9 January 2023
Shocks, penalty shoots and drama all the way in the WLVFL League Cup
Saturday 7 January saw League Cup action grip the West London Vets’ League (WLVFL). Six ties took place (out of 8) and whilst most of the big guns found their way into the quarter-finals unscathed, there was at least one shock plus a dramatic penalty shoot-out. All good.
In terms of Ascot United, the ones negotiated a tricky tie with Civil Service (from Division One). Civils had won their previous three games before Christmas and so were on a decent trot. Throw in wet and windy weather and you could see the words ‘massive banana skin’ looming large over the game.
Civil Service certainly gave the tie a good go and with the scores level at half-time the shock was still on. Second half goals from Tim Standing and Sam McIntyre nonetheless saw Dave Good’s side through and into the quarter-finals. See herefor the gaffer’s report on proceedings.
Hersham Southside spring a surprise
One premier division side wasn’t, however, so lucky. Polytechnic, currently struggling at the bottom of the top flight, came a cropper against third division HershamSouthside. Hersham are flying high at the top of the fourth tier and so fancied their chances of springing a surprise. They were right to do so; they won 4-2.
The mercurial Geoff Stothert was at the centre of much that Hersham Southside did well, scoring two himself and helping to unleash the ever-impressive Steve Reddings. Reddingsinevitably bagged one as Hersham ultimately overcame a resolute Poly outfit.
Drama at Claygate
There were no shocks about in the other games involving premier league sides. Chelsea Vets were in pretty ruthlessmood when they visited West Kensington Kings, bombastingtheir way into the last eight with a 10-1 victory. West London Rams (WLR) weren’t quite as brutal, but they still came through impressively against Nottsborough. WLR won 5-2.
With two games being postponed (Sporting Kitz v MMB and Hillingdon Abbots v Wandsworth Borough) there were two further places in the quarter finals up for grabs on Saturday. Both of them are going to be taken up by sides outside the top division.
The tie of the round was in many ways the game between Claygate Royals Hounds (leaders of Division One) and third tier Army Crusaders. The two sides went toe-to-toe for what sounds like it was an intriguing 90 minutes.
Claygate, as befits a side that’s a division higher, started the stronger, running the game for the first hour or so. At 2-0 up they will have fancied their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals.
But, the Crusaders did a bit of re-shuffling and that seemed to change things. They went to three at the back and that helped Ali Beard pounce on a keeping fumble to pull the score back to 2-1. With time-ticking away Beard then popped up again to head the equaliser following an extravagant overhead kick from Shane Edwards. Penalties incoming!
The Royals made the first mistake, smashing the bar with their first effort. That was nonetheless evened up when the second Crusaders’ penalty was saved. Army keeper Dan Weaver then became the hero, saving Claygate’s final kick meaning that Shane Edwards just needed to score to see the Crusaders’ home.
That he did …. only for the referee to tell everyone that he (the ref) hadn’t been ready and that the kick needed to be retaken. Not the type of thing you see in World Cup penalty shoot outs, but there we are. Edwards nonetheless kept his nerve and despatched the kick (again). The Crusaders were home and hosed.
The final game of the day saw Whippet Wanderers (Div 1) make light work of Old Tenisonians (Div 2). The Whippets continued their excellent form of late, breezing through 6-0. The draw for the quarter-finals will be made live on the league’s Facebook page later this week.
Kitz and Chelsea go head-to-head
Looking ahead, a full programme of league football will be taking place on 13/14 January. Both Ascot sides will be in action with the twos starting things off Friday evening when they welcome Claygate’s second strong to the Racecourse Ground. The ones then follow that up with a trip to Croxley Community Vets on the Saturday. That game will be an intriguing one; Ascot are second and Croxley are third, and both will be looking to notch a win so as to keep in touch with Chelsea Veterans at the top.
Elsewhere Sporting Kitz host Chelsea Vets in what looks like it might well be the game of the day. Kew Park Rangers travel to West London Rams whilst Bank of England are off to Polytechnic. The Bank will certainly be travelling in good spirits; they beat Croxley in a re-arranged league game last week. Farouk Ampou helped himself to a hat-trick and Dan Cale bagged a brace as they pushed themselves six points clear of the relegation zone.
Bounce-back time for Claygate?
In Division One top-of-the-table Claygate Royals will be looking to bounce back from their cup exit when they host an improving Wandsworth Borough. Second placed Whippet Wanderers will look to keep in touch with Claygate when they host Laleham & Kempton.
At the bottom, Jamrock Steppa will be trying to move out of the relegation zone; they entertain sixth placed West Kensington Kings. The final game in the division sees third place Old Actonians travel to mid-table Civil Service.
Four Fixtures in Div 2
Hillingdon Abbots will be looking to extend their already impressive six-point lead at the top of Division Two. They travel to seventh placed Old Tenisonians.
Double H and Old Lyonians are the two main chasers and they’ll both be hoping to register victories in what look like winnable games. Double H go to bottom of the table Old Meadonians whilst Old Lyonians will be turning out on the green, green grass at Bank of England 2s.
The final game in this division sees two sides who are still in the league cup lock horns; Eighth-placed MMB welcome a fast-improving Army Crusaders to Kempton Cricket Club.
Hersham on the charge
With Ascot’s second-string hosting Claygate 2s on Friday night there will be three Division Three fixtures on Saturday afternoon.
Hersham Southside currently sit six points clear at the top and they’ll look to go about building on that advantage when they take on Latimer Road at Spelthorne Sports Club. Latimer Road may currently be mid-table but they aren’t to be counted out of the promotion shake up just yet. Getting something out of Saturday’s fixture would be a real marker in that direction.
AFC Hampton will be looking to get their first points of the season on the board when they welcome Clapham Old Xaverians to their Sunbury home. The final game of the weekend sees Croxley host Old Tiffs. Croxley need the points to remain in the promotion mix whilst a win for Old Tiffs would see them move to just three points of their hosts at the weekend.
Go well everyone.