Hanwell Town 1 Northwood 3
This match against local rivals Northwood had the added spice of being a basement level ‘six-pointer’ and seeing three former Town ‘favourites’ return to the ‘Powerday Stadium’. The first half of the game, however, did not prepare the Hanwell faithful for what was to come in the second half. Town just shaded the first period and deserved their slender half time advantage. The second half saw the visitors’ nimble front runners exposing Town’s rear guard as the home side pressed for a winner and later for an equalizer.
With less than three minutes played Hanwell turned a Northwood corner into a pitch length attacking move. The ball moved swiftly from Peter Dean’s clearance to Callum Wright on the right, to Kyle Watson on the left. Kyle’s run and cross found a fast arriving Callum in the box but he was thwarted by a combination of a defender and ‘keeper Brendan Hazlett. The visitors retaliated immediately and had two shots on target. The first was bravely blocked by Tom Duffy and the second well held by Xavi Comas. It was Hanwell’s turn next and a run and cross by Charlie Mitchell was met by Glen Yala but deflected for a corner. Northwood attacked next and Joe Chandiram did well to halt Evan Kouassi’s dangerous looking run towards the Hanwell goal.
The end to end pattern was to continue and a run and pass by former ‘Geordie’ Harry Newman found Jermaine Osei and Xavi did well to hold on to his low shot. Hanwell then strung together a move involving a dozen passes but it only resulted in Charlie’s cross being headed clear when it deserved better. Then, just before the twenty minute mark, Town took the lead. Glen’s ball into Callum went for a corner which was headed clear by the visitors, but only as far as Jesse Kewley-Graham. He controlled the bouncing sphere and drove it back into the penalty area where Calum Duffy drove it into the net.
Five minutes later it seemed certain that the Woods would equalize when Osei beat the offside trap and went around Xavi. He had, however, been funnelled wide of the goal from whence he found only the side netting. Three minutes later long-time Hanwell playmaker Michael Buckley went close from twenty-five yards for his new club. Xavi was soon in action again, saving from Kouassi while at the other end Georges went on a strong run before shooting disappointingly wide. Although Hanwell were having a lot of possession and territorial advantage with Peter at the heart of a lot of the moves, they were not managing to create enough in the opposition box. Northwood were looking menacing on the break and as the half time whistle approached Osei was kept at bay when Xavi dived at his feet.
The second half began with both Tom and Calum blocking on-target shots from in-form striker Osei. A minute later, in the forty-eighth, Kouassi set off on a mazy run before playing a one-two with Osei prior to netting for the equalizer. Town responded well and with the ‘Massive’ in full voice went after a second goal. Three decent moves down the field were all held at bay before Calum went very close from way out on the right.
Northwood then had a really good spell with Kouassi was looking a real handful and Xavi was called upon to save his goal-bound effort ten minutes into the half. On the hour Xavi saved well at Newman’s feet, with the follow-up corner being scrambled away as the ball bounced around dangerously. The pressure continued and both Marcus Rose and Osei tested Xavi. Kouassi was proving to be a real thorn in the side for Hanwell. Thankfully he fired into the side netting when through after sixty-five minutes, after which his dangerous cross was intercepted by an alert Calum. However, in the seventy-fourth minute the Hanwell defence was finally breached. Peter was robbed of the ball in mid-field enabling Kouassi to race clear. His shot was well saved by Xavi but it rebounded out to him, enabling him to set up substitute Mahlondo Martin to score from close range.
Hanwell came back into the game well after such a setback but failed to create any clear cut chances despite a lot of good possession. Against the run of play the Woods made the game safe when a hopeful ball up-field was seized upon by Osei and crashed into the net to make it three-one. To their credit Hanwell and their supporters did not give up but again, possession plus effort did not add up to chances created. The final whistle brought a real feeling of disappointment. No points had been gained, the unbeaten run was over and the President needs to buy a new jacket!
TEAM: 1.Xavi Comas 2.Charlie Mitchell 3.Kyle Watson © 4.Tom Duffy 5.Calum Duffy 6.Joe Chandiram 7.Peter Dean 8.Jesse Kewley-Graham (15.Harvey Killeen 67) 9.Glen Yala (12.Tom Hunt 75) 10.Callum Wright 11.Georges Ehui (14.David Sangolo 65). Unused substitute: 16.Ricky Pither.