Hanwell Town 2 Fleet Town 0
Although it is still very early in the season this game ranked as a ‘six-pointer’ considering the position of both teams in the basement of the division. Perhaps the consequences of a defeat explained the lack of creativity and adventure of both sides throughout most of the first half. The opening five minutes had looked promising with both sides going close. For Fleet Patrik Ruzicka headed a Nick Sowden ball into the box narrowly over, while for Town, Calum Duffy did likewise from a Jesse Kewley-Graham cross. A strong run and low cross by Kyle Watson saw Callum Wright’s shot deflected for a corner, while Ruzicka was thwarted by Xavi Comas in the Hanwell goal at the other end in the fifteenth minute. Apart from a few long-range shots, hit more in hope than expectation by both sides, nothing much more of note happened for the ensuing half an hour. However, as half-time approached, Hanwell finally conjured up some excitement when Charlie Mitchell’s free kick was headed across the crowded six yard box by Oliver Duffy, but the visitors managed to turn the bobbling ball away for a corner.
The lack of penetration by both teams continued into the second half. Part of Hanwell’s problem seemed to be the speed and dribbling ability of Fleet’s wide men, Gilberto Abril and Danilo Cadete. Their threat was preventing Hanwell’s wing backs from getting forward which is a necessity with a ’back three’ system. With ten minutes of the half played there was a scary moment for Hanwell supporters when Nick Turner almost turned the ball into his own net, forcing a sprawling dive from Xavi Comas.
As the half progressed Hanwell were playing more and more in their opponent’s half but neither Glen nor Callum could prise their arms (and shirts) away from the extremely close attentions of the visiting defenders at this stage of the game. However, as the hour mark was passed they began to find some space. Firstly a neat inter-change of passes between the pair was halted by a timely tackle. Then Glen dribbled deep into the area only to see his low ball across the face of the goal turned narrowly wide of his own net by a Fleet defender. Hanwell were looking better now and with Olly doing a lot of covering Kyle began to get forward down the Hanwell left flank to cause the visitors some concern.
In the seventy-seventh minute the breakthrough came. Olly found Callum in space. He cut into the area despite the close attendance of two defenders and picked out the supporting Glen, who slotted in from close range. Ten minutes later Olly won the ball and surged down the left and crossed to Callum who put the ball over the bar under pressure. With the clock ticking towards ninety minutes Hanwell, to the relief of the home supporters, doubled their advantage. Peter Dean’s probing ball was well controlled by Callum under restraint. He managed to swivel and shoot, the ball bobbling into the net off a defender.
The game was still not over as almost eight minutes of extra time were played, following several stoppages for injury, one of which resulted in the need of a stretcher. Even though the Hanwell rear-guard continued to look solid the visitors, to their credit, continued to press and Xavi was twice called into action the first being a particularly timely dive at the feet of Cadete as he burst into the area. The final whistle was eventually blown, as five o’clock approached, and Hanwell had accrued a much-needed three points!
A lasting memory will be The Club’s President’s pre-match behaviour. Well known for his superstition of wearing the same jacket throughout unbeaten runs, he appeared to have adopted a more bizarre pre-match routine this week, when he was spotted on the pitch, on his hands and knees, just seconds before kick-off. It transpired, however, that he had not been praying for a victory, but removing a ‘present’ left by a creature of the vulpine persuasion! What dedication!
TEAM: 1.Xavi Comas 2.Charlie Mitchell 3.Kyle Watson © 4.Nick Turner 5.Calum Duffy 6.Oliver Duffy 7.Peter Dean 8.Jesse Kewley-Graham (17.Chris Mills 74) 9.Glen Yala 10.Callum Wright 11.David Sangola. Unused substitutes: 12.Georges Ehui 14.Tom Duffy 15.Ruddock Yala 16.Ricky Pither.