The final of the Middlesex Veterans Cup was played at Middlesex FA’s Rectory Park HQ on Sunday 20th June, between Middlesex Wanderers AFC and Parkfield Youth Old Boys Vets.
This is the 4th consecutive season in which Middlesex Wanderers have reached this stage of our competition. They won the finals of 2018 and 2019 but were prevented by the Covid restrictions from playing last season’s match against Jamrock Vets.
Parkfield reformed 2 seasons ago as a Vets side after 10 years of inactivity.
Middlesex Wanderers reached this season’s final with victories over Feltham United Vets (4-3 home), West London Vets (13-0 home) and West London Oldstars (3-0 away). Parkfield beat Queen Mary College OB (13-0 away), AFC Brentford Vets (3-2 away), Jamrock Vets (5-2 home) and London Lions Veterans (on penalties after a 2-2 away draw).
Brett Donnelly (9) scores Wanderers' first goal
Middlesex Wanderers started aggressively and after Ricci Crace had fired just wide, took the lead in the13th minute, when Brett Donnelly scored from close range after being put through by Steve Wales.
Both sides then had scoring opportunities from free kicks. Michael Ford of Parkfield was narrowly off target from a wide angle and a kick, quickly taken by Wanderers’ Mark Bentley was headed over by Brett Donnelly.
Mark Hynes (10) puts Parkfield level at 1-1
Parkfield equalised in the 28th minute through Mark Hynes, who took advantage of a mix up between the goalkeeper and a defender.
The score remained at 1-1 for less than a minute, before captain Mark Bentley restored Wanderers’ lead by volleying home a cross from Spencer Knight.
Mark Bentley (6) volleys home Spencer Knight's cross to restore Wanderers' lead
Wanderers’ Ricci Crace earned himself 10 minutes in the “sin bin” and in his absence, Parkfield equalised again. Danny Tilbury netted in the 36th minute, after keeper, Ed Thompson had saved a shot from Gift Douglas.
Danny Tilbury (11) hits a second equaliser for Parkfield
Then Mark Bentley’s finish was just wide after an aggressive run.
Half time score: Middlesex Wanderers AFC 2 Parkfield Youth Old Boys Vets 2
Mark Bentley put Middlesex Wanderers’ back in the lead in 52nd minute, with a well struck half volley.
Mark Bentley (6) hits Wanderers' third goal
Parkfield now exerted considerable pressure in search of another equaliser. Danny Tilbury’s drive from around 25 yards was well saved by Ed Thompson. Victor Badu’s pace down the left wing troubled the Wanderers but several moves foundered on their defence.
Proceedings got very heated and referee Nigel Hickes had to intervene to break up a potential mass brawl. In the 80th minute, Parkfield’s Mark Hynes talked himself into the “sin bin”.
Chris Moore (14) hits Wanderers' fourth goal
The loss of a player affected Parkfield play and they quickly conceded a 4th goal. Chris Moore ran through the middle and slotted the ball into the net to the keeper’s right.
Alistair Harris (7) of Parkfield shoots narrowly wide
Spencer Knight had a further chance for Wanderers but keeper Sam Styles turned his close range effort for a corner. The last chance of the match fell to Parkfield’s Alastair Harris, who broke clear but shot wide.
Final score: Middlesex Wanderers AFC 4 Parkfield Youth Old Boys Vets 2
Mark Bentley (Middlesex Wanderers) was chosen as Player of the Match.
After the presentation ceremony, the audience was treated to the traditional Middlesex Anthem, complete with the Lamb mascot, sung by the Middlesex Wanderers team.
The winners with the cup and the Lamb
Referee Nigel Hickes handled the match well. He was ably assisted by Steven Pordes and Merv Hughes and Fourth Official, Brett Miller.
The all-ticket attendance was 48.
MIDDLESEX WANDERERS AFC
Ed Thompson, Steve Ward, Dave Bastian, Tony Fontenelle, John Stevenson, Mark Bentley (capt), Steve Wales, Ricci Crace, Brett Donnelly, Chris Moore and Spencer Knight.
Substitutes (rolling substitutes are used in this competition): Adam Parker, Ivan Spikin, Francis Duku and Colm Hickey.
Manager: Nicky Ironton Assistant Manager: Eddie McCluskey.
PARKFIELD YOUTH OLD BOYS VETS
Sam Styles, Marcus Denton, David Toye, Neil Short, Michael Ford, Cristian Barrett (capt), Shaun Lydon, Alastair Harris, Danny Tilbury, Mark Hynes and Victor Badu.
Substitutes: Gift Douglas, Chris Pigott, Matt Tilbury, Darren Herbert and Kevin Blair.
Managers: Rod Pigott & Chris Pigott Assistant Manager: George Jones.
Our official photographer Chris Benn, as ever, has provided some fantastic imagery from the game. If using these photos please give credit.
Chris has selected 9 highlight images which can be found here.
Readers wishing to view the full gallery of images can find these here.
The match programme can be found here.