Saturday 16 September 2023
Windlesham Vets 5-1 Ascot United Supervets
The Ascot United Supervets are now officially a thing. The Yellas’ Vets 1st Xi ply their trade impressively in the top flightof the West London Vets’ League (WLVFL), the 2nd XI are established members of the third tier of the WLVFL and now the Supervets are alive and kicking. The aim? To make sure that all AUFC Vets over the age of 50 get the chance to play competitive, 11-a-side football (at least) 4-6 times every season.
The very first of those games took place against Windlesham on 16 September. An historic occasion. Mike Tomlinson had put his hand up to be Supervet-in-chief, but work unfortunately kept him away from the season opener. Nigel Gatehouse donned the captain’s armband.
The first Supervet line up had a nice spread of talent in it. Andy Gleave and Chris Ferdinand were the midfieldpowerhouses, Garyth Brant and Paul Hamblin were tasked with putting the ball in the onion bag. There, however, the Supervets ran into their first problem of the day….
Paul Hamblin had been training well and indeed he played an important role in the twos’ getting their league campaign off to a flying start the week before. He never even made the startline this week; his achilles tendon had a hissy fit in the warm up, declaring that the hard ground and Hamblin’s left leg were just not going to be a marriage made in heaven.
With marriage being the optimum word, poor old Hamblin had even managed to persuade his good lady wife that playing was a better option than going out for the day on their wedding anniversary. Important brownie points ended up being used to warm the subs’ bench all afternoon. You really do have to feel for the big guy.
Jez Myhan subsequently stepped in to replace Hamblin up top, whilst Chris Watney played wide left and Dan Hough in an unfamiliar role wide right. John Heard and Micky Parker filled the full back berths, whilst Eryk Nawala was the custodian between the posts.
Historic though the game was, not a great deal happened in the first half. Ascot had more of the ball, but they struggled when it came to crafting chances. Windlesham, on the other hand, looked dangerous on the break and Nawala was initially the busier of the two keepers.
Goalless though the first half might have been, it wasn’t without incident. The infamous Windlesham Sniper made an appearance, taking out Nige Gatehouse mid-way at about the 20 minute mark. The incident looked ugly, and Gatehouse did well to avoid spending the rest of the day in A & E. Those snipers, they are a law unto themselves….
There were also a number of attempts by the Ascot backline to mutate into Manchester City, playing the ball out with panache from the back. It worked. Sometimes. But not all the time. Indeed, there were a couple of close shaves as the Windlesham attack launched itself into a high press.
Still, the second half started with Ascot producing a goal from more or less nowhere. The ball ping-ponged around a little before falling to Dan Hough. He closed his eyes, hoped for the best and the ball ended up in the top corner. The first goal in Supervets history was at least a decent one.
Ascot nudging ahead seem to spark life into the Windlesham side. It took three minutes before they were level via a(nother)decent long range effort, and only another five before they were ahead. Ascot were creaking (and slowing down) and the hosts were taking advantage.
Ultimately, Windlesham took firm control of the last third of the game and ran out comfortable winners. But, that’s largely secondary. For an hour or so Ascot were decent enough, and in the great scheme of things it’s simply brilliant that the Supervets are up and running.
Bring on Walton Strollers on 21 October.
Team: Eryk Nawala, John Heard, Micky Parker, Nigel Gatehouse (c), Dave Freer, Andy Gleave, Chris Ferdinand, Garyth Brant, Jez Myhan, Chris Watney, Dan Hough
Subs: Abbas Hussain, Doug Page, Steve Hill, John Gavin(Paul Hamblin)
Goals: Dan Hough