1st Team v Hanwell Town
By Steve Goldfinch
After this closely-contested and entertaining cup tie between close neighbours and local rivals North Greenford and Hanwell Town had ended all square after ninety minutes, the Geordies went on to earn their place in the next round after winning the penalty shoot-out by four goals to two.
Towards the end of an evenly-matched first half United finally broke the deadlock two minutes before the break when an excellent move was begun by striker Aaron McLeish, cleverly turning away from two Geordie defenders before feeding Courtney Austin out of the right. Austin then delivered a pin-point cross into the box that was met by Manu Oke-William who made no mistake, finding the back of the Hanwell net with a well-controlled finish from close range.
The Blues were to rue not taking some of the gilt-edged chances they created during the second period when, after having a goal disallowed for offside on the hour, the visitors eventually levelled the score on 79 minutes against the run of play. A free-kick floated into the Greenford area was met by centre-back Tom Duffy whose powerful header gave Blues keeper Lewis Todd no chance.
The penalty shoot-out to determine the winners of the tie turned into a disappointing one-sided affair with the Geordies racing into a two-goal lead with clinical strikes from Gareth Chendlik and Calum Duffy easily beating Todd after both Liam Hind and Adam Louth had failed to score for United.
Although McLeish and Tom O’Regan gave Greenford some hope of getting back into the contest, Hanwell’s Harvey Killeen and Ibrahim Olutade made sure of the Geordies’ win with two more perfectly executed spot-kicks.
Although another disappointing result for the Blues, this was a much-improved performance after the below-par displays against Cockfosters and May & Bakers, and they will be looking for more of the same when they take on third-placed Arlesey on Saturday.
NGU Team: Lewis Todd, Tom Ward (Michael Barima 46), Dominic Rhone (Milo McNulty
75), Liam Hind, Anthony Page (Tom O’Regan 60), Nick Turner, Ben Long, Adam Louth (captain), Aaron McLeish, Courtney Austin, Manu Oke-William