Hadley Wood & Wingate 1 - 3 Harefield United
By Nikhil Saglani
Hadley Wood & Wingate’s run of two consecutive wins was ended at home to a strong Harefield United side. A starting XI and bench made up of many under-18 players left Summers Lane with much credit but zero points as clinical finishing from the visitors punished the young men.
The opening goal came on 15 minutes when Harefield skipper, Barrett was left unmarked at the far post from a corner and he headed into the ground and past Ross Weinrabe – much to the anger of the goalkeeper.
Four minutes later, it was 2-0. McLeish, who had seen two shots blocked in the opening 10 minutes, combined with Willis and the former was able to coolly finish past Weinrabe one-on-one after the Hadley Wood defence had been unpicked far too easy.
But the hosts did not cave in and give up. Nicholas Kouroushi produced a low, dangerous cross from the right wing but it was cleared at the near post ahead of two onrushing frontmen. Minutes later, Max Kyte headed a Kouroushi cross onto the post before Williams Agyei-Danquah – Hadley Wood’s best player on the day – saw his left footed effort saved from a tight angle.
McLeish nearly got his second but Weinrabe stayed big and saved well with his legs on the edge of the box – after the striker had got through the back line with ease. However, Hadley Wood went up the other end and pulled a goal back. Brad Marriott got the decisive touch on a Kouroushi corner and gave the hosts hope.
However four minutes later, McLeish beat the offside trap and finished low under Weinrabe – dispelling any hopes of an equaliser before half time. Andreas Kyprianou did try to pull one back – from 35 yards – but his effort dipped too late and sailed over the bar.
The second half was a much quieter affair. McLeish should have had his hat-trick but dragged a shot wide after excellent build up play down the visitors’ left wing. Agyei-Danquah continued to probe the Harefield defence and produced a wild shot from the right wing that stayed in play but was marshaled out for a goal kick by Dobbs.
Agyei-Danquah then made a darting run, playing the ball through to Kyte but Ratcliffe cleared the striker’s effort off the line.
In the 82nd minute, Christian Artimadis was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after a mistimed challenge. Fellow U18, Sam Morris then beat two men down the right wing before playing a through ball to Kyte, but the ‘keeper was out to gather – with the referee bringing the game to an end soon after.
Referee: Stewart Beekman
Hadley Wood & Wingate: Weinrabe, Mandeville, Agholar, Artimadis, Marriott, Cazaubon, Kouroushi, Casey (Osenie, 53), Kyte, Kyprianou (C) (Morris, 69), Agyei-Danquah.
Bench: Isiaih, Mafuta, Webb.
Harefield: Ballheimer, Dobbs, Green, Barrett (C), Ratcliffe, Mangan, Payne (Mukasa, 76), Underwood, McLeish (Collis, 83), Willis (McCarthy, 76), Clarkson.
Subs: Shaw, Skapetis.