28 February 2023
West London Vets’ Football League Review
There wasn’t a great deal of action across the West London Vets’ Football League (WLVFL) on the weekend of 24/25 February, but by 16h on Saturday evening there were still a few eyebrow-raising results coming through. Eight games and no small number of surprises.
Shocks incoming in the Prem
The two biggest shocks came in the Prem where high-flying sides came veritable croppers. Up until last week Ascot United had only been beaten (twice) by Chelsea Vets. Make that three defeats now. They lost 2-1 at Bank of England (see here for a match report on that one).
The Bank are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table and the three points they won at the weekend could well prove crucial in helping them stay up. The Egyptian double act of Ali and Farouk Ampou El Ela were heavily involved in much that they did well, and Farouk helped himself to one of the goals. Dan Ball got the other, Toby Underwood struck from the spot for the Yellas.
The second surprise of the day came with a winless Poly meeting out a veritable thrashing to third placed Sporting Kitz. The win isn’t enough to lift Poly off the bottom of the table, but it has definitely sent reverberations round the division. 5-2 is quite the statement.
There were two other games in the Prem last Saturday and both saw pretty clear outcomes. West London Rams are now in second (on goal difference) behind Chelsea Vets. That’s thanks to a 5-1 win against Croxley. Nottsborough also pocketed three points with a 6-1 win against an under strengthKew Park Rangers.
There were two games in Division One and both ended up seeing the away side come out on top.
Whippet Wanderers came out 2-1 winners at Civil Service. Civils took the lead 25 minutes in but the Whippets wasted little time in drawing level. Shaun Lydon set up Lloyd Page for the equaliser barely 120 seconds later.
As the game moved into the second half it became clear that the next goal was going to be key. It was the Whippets that grabbed it, Jamie Grainger-Smith nabbing the winner. Given that the sides have played each other twice in two weeks they’ll be pleased to be going their separate ways this coming Saturday.
Jamrock Steppa were the other winners in division one at the weekend. They won by the odd goal in five at West Kensington Kings. The win doesn’t take Jamrock out of the relegation zone but it definitely moves them a big step closer to safety.
Elsewhere, in Division Two Bank of England IIs gained three points against Army Crusaders in what looked suspiciously like a walkover (1-0). Either way, the defeat leaves the Crusaders locked in a three-way fight for survival (alongside MMB and Old Tenisonians) at the bottom.
The final game in the league came in Division Three. That took place at the Grists’ Memorial Ground where Old Tiffs’ 2nds ran out 4-2 winners against Clapham Old Xaverians. An outsider looking in probably expected what looked like a decent Xavs side to come out on top. But, goals from James Allen and Martin McCourty weren’t enough to put one over on what was by all accounts a Tiffs side that put in a decent performance.
Only one of the Ascot sides are in action this coming weekend. The ones were scheduled to travel to Kew Park Rangers, but that game has had to be postponed and will take place at a later date. The twos are subsequently the star turn this week, they welcome Old Tiffinians 2s to the Racecourse Ground on Friday night.
Elsewhere there are 13 other games on. The headline fixture undoubtedly comes in the Prem. Leaders Chelsea Vets welcome West London Rams to the 3G at King’s House. If anyone is going to catch Chelsea then being realistic it’s going to be the Rams. But, to do that they really need a win on Saturday. One to follow with interest.
Sporting Kitz are off to Croxley and Poly host Nottsborough. Given that both of the latter sides won last week they’ll be going into this relegation six pointer (you can have six-pointers in early March, right?) knowing that there’s all to play for.
Whippets on the chase
Given that the runaway leaders in Division One, Claygate Royals Hares, aren’t in action this weekend, second placed Whippet Wanderers will be looking to knock a hole in the seven point gap between the two. The Whippets travel to an in-form Jamrock Steppa. Steppa, of course, need the points, too. A win and they could be out of the relegation zone by Saturday evening.
Third placed Old As are also in action, they travel to struggling Old Tiffs’ 1s. The final game in the division sees fourth play fifth; Civil Service host Wandsworth Borough. Given that third place is a play off place both still have plenty to play for.
New leaders in Div 2?
Saturday sees a full-house of four games in Division Two. The only side not in action are top-of-the-pile Hillingdon Abbots. Rich Bambrough will no doubt be leading the Abbots off to a mid-winter training camp in La Manga…..
Back in Blighty there will be a new leader of Division Two if Double H can overcome Old Tenisonians. Abbots will have three games in hand, but, for a while at least, Double H will be top dogs.
Elsewhere, Old Lyonians could theoretically also go top, although they’ll need a Double H defeat and a nine-goalvictory over MMB. The Milkmen have not had the greatest of seasons, but that’s still one to be put in the ‘pretty unlikely’ box.
The final two games in the division involve Old Meadonianshosting Bank of England IIs and Lighthouse Molesey welcoming Army Crusaders.
Hersham Southside on the cusp of promotion
The situation in Division Three is a step on from working out who might be top after this weekend’s games. We could, if results go the right way, have a mathematical promotion assured!
If Hersham Southside beat bottom of the table AFC Hampton and Latimer Road fail to beat Croxley then Hersham will be up. Ascot United IIs could theoretically still catch them, but no one else could.
With Ascot’s game against Tiffs taking place on Friday night the final Saturday game in the league sees Clapham Xaverianslock horns with Claygate Royals Hounds. If the quietly improving Hounds come out on top there then they could be just three points off the play off place. Not bad for a side that started the season simply wanting to not finish bottom….