7 February 2023
West London Vets’ League Weekly Review
The weekend of 3rd/4th February saw another (more or less) full week of action in the West London Vets’ Football League (WLVFL). 13 league games took place across all four divisions whilst the final round of 16 tie was completed in the League Cup.
Only one of the two Ascot United sides was called into action. With nine sides in the top flight one is scheduled to miss out every week and this week it was the turn of the Yellas to get to Ikea or Homebase and stack up on those domestic Brownie points.
The twos, however, did have a game. Before the weekend Martin Kay’s side were sitting second in Division Three. They welcomed third place Croxley to the Racecourse on Friday night. Croxley won the league encounter between the sides before Christmas so Ascot were taking nothing for granted. Phil White continued his impressive goal-scoring form, striking twice as the hosts edged home by two goals to one (full match report here).
That win sees the Yellas cement their place in the promotion places, six points above Croxley in third (having played two games fewer) and seven ahead of Clapham Old Xaverians.
Chelsea Vets move back to the top
A number of top flight sides were in cup action elsewhere so only two league games ended up taking place in the Prem.
The most eye-catching of those involved Sporting Kitz travelling to Chelsea Vets. Both teams have genuine title aspirations. A defeat for Kitz, however, would leave them eight points behind Chelsea having played the same number of games. A bridge too far? Probably…
And, that’s the gap that Kitz will indeed be needing to make up. Chelsea ran out 6-2 winners. The game was competitive and there was no small amount of quality on show, but Chelsea are a tough nut to crack. Their visit to Ascot United on 17 February is looking like it could be big in shaping the rest of the title run in (see here for the Premier Division table).
Elsewhere, West London Rams visited Poly. Much as the league table might have suggested, Rams came out on top. They won 4-1. That victory moves the side – now minus Jodie Morris, the new Swindon manager – up into third. They most certainly aren’t out of the title race … and they still have toplay Chelsea twice.
Stolcers to the fore
Last week may just prove to have been a decisive week in the title race in Division One. Top of the table Claygate Royals Hares hosted West Kensington Kings (WKK) …. and summarily swept the board with them. They won 7-0.
John Small grabbed a couple for the Hares, James Scallan and Matt Taylor also chipped in. The main man was nonetheless the ex-Latvia international (just the 81 caps) and former Fulham, Shakthar Donetsk, Spartak Moscow (and, in what was no doubt the highlight of a sparkling career, Chessington Sports and Social Vets) player Andrejs Stolcers. Not too many players in the WLVFL have a ‘greatest ever goals’ video on YouTube, but, well, Stolcers does (see here; the lovely little chip 1m10 in is the best in my book). He hit a hat-trick on Saturday as the Hares cantered home. The pressing question now is whether Hares’ skipper Michael Smith, a man who was absent on last week, is actually going to get back in the side…..
Elsewhere, Old Actonians moved into second place. They were involved in a very tight affair against fellow promotion chasers Whippet Wanderers. Jamie Grainger-Smith gave the Whippets a first half lead, but Actonians soon drew level. Shaun Lydon put Wanderers back in front early in the second half but Actonians fought back gamely. Indeed, they won the match (3-2) with a last minute penalty. A decent game by the sounds of things.
Civil Service continued their revival, gaining revenge for a defeat on the opening day of the season at Jamrock Steppa. Adam Jones scored a couple of great headers for Civils, one that was reminiscent of Andy Gray (the real one, not one of the 1990s poor imitations) in his pomp. Rob Hodgson also grabbed a couple, with Jimmy Benn scored the final goal in a 5-2 triumph. The less said about the comedy own goal that Civils also managed the better.
The final game of the day was also a high-scoring affair, Laleham & Kempton coming out 4-2 victors against poor old Old Tiffs. Shaun McGregor and Nigel White were on target for Tiffs, but ultimately that wasn’t enough to prevent Laleham & Kempton from prevailing. The defeat leaves Tiffs bottom of the pile. Laleham & Kempton, meanwhile, are now in touching distance of mid-table (see here).
Double H move into second
With Hillingdon Abbots in cup action, Double H had the opportunity to make up ground on the league leaders in Division Two. And, that they did, defeating Army Crusaders 2-0.
Molesey Lighthouse moved up to fourth. They beat MMB by the odd goal in seven. The three points sees Lighthouse jump above the inactive Bank of England 2nds.
The final game in the division saw Old Tens travel to bottom of the table Old Meadonians. Goals were hard to come by there and indeed the final score was 0-0. The point was nonetheless enough to see Meadonians move up to 8th and a little closer to safety (see here for the table).
Hersham Southside run riot
With Ascot United 2s winning on Friday night against Croxley in Division Three, the pressure on was on HershamSouthside to respond. And, that they did, coming out emphatically on top against Clapham Xaverians.
Clapham were without their star man, Matt Cefai, but they will nonetheless have been a touch disappointed to have gone down 8-3. Hersham started off like a hurricane and with little more than half an hour on the clock they were five goals to the good. Xavs pulled two back by half-time, but Hershamthen got back into the scoring groove in the second period.
Steve Reddings again led the way. He bagged four. Adam Preece-Thomas notched a hat-trick and Ash Martin got the final one. In truth, Hersham could have had a few more, too.
The win puts Hersham back four points clear. Ascot United are second, Croxley third and Clapham stay fourth. Latimer Road could have jumped into the play off places had they beaten Claygate Royals Hounds. They didn’t, the hosts won 3-2. Jonathan Pim, Pat Nathanson and Eric Hartman scored the goals for Claygate in what was an excellent weekend for the club. Their 3rd (!) Vets’ side also managed a hard-earned draw; there can’t be many clubs about that are putting out three Vets’ sides over the same weekend. Respect due.
The final game in the division saw AFC Hampton register their first win of the campaign. They beat Old Tiffs’ 2nds 3-2. Josh Wilkins and Richard Jones were on target for Tiffs, but they couldn’t stave off defeat. Hampton are now just one point behind them in the ladder (see here for the table).
The final game of the weekend saw first division Wandsworth Borough host second division Hillingdon Abbots in the League Cup.
It was the Abbots who started stronger, racing into a two goallead. Wandsworth, however, are nothing if not resilient and they soon bounced back. Dwayne Carrington-Jones bagged four for Hillingdon, but Wandsworth scored six of their own. Borough move on into the quarter-finals.
Those quarter-finals will all be taking place this coming weekend. As a reward for beating Hillingdon, Wandsworth travel to Sporting Kitz. Army Crusaders host Whippet Wanderers in the only tie not involving a premier league side. Ascot United are off to Spelthorne to face Hersham Southside and last season’s finalists – Chelsea Vets and West London Rams – meat in the fourth and final game.
Elsewhere, there are two other games taking place. Bank of England host Kew Park Rangers in the Prem whilst Old Tens are off to Old Lyonians in Division Two.
Go well everyone.