Egham Town 1 Hanwell Town 0
For the second Saturday in succession, we walked off the pitch at the end of ninety minutes, having given our all in search of some precious league points with nothing to show for our efforts.Whilst the previous Saturday at Bedford it could have been said that on the basis of chances created that Bedford deserved to win, it was the complete reversal on this occasion and now typing this report some seventy two hours after the game, it is still difficult to understand how we lost.
Our side showed some changes from that which had played against Hendon in mid week with Ollie Duffy and Charlie Mitchell returning to the line up along with Ned Clarke and Luke Aifano.
The Egham side included Marcus Mealing who just three weeks previously had played his 250th game for Marlow against us scoring twice and celebrating wildly, what price loyalty !! On a pitch, perfectly playable despite the recent snow and heavy rain and an overnight frost, we made a bright beginning and dominated the play in the opening minutes showing lots of energy. On the quarter hour mark, Reece York, the Egham skipper, became the first of the nine players whose name would eventually go into the match referees notebook , stupidly kicking the ball away virtually right under the referee's nose.
As the half progressed so did Egham come more and more into the game but our defence stood firm although we had some nervous moments when they sent a succession of corner kicks into our crowded goal area. At the other end there were shooting chances for both Ned Clarke and Charlie Mitchell but neither got any real power into their shots and keeper Aaron Bufton was able to save comfortably.
We then had a scare when Sam Bunting failed to gather safely Wayne Carter's free kick and there was a scramble in our goalmouth before the ball was hacked to safety.
We then put together a tremendous move involving Ned,Luke,Alfie Cain and Mergin Qarri which culminated in the ball reaching Alfie in a shooting position but he shot narrowly wide.
Ten minutes before the interval, Charlie from distance shot just wide and then an excellent pass by Mergin Qarri gave Charlie another shooting opportunity but Bufton made an excellent save, blocking the ball with his body as it seemed destined for the far corner of the net.
On the stroke of half time, Egham against the run of play at this stage took the lead. Peter Dean was caught in possession as he dwelt on the ball which Callum Webb played into the path of Jordan Frederick cutting in from the left. His low shot evaded Sam as he came out to narrow the angle, slipping in the process, and the ball found its way into our net. A huge blow at such a crucial stage of the game.
The second half started in controversial fashion when there was a clash between Calum Duffy and Mealing which culminated in Mealing being shown a red card whilst Calum, slightly fortunate perhaps, was just shown yellow.
Seemingly now it appeared content to sit on their lead, Egham sat back and allowed us to come at them with only the occasional foray up front. As a result we dominated the half winning perhaps as many as fifteen corners, all of which gave us a glimmer of hope with either Mergin or Charlie swinging their kicks right into the Egham goal area. Bufton was in continuous action palming the ball away as time and again it swung under the Egham cross bar and when he was beaten, there was an Egham defender to head the ball to safety. On more than one occasion, there were scrambles in the Egham goalmouth when it seemed that on just the law of averages if nothing else that we would get the opportunity to find the net but it was not to be.
We used all three of our substitutes, with Simon Corcoran replacing Ned Clarke, Glen Yala coming on for Nick Turner as we switched to just three a the back and then in the last few minutes, Sam Pekun replaced Charlie Mitchell. Egham replaced the tiring Mattie Woods who had been fighting a lone battle up front with Brendon Matthew as the final minutes ticked away. Eventually the final whistle was blown much to the elation of the Egham side with us just wondering how we had not got anything out of the game.
Side; Sam Bunting, Calum Duffy, Mason Welch-Turner, Oliver Duffy, Nick Turner, Luke Aifano, Mergin Qarri, Alfie Cain, Ned Clarke, Peter Dean and Charlie Mitchell. Substitutes used: Simon Corcoran for Ned Clarke (61), Glen Yala for Nick Turner (67) and Sam Pekun for Charlie Mitchell (87). Unused substitutes Jesse Kewley-Graham and Elijah Seymour.