ten minutes or so left. It just wasn’t to be for the man from Kiddy and he was left with no choice but to except that he’d just – and boy was it close – been nudged out of the goalscoring honours by Rob Saunders. There’s always next season.
The win means that Ascot finish their first season in the league in the top half. A laudable conclusion. A special thanks to Martin Kay for putting in the time and effort to organise everything; it’s really appreciated by everyone in the side.
“That was a good end to a good season” mused Kay to the BBC World Service later in the evening. “The players today did really well, but I’m still going to speak to the board about multi-million investment over the summer …. I mean, the standard of fruit on offer to those on the side today was out of this world. More of that in 2022-23 is an absolute must”.