Hayes & Yeading 1 Hanwell Town 1
By Clive Cooke
Away point at the Champions
Report by Malcolm Paice
On the day the home side was awarded the league trophy, Hanwell achieved a hard-earned and highly satisfying draw to somewhat anaesthetize the memory of the reverse fixture just after Christmas. In fact, the Town management had opted to go for the bold option of playing both Jeremiah Maja and Gareth Chendlik up front, rather than filling midfield to restrict space for the United engine room, which worked rather well for much of the game.
Town started well, with Gareth’s aerial ability and willingness to lock horns with the home defenders giving Hanwell the edge. However, it was not until the twelfth minute that either side created a worthwhile chance. It fell to Louis Bircham, but his shot, from Calum Duffy’s flick-on from a throw, was blocked. Two minutes later Town broke with numbers but, disappointingly, Gareth’s cross was charged down. After the ensuing corner was half cleared, the ball was laid across the box to Harry Rush, but once again the shot was blocked.
Town’s approach play was catching the eye and with no end result the away support began to fear the worst, and it nearly happened. The dangerous Toby Little cut inside and forced Aaron to make a good diving save. Ten minutes later, as the half hour mark approached, the speedy Lee Barney crossed to Elliot Benyon outside the far post. His goal-bound header was blocked away for a corner by Aaron. Then it was Dwayne Duncan’s turn to save the day by getting his head to a dangerous cross after thirty-five minutes. This was followed by Harry Rush doing likewise when under pressure from a well-flighted corner two minutes later. However, a second corner in succession was met perfectly by Mitchal Gough’s head and the champions were ahead.
The final minutes of the half were marred by a serious-looking injury to Louis, which saw the appearance of Brian Testolin. Seconds after the resumption of play Town went close to an equalizer when skipper Olly Duffy bent a low free kick around the wall, forcing a scrambling save by Jack Smith at the foot of the post.
The early part of the second half saw the home side with a lot of possession but the Hanwell back four, with Dwayne outstanding, restricted them to just one real chance before Town equalized just before the hour mark. It came from a well-struck Olly Duffy free kick from fully twenty-five yards out.
Town continued to look well worth a point until the final twenty minutes when they needed to demonstrate their resilience to hang on to that point. Substitute Joe Wilson saw a lot of the ball and, in the seventieth minute he put in Barney, but Aaron was equal to the task and turned the shot away for a corner. Five minutes later Aaron mishandled under pressure, but Andy O’Brien was on hand to clear the lines. Toby Little then crashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar, with both Calum and then Olly getting in the way of follow-up shots.
With just over ten minutes to go Harvey replaced Jeremiah and immediately raced clear on the right. His ‘cross-cum-shot’ forced Smith into a good, clean catch as the ball headed for the top corner. That proved to be Town’s last serious assault on the United goal. In the last frantic minutes Dwayne charged down a goal-bound effort from Scott Bridges, Elliot Benyon headed the bouncing ball over the top and George Bennett blasted over from just ten yards out. It looked as if Hanwell had survived but Hayes and Yeading had the ball in the net in added-on time, following a corner, but to the home supporters’ annoyance and Town’s relief, it was ruled out for offside.
The final whistle was greeted with acclaim by the ‘Toon Army’, very much enjoying the continued unbeaten run and an unexpected point. Thereafter ensued what was probably one of the longest presentation ceremonies in the history of football before the home team was awarded the very well-deserved league trophy.
TEAM: 1.Aaron Bufton 2.Kieron Cathline 3.Jack Waldren 4.Olly Duffy © 5.Dwayne Duncan 6.Andy O’Brien 7.Calum Duffy 8.Harry Rush 9.Gareth Chendlik (15.Jamie Calvin 86)10.Jeremiah Maja (16.Harvey Killeen 78) 11.Louis Bircham (14.Brian Testolin 43). Unused substitutes: 12.Joe Mills 17.Wayne Carter.