First's lose feisty encounter
Despite a late Danny Fernandez goal, the first team went down to a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to high-flying Hanworth Villa on Monday night.
It was a fairly dull start to the game, with neither side getting on top in the opening exchanges. The first real chance came on eight minutes. Matty Auletta did well on the right, and forced a throw off Adam Baigent. From the delivery Adam Allen set the ball back to Jordan Johnson-Palmer, but he put his low effort wide of the left hand post.
Owen Davies and Aaron Bogle did well to stop the ever dangerous Levi King and back at the other end, and after a Bogle delivery had only been half cleared, Sam Blowers fired high over the crossbar.
Villa had a good chance to open the scoring on 19 minutes, when a long ball by Terry Buss was flicked on by King and Tom Neale dragged a shot wide of the right hand post. A minute later and Michael Campbell skipped passed a couple of challenges before bringing a good save, low down to his right by Buss.
Midway through the half, and Hanworths Athan Smith-Joseph and Michael Vincent collided when going for a header, with both suffering nasty cuts, and the pair were replaced by Ross Cheetham and Ade Oshilaja.
Just shy of the half hour and controversy was the order of the day, as Craig Bradshaw was adjudged to have bought down the Villa forward. From the spot kick by Jack Buckle, Bradshaw went away to his right to make a superb save, but the referee ordered a retake, and this time Buckle did just enough to beat the SCR keeper.
We were clearly stunned by this decision and for a spell, Villa were able to dominate, but we managed to hold firm, and almost snatched an equaliser five minutes before the break. Allen flicked on a long Bradshaw clearance, but Buss gathered the ball just ahead of Campbell.
A minute before the break and a whipped Auletta cross was only half cleared to Campbell and he put his effort wide of the right hand post, and a rather feisty half ended with Villa holding a 1-0 lead.
The visitors increased that a minute into the second when a long ball was flicked on by Cheetham to Tom Neale, who guided the ball over Bradshaw for 2-0. Villa continued to hold the upper hand, with Oshilaja finding Neale who shot wide of the left hand post.
Slowly we started to get back into the game, and Auletta having skipped passed Daniel Milborrow was only denied a run on goal by a good challenge by Jermaine Queensborough. Just after the hour and Blowers was clattered into for a foul, as the game continued to have a niggly undercurrent, and from the free kick Campbells strike was deflected behind for a corner.
Johnson-Palmer fired wide on 67 minutes, after neat one touch play between himself, Anson Cousins, Allen and Campbell had opened up the Villa defence. With just under twenty minutes remaining, Darren Salmon made his first change, removing defender Cousins and introducing lively young wide man Jay Jones into the fray.
Blowers found his way into the book on 75 minutes for a foul on Oshilaja, as their battle continued to walk a fine line between legal and illegal. Milborrow and Buckle then linked up well for Villa on the left, but the final delivery was just in front of King and the score stayed at 2-0.
Salmon rung the changes with ten minutes to go, replacing Campbell and Allen with Danny Fernandez and Josh Greenleaf.
On 84 minutes the two substitutes linked up, along with Johnson-Palmer to create a chance for Fernandez but his low drive was well held by Buss. Greenleaf then bought a comfortable save out of Buss low to his left, as we looked to set up a grandstand finish.
With five minutes to go their was hope, when a long ball by Bogle found Fernandez, and his curled effort from distance beat Buss. We pushed for an equaliser, but the closest we came was in the 89th minute, when a wicked Fernandez corner was initially fumbled by Buss, who reclaimed the ball just ahead of Davies outstretched leg, to preserve the win and all three points for Villa