|29/04/2023||15:30||West London Veterans Football League||2022-2023|
Can’t see the beach anywhere
A sunny day and a nice 3G pitch at Leatherhead Youth FC. The Rams knew they need to win by six to win the title. They did score six the last time Ascot came here, and Ascot were missing quite a few key players this time too.
There was no champagne popping at the end of the game but there was a fury with a penalty decision on 90+5 given for handball when the Rams players were appealing for a corner as Ferdi deflected a shot wide. Everyone was shocked. Everyone. A deflected shot on 90+2 had given the Rams an equaliser which they worked hard for, but this was just too much and so unfair on the fantastic and honest efforts of all the Ascot squad today.
The game should be remembered as one of the most resilient performances put together by any Ascot United Vets side. Following a few heavy defeats, the question was asked in the dressing room about whether this squad just wanted to play in this league or compete in this league. The performance from this squad unequivocally answered that question today.
Ascot were very effective with little possession. The Rams were less than effective with a lot of possession and Ascot led 2-0 at half time. Both goals came from good build up. The first a combination of Phil, Tim and Rob created space for Adam who slid it in between the defender to Ben whose first touch took it away and second touch found the corner (8m). The second on 42m was equally good. Another nice move and Toby clipped the ball towards Adam who took it on his chest turned the defender and raced away from him to score in the far corner. Adam may be the only player in the league who could score that goal.
In between these goals, Rams had a lot of the ball. They did hit the frame of the goal twice and also forced a couple of good saves from Eryk however every Ascot player was working really hard off the ball to keep these chances to a minimum.
The Ascot back four of Tommo, JK, Lunny and Nige were resolute and considering the full backs had a combined age of 107, keeping a clean sheet in the first half was a tremendous effort and the result of great organisation by all four players. In midfield, Phil, Tim and Rob were tenacious in the tackle and then wonderfully creative in possession which gave us a constant threat. Out wide, Toby and Adam ran their socks off and Ben up top was a warrior today. Holding off a couple of decent centre backs to give Ascot a platform every time we got possession.
Six minutes into the second half and a Rams corner resulted in a weak header which dribbled in at the far post. Rams again dominated possession but Ascot continued to carry a real threat. Great work again by Rob, Tim and Toby and the pass through to Adam was just half a yard too quick otherwise it would’ve been 3-1. On 65 minutes Ascot gave away an unnecessary but clear penalty and it was 2-2 and a response was needed. Tim was shutting down everything and did it again, winning the ball up by the corner flag. He played in Ben who found Rob racing into the box. He screwed it back across his body into the near post and it was 3-2 to Ascot.
Lunny went down with a hamstring on 70 minutes after an excellent first ever start at a centre back. An amazing performance especially considering he was managing a calf injury for about 60 of those minutes. By now, Ferdi, Stu and Chris had joined the fray continuing the great work done by Phil, Tim and Ben.
In the 80th minute Ascot could’ve killed the game off. Another nice passage of play as the Rams really did start to tire and Stu ran right though them and was in on goal. He deserved to score but the keeper managed to get a block onto his shot.
As the clock went to the 90th minute the score was 3-2 to Ascot and I think that was the end of the game.
Tremendous performance and the players deserved so much more that they got.
Team : Nawala, Tomlinson, Keough, Lunn, Gatehouse, White, Underwood, T Standing, Saunders, Moroney, B Standing, Ferdinand, Birkett, Watney