1 February 2023
Back to it for the Vets
The last weekend in January was a quiet one in the West London Vets’ League (WLVFL). Just the four games took place as most sides took a breather after what’s been a busy(ish) January. Neither of the Ascot United sides were in action as the Yellas took the chance to catch breath over their weekend off.
Hillingdon stretch their lead
Division Two saw the most action, with two games taking place. Hillingdon Abbots were originally scheduled to be playing Wandsworth Borough in the last 16 of the League Cup but that game was pushed back to 4 February on account of the Borough being in AFA Cup action elsewhere. Hillingdon subsequently decided to use the free slot to play Bank of England 2nds.
The Bank ran the league leaders close in what was a cracking game. Hillingdon started brightly, Richard Gnaulati and Dewayne Carrington-Jones putting them two goals to the good. The Bank, however, fought back impressively, Farouk Ampou El Ela scoring with fifteen minutes or so left. The visitors then laid siege to the Hillingdon goal, but theequaliser simply wouldn’t come. A welcome win for Hillingdon that stretches their lead at the top to six points.
Elsewhere, Old Lyonians ran out 4-1 winners against Army Crusaders. Given that the Crusaders travelled with a bare 11 they did well to remain in the game for as long as they did. Their side included 64 year old (!) Pod O’Donohue at right back. Respect due.
A decent Lyonians outfit took an early lead, but Paul Stirling drew the Crusaders level before half time. Indeed, Crusadersthen had a decent half hour. Ultimately, however, Lyonianswere able to gain revenge for being knocked out of the League Cup by the Crusaders earlier in January, notching three second half goals to canter home. That win puts them joint second with Double H. Crusaders, meanwhile, remain fifth.
Xaverians come to the party
The final league game of the weekend took place in Division Three, Clapham Old Xaverians running out convincing winners at Croxley Community Vets.
Croxley is never the easiest place to go, but Xaverianswarmed to the challenge impressively. Given that Clapham’s previous three games were all (!) goalless draws, the outsider looking in might well have expected a tight one. Nope. A strong visiting side ran away with things, Sam Emmery and James Allen scoring in the first half, Matt Cefai (twice) and Adam Spooner scoring in the second. The win moves Clapham up to fourth, one point behind Croxley with a game in hand.
Elsewhere, Sporting Kitz welcomed MMB in league cup action. The game was always likely to be a stiff old challenge for the visitors, but they certainly battled hard. Kitz scored twice early doors, but Jody Yee then set up Dave Wellard at the back post to enable MMB to pull a goal back.
In the end, Kitz stretched away, the game ending 7-1, but there’s certainly good reason for MMB to take positives out of the performance. Kitz move on to the quarter-finals.
The weekend of the 3rd/4th February sees 13 games across the four divisions plus the final game in the last 16 of the League Cup. High-flying Hillingdon Abbots travel to Wandsworth Borough there. Should be an intriguing one.
In the Prem, Chelsea Vets welcome Sporting Kitz in what looks like a decidedly mouth-watering prospect. Chelsea areunbeaten in 2022-23 whilst Kitz have been beaten just the once. If Kitz were to come out on top then the race for the Premier League title really will be blown apart.
Elsewhere in the top flight Kew Park Rangers travel to Nottsborough in a game that will have a significant impact on the relegation shake up. Nottsborough will be desperate for a win. Indeed, if they manage that then they will jump out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Poly, the second team on the wrong side of the trap door, host what we can only assume will be a depleted West London Rams. Why do I say that? As Jody Morris, a regular member of the Rams’ midfield engine room, has just taken over as manager of Swindon Town. Not likely to be seeing him plying his trade in the WLVFL for a while.
Cracker incoming in Div 1
In Division One Leaders Claygate Royals have a weekend off. That offers second placed Whippet Wanderers the chance to make some inroads into their seven point lead at the top.
The Whippets, however, host third placed Old Actonians;definitely the game of the day in the division. Actonians are a point off second place (with a game in hand). One to keep an eye on.
At the bottom Old Tiffs will be hoping to leapfrog Laleham & Kempton. Tiffs are currently bottom, but a win would see them make serious inroads up the table. Second bottom Jamrock Steppa are also in action, they face a tricky trip to an improving Civil Service.
Three games in Div 2
With Hillingdon Abbots in action elsewhere, Double H will be looking to close the gap to the top. They welcome Army Crusaders.
The game of the day might well be at the other end of the table. Old Meadonians have just the one win to their name this season, but they’ll be hoping to improve on that when they play Old Tens. A win for Tenisonians could potentially see them jump from 7th to 4th. A defeat and by 5pm on Saturday they could be bottom of the table! All still very much up for grabs in Division Two.
The final game in the third tier sees MMB host Molesey Lighthouse. Molesey are currently fourth, although there’s a five point margin between them and third placed Lyonians. A win and they will just about still be in touch with the promotion-chasers.
In form Clapham welcome Hersham
Ascot United’s second string kick off the action in Division Three. The Yellas currently sit second and they welcome third placed Croxley to the Racecourse on Friday night.
Elsewhere, Hersham Southside are on the road again, they travel to an improving Clapham Old Xaverians. A win for Clapham and they will be smack, bang in the middle of the promotion shake up.
The bottom two, AFC Hampton and Old Tiffs’ 2nds, meet in Sunbury. Hampton haven’t managed a win yet this season, but they’ve also only lost once at home so far. Draw incoming? We shall see.
The final game of the weekend sees Claygate Royals Hounds welcome Latimer Road. Latimer are fifth, but they have games in hand. A win and they, too, will be close enough to the top four to keep promotion on the radar.
Go well, everyone.