Southampton Football League Veterans Over 35’s Cup Final

Nursling Vets 1

(Lee Smith)

Romsey Town Vets 2

(Simon De’ath, Lee Chudy)

Attendance: 76 (approx. headcount)

The Bypass Ground

Two cup finals in the space of a week, involving the same teams that I watched last Thursday at Follands Park.

Nursling and Romsey Town Vets were again going to head to head with silverware on offer, with Romsey on course for a hat trick of cups and the league title well in reach.

Last week, penalties were needed to decide the tie after an evenly matched 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. I was always going to try and make it to all of Romsey’s cup finals and tonight couldn’t have been easier. The game was played at the Bypass Ground, a stone throw from home.

This veterans football has been great fun to watch this season, it’s an over 35 league which means that the game still has a bit of pace to it and isn’t like the walking football you see on the Barclays advert.

I had a really good night at the club, I was made to feel very welcome and it was great to meet first team manager Andy Samuels and Phil Rowland who are part of a great team of people involved with the club.

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The Game

Romsey Town Vets added their second trophy in a week with a 2-1 victory over Nursling Vets in the Southampton Football League Veterans Over 35’s Cup Final.

Lee Smith, who missed the decisive penalty in last week’s final for Nursling, cancelled out Simon De’ath’s opener before Lee Chudy struck a sweet second half free kick into the top corner to seal the victory for Romsey.

Like the game between the two sides last week, this match was frantic in the opening exchanges, the tackles a little less feisty but the competitiveness was there for all to see.

The first chance of the game fell to Romsey’s number ten, Chudy, who couldn’t direct his volley on target.

Nursling were causing problems at the other end, with a couple of wayward efforts and plenty of offside decisions thwarting the greens attack.

The first goal did fall to Romsey and Simon De’ath made no mistakes with his header inside the box after an excellent delivery from a Gary Fulker free kick.

Nursling reacted quickly and it wasn’t long before the scores were level again when captain Ben Penfold received the ball wide on the right wing before picking out his strike partner Smith with a low pass across the box who had an easy tap in past Ben Wilson.

Penfold went close to putting Nursling ahead when he chased down and blocked Matt Hambridge’s clearance before scooping the ball hideously wide from a tight angle.

In an even first half James Black smashed a long-range effort straight over the bar.

Nursling finished the half with a good spell of pressure, starting with a well-taken free kick that was too hot to handle for Wilson who tipped the ball around the post.

Kevin Booth was perfectly positioned to clear the ball off the line and keep the scores level going into the break after Wilson’s weak punch to clear the ball away fell to Stuart Salter, however Booth was on the line to clear away the shot.

Romsey were forced into a change at the break with left-winger Eddie Carlin coming off with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Kevin Love.

Lee Smith went close to putting Nursling ahead early in the second half but Wilson reacted quickly to come off his line and smother the ball away at the striker’s feet.

Hambridge nearly became the hero for Romsey when a powerful header sailed over the bar from a Chudy free kick.

De’ath had the ball in the back of the net again for Romsey but the linesman had a clear view and put his flag up for offside.

Paddy James gave a soft free kick away on the edge of the box when he was adjudged to have fouled Chudy 25-yards from goal. The decision seemed a bit unfair in the context of the game and James was booked for his protests.

Chudy stepped up and with his stronger left foot swung a sweet free kick into the corner with birthday boy Dave Ariss stretching enough to make contact but he couldn’t stop the ball going over the line.

Nursling showed great spirit and kept up the pace, causing some problems in the Romsey half, most notably a Penfold free kick was spilled by Wilson before being pounced on at the second attempt.

Lee Smith bottled Nursling’s best chance of equalising when a big hoof up field by Simon Eagle caught out the Romsey defence and Smith was through on goal, however with a bit of pressure by the Romsey defenders tracking back he fired over the bar and into the car park behind the goal.

The win secures Romsey’s second cup of the season and Saturday could seal promotion if results go their way with another final to be contested next Wednesday (5th April) when they face Gosport Vets in the SDFA Vets Final.

2016/17 Games: 115

2016/17 Grounds: 62 (10)

Total Grounds Visited: 155 (41)

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