Town followed up Saturday’s scintillating victory with a more workmanlike, but nonetheless deserved win, in front of a very decent crowd under The Powerday floodlights on Tuesday evening. In fact, it was the visitors who began the stronger, with Hanwell barely crossing the half-way line in the opening minutes. However, as the half progressed Town began to assert themselves and, in the twelfth minute a good run and pull-back by Kieron Cathline found Harry Rush on the edge of the area. The midfielder, who went on to have a fine game, pulled the trigger, but his goal-bound blast was charged down for a corner. Ten minutes later Town went ahead. Harry manoeuvred himself into a shooting position just outside the box, from whence he forced a full length save from Josh Bexon in the Harlow goal. The first player to react to the parried ball was Gareth Chendlik, who drove it high into the net.
Hanwell were playing with two wide men and were particularly looking to get the ball out to Brian Testolin on the right. This tactic resulted in three noteworthy efforts in a matter of minutes. Firstly, Bexon did well to beat Brian to Harry’s through ball. Then Tayshan Hayden-Smith set Brian up but his shot only troubled the fence. Then a four man move the length of the field almost put Brian in on goal. Up the other end, a dangerous breakaway down the right was very well dealt with by Joel Jacobs. The same player forced Bexon to tip a well-struck free kick over the bar in the latter stages of the half. As the half entered added-on time the Hawks came close to an equalizer. Hugo Sobte came a long way off his line to punch out a cross but only made a weak connection in the heavy traffic. The ball rebounded to Oliver Gnandi but his back-header drifted over the bar to Town’s relief.
The second half saw Hanwell on top but not troubling the visiting ‘keeper enough. Part of the reason was the number of fouls that Harlow were committing in the final third to prevent any goal attempts. Disappointingly Hanwell did not make the visitors pay, the free kicks on goal going high and the balls into the box being dealt with well by the tall visiting defenders. Hanwell almost paid the price for not extending the lead when Matthew Rush looked to have scored but Hugo made a breath-taking save to keep Town in front in the fifty-fifth minute.
As the hour mark approached Gareth worked hard to win the ball and set up Harvey Killeen but his shot was saved. Two minutes later, the ‘returning’ Rob Laney replaced Gareth, who left the field to a deserved round of applause. The lone striker had battled well all evening against the Hawks’ rear-guard where the aforementioned Gnandi had been a Colossus. Just as Brian had received a lot of the ball in the first period, so Harvey, on the opposite flank, was on the ball a lot in the second half. It was to good effect and his quick feet saw the wide man skipping past one defender on several occasions but being brought down by the next man. Hanwell, however, failed to convert any of the free kicks. As the game entered its final phases the Hanwell defence gave nothing away, earning a well-deserved second clean sheet in a row. Up front Rob looked lively, presenting a different kind of challenge to the Harlow defence, forcing a save from Bexon in the last minute.
Hanwell left the field to a well-earned, extended round of applause with six points out of six under their belts. They next play on Saturday, in the F.A. Cup Preliminary Round, travelling seventy-five miles to Fairford Town in Gloucestershire.
TEAM: 1.Hugo Sobte 2.Kieron Cathline 3.Joel Jacobs 4.David Taylor © 5.Dwayne Duncan 6.Andy O’Brien 7.Tayshan Hayden-Smith (15.Harry Tucker 84) 8.Harry Rush 9.Gareth Chendlik (12.Rob Laney 61) 10.Harvey Killeen 11.Brian Testolin (14.Liam Tack 72).Unused substitutes: 16.Jeremiah Maja 17.Callum Woodcock.