Hartley Wintney 5 Hanwell Town 1
Away day blues
Making our way to play Hartley Whitney ,newly promoted to our Division for the first ever time, we were very warmly welcomed on arrival.
However, it was to prove not such a warm welcome out on the pitch as Hartley Whitney maintained their winning start to the season with a comprehensive 5-1 victory.
Our side showed several changes from that which had won our FA Cup Tie against Longlevens AFC the previous Saturday. Rather surprisingly, Georges Ehui the scorer of our winning goal in the cup tie was dropped to the bench enabling Ruddock Yala to move into a full back position whilst on the opposite flank, Kyle Watson replaced the unwell Joe Chandiram in his more normal full back role. These moves allowed Robin Nicholls and Jesse Kewley-Graham to come into the mid field with Robin making his first appearance of the season whilst Jesse's only previous involvement had been from the substitute's bench. The final change saw Harvey Killeen in the starting line up instead of the unavailable Peter Dean.
There was little indication in the opening ten minutes of the likely final scoreline as playing some very neat football we enjoyed by far the best of the game but on the ten minute mark there was an indication of what there was to come as a fierce shot from the home side's Adam Everiss brought out a flying save from Xavi as he turned the ball around the post. From the resultant corner we broke clear down the left with Harvey in acres of space but his final pass which was meant for Michael Malcolm through on goal was over hit and Paul Strudley in the home team goal was quickly off his line to gather the ball In the twenty first minute, the home side took the lead. A driven low cross into our goalmouth was diverted over his own cross bar by Callum Duffy as he stretched to clear. The corner kick taken by Luke Perkins saw the ball bounce around in our area like a pin ball before it was headed home on the far post by Sam Argent. It seemed from our protests that Argent could have been offside but the assistant's flag stayed down and the goal was awarded.
We then had an absolutely disastrous ten minutes in which we conceded three further goals to make the final result inevitable.
The first of the three came when a long clearance by the keeper was back headed by Jesse as he tried to head clear. This header seemed to completely wrong foot Callum and Oliver at the centre of our defence and Luke Perkins raced clear with only Xavi to beat. Xavi checked him slightly but the ball ran through to Argent who had an easy task to tap it into an empty net.
Three minutes later we were three down, as a long raking forward pass from Adam New was anticipated as Paul Hodges raced through our static defence and simply flicked the ball past Xavi who was completely stranded.
Another long clearance from defence shortly after led to their fourth goal. Argent flicked it on into the path of Everiss who lashed a great shot into the roof of our net giving Xavi no chance.
At this stage of the game it looked as if the home side would score almost every time they attacked and they should have done, when Perkins latching onto a mistake by Kyle shot weakly at Xavi from point blank range and then from a long corner to the far post, the completely unmarked New headed straight at Xavi.
Any hopes that things would get better after Ray's half time talk were quickly squashed when Hodges with only Xavi to beat shot into the side netting but from the goal kick Xavi instead of clearing down field gave a short pass to Michael Buckley on the edge of our penalty area. Michael immediately under pressure was dispossessed by Hodges who side footed the ball to Argent who completed his hat trick, not the sort of gift that this former Southampton player should give to our Club President, making a very welcome return after his recent illness.
In the fiftieth minute we had our first real attempt on goal with Callum Wright curling the ball just wide after being set up by Harvey. Calum Duffy hen found the opponents net but was yards offside. We scored our consolation goal in the fifty eighth minute when the ball bounced around in their penalty area and Harvey was tripped as he tried to bring the ball under control. Michael Buckley scored from the spot, our first league goal of the season !!.
The game rather petered out after this with both sides using all three of their substitutes and goalmouth action at a premium. The introduction of Tom Hunt up front gave the Hartley Whitney back four some problems whilst both Charlie Mitchell and Glen Yala made some promising runs down the flanks.
The only time that either side found the net was when Argent volleyed home at the far post a tremendous cross by one of the Hartley substitutes, Steve Duffy, but he was offside.
The final chance fell at the other end to Tom latching onto a fine chipped through ball by Michael but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Side; Xavi Comas, Ruddock Yala, Kyle Watson, Michael Buckley, Oliver Duffy, Calum Duffy, Callum Wright, Robin Nicholls, Michael Malcolm, Jesse Kewley-Graham and Harvey Killeen. Subs used:
Tom Hunt for Michael Malcolm and Glen Yala for Jesse Kewley-Graham (50) and Charlie Mitchell for Callum Wright (67) Unused substitutes Georges Ehui and Ricky Pither