Southampton Football League Veterans Over 35’s Cup Semi Final

Romsey Town Veterans 4

(Ben Andrews, Lee Chudy, Greg King, James Black)

Gosport FC Veterans 2

(OG, Robert Stock)

Attendance: 16 approx. headcount

Wide Lane (University of Southampton)

I say this more often than not, but Saturday’s are MADE for football. Forget anything else, whether you have had a good week or a bad week, whatever your colour, wherever you go, get yourself down to a pitch and watch a game of football (or play if you’d prefer).

Now as I approach 80 games just this season alone, I have never once thought about watching veteran’s football. But here I am, stood at Wide Lane Sports Ground watching 22 ‘veterans’ rolling back the years with some maybe having less hair than they used to!

Knowing someone who plays for Romsey Town Veterans may have aided my decision to go and check them out and I wasn’t left disappointed. Now many could argue that over 35 is no age for a veterans league and they should still be playing men’s football, however there is obviously enough interest to get a couple of divisions just in the Southampton Saturday Football League alone, never mind in other cities/regions.

The pace of the game was still good, maybe the legs to run after the ball weren’t quite there but I enjoyed my afternoon out. It also gave me another chance to give my camera a go; sports photography is something I am keen to add to my basket of tricks.

The Ground

As mentioned above, for this particular game, it was a neutral venue for a cup semi final and it was my third trip to Wide Lane this season having watched a couple of BUCS fixtures for the University of Southampton there.

For my notes on the place, please visit: Travelling To- University of Southampton.

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The Game

Romsey Town Veterans reached the final of the O35’s League Cup with a 4-2 victory over Gosport.

Town came from a goal down to continue their unbeaten season in their debut campaign. Ben Andrews put the ball into his own net to give Gosport the lead before capitalising on a goalkeeper blunder to equalise right before the break.

Lee Chudy and Greg King put Romsey 3-1 up in the second half before Robert Stock pulled Gosport back into reach. However substitute James Black sealed the victory with a late goal to end the game 4-2.

Gosport, who play one division higher than their opponents, were surviving the early onslaught as Eddie Carlin blasted wide before Chudy forced a good reaction save from Chris Passmore moments later.

Carlin then had another good chance to score but he snatched at the shot on the edge of the box and it took a little deflection off the defender and out for a corner.

Gosport did take the lead through some comical defending, when Craig Martin took throw in back to Dan Homer in his own box. Homer made a hash of it and was tackled by Jason Thomas who passed the ball across the goal and it hit Andrews before rolling over the line.

Romsey then had a clear shout for a penalty when Chudy was tripped in the box but the referee waved play on despite shouts from the bench.

Town were lucky not to concede a penalty soon afterwards when Ben Wilson spilled a routine catch from Mark Peach’s effort and he bundled over Michael Summers who had collected the loose ball, but again the referee was happy for play to go on and Romsey cleared their lines.

Romsey were a constant threat in attack as Carlin went close again with a shot from the left and Andrews headed wide from a corner.

The crossbar kept Gosport in the lead when Chudy picked up a diagonal ball and raced towards goal and tried a chip that beat Passmore but came back off the bar before King messed up the rebound.

Right on the stroke of half time, Andrews made up for his early own goal by pulling the scores level with a tap in on the line. Martin swung a free kick into the box which Blues defender Darren Smith looked to have headed back to Passmore with ease, however the ‘keeper spilt the ball by the post, allowing Andrews to poke in the equaliser.

It was soon 2-1 to Romsey after the restart when King played a good ball over the Chudy who was sliced down by Craig Finch who somehow escaped a red card for being last man as he walked away with just a booking.

Chudy stepped up to take a sweet penalty into the corner to put Town in front for the first time of the afternoon.

It wasn’t long before Romsey were really showing why they hadn’t lost a game this season and they added a third through King when he connected with Matthew Hambridge’s flick on to side foot under the ‘keeper.

King made way for Kevin Booth who missed a sitter that would have out the game to bed shortly after coming on.

Gosport found a second wind and pulled one back through Stock who curled a lovely effort low into the corner just out of the outreached arm of Wilson.

The Blues could sense a comeback on the cards as they penned Romsey into their own half with a good spell of pressure as Peach and Stock both hit shots wide of the mark.

Darren Williamson had a good chance when he hit a volley at goal for Gosport but again it lacked the direction needed to cause Wilson any issues.

With tired legs setting in, Romsey found themselves attacking in numbers and Booth played in Carlin who waited for support before putting in a good cross into the box for substitute Black to bundle in at the far post to round off an impressing second half display for Town and put Romsey into the final.

2016/17 Games: 79

2016/17 Grounds: 56

Total Grounds Visited: 149 (38)

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