Marlow 3 Hanwell Town 1
After their excellent all-round display against AFC Dunstable despite the defeat, Hanwell Town travelled to Marlow on a very cold evening with high hopes of bringing back some points, particularly as Marlow themselves had suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at Beaconsfield Town just seventy-two hours previously, a performance described by their Chairman in the Board Room prior to the game as being dreadful.
Our side showed two changes from the AFC Dunstable game, Calum Duffy returning from suspension in place of brother Tom whilst Ruddock Yala came in instead of the unavailable Jesse Kewley-Graham.
We made an excellent start to the game with Glen Yala making two incisive runs in the opening minutes. Alfie Cain then fizzed a low cross into the area, Charlie Mitchell coming in at the far post just failing to get the finishing touch.
However, we soon got an indication of what was to come when the Marlow centre forward Marcus Mealing making his two hundred and fiftieth appearance for the club played a ball inside Joe Chandiram leaving Allen Bossman with a clear run forward but to our relief his resultant cross was poor and we were able to get the ball away. Shortly after the Marlow keeper Oneal Garnes, standing in for the injured Simon Grant, made an excellent double save from Oliver Duffy, after a good interlink of passes between Alfie and Glen. Charlie shot straight at Garnes but play quickly moved to the other end when in an almost identical move, Bossman was once again through on the right but a tremendous block tackle by Calum Duffy saved our day. Both defences were looking vulnerable and it almost seemed inevitable that somebody was to score and so it proved. Once again, Bossman was running clear down the right and his cross was acrobatically turned past Sam Bunting by Mealing to celebrate his 25th anniversary. Minutes later we should have equalised, a miss kick by Ruddock sent the ball straight into the path of Glen but his first touch let him down and the ball ran easily into the arms of Garnes. As the game progressed so did our play get worse and worse and one lost count of the number of passes that went astray, with nobody seemingly able to find a colleague. Exempt from this criticism is Peter Dean who at this stage of the game was arguably our best player. As the half drew to a close, the Marlow left winger Isaac Osei-Tutu got away from Georges Ehui but with only Sam to beat he steered the ball wide of the far post and then Sam made a terrific double save from Junaid Bell to send us in at the interval just one goal down.
Five minutes into the second half, we should have equalised when Glen Yala was through on goal with only Garnes to beat but he shot woefully wide of the near post and the chance was gone. Alfie Cain then drove a shot just over the bar after the ball had been pushed back into his path by Ollie Duffy who worked tirelessly in what turned out to be a lost cause.
With a lack of any midfield cover, Marlow were finding the gaps in our back line and Sam made a terrific save when Mealing was right through with the goal at his mercy. Just after the hour mark, we made a double substitution, with Gabriel Piorkowski and Mecin Quarry replacing Ruddock Yala and Alfie Cain. Just four minutes after these substitutions we were two down. A strong run down the left by Osei-Tutu left several in his wake and from the byline he pulled the ball back across goal where Bossman had a simple tap in from close range. Marlow were now in complete control and they looked likely to score almost every time that they went forward. Sam once again was faced with a one on one situation and once again he was able to turn the ball to safety, this time from Marlow's Jahson Downes. He then saved again from Mealing before the crossbar came to his rescue from a point blank effort by the same player. Marlow made use of all three of their substitutes and we made our third and final substitution, new signing Sam Pekun coming on for Peter Dean with just ten minutes remaining.
One of the Marlow substitutes, Jordace Holder-Spooner missed an easy chance to make it four before the almost inevitable happened in the ninetieth minute when Mealing was right through again and this time there was no mistake as he slid the ball past Sam. Deep into injury time we scored a consolation goal. A free kick by Joe Chandiram being flicked on by Calum Duffy and Nick Turner turned the ball past Garnes on the far post.
Side; Sam Bunting, George Ehui, Joe Chandiram, Nick Turner, Calum Duffy, Oliver Duffy (capt), Ruddock Yala, Peter Dean, Glen Yala, Charlie Mitchell and Alfie Cain.
Substitutes used: Gabriel Piorkowski and Mecin Qarri for Ruddock Yala and Alfie Cain (63) and Sam Pekun for Peter Dean (80)