Badshot Lea 2 North Greenford United 1
(Cherry Red Records CCPL – Saturday 8th October 2016)
North Greenford lost this scrappy contest against fellow strugglers Badshot Lea, conceding penalties in both halves and failing to find the net after captain Danny Vincent had levelled the score early in the second period, despite creating enough chances to go on and win the game.
The opening exchanges were evenly matched as both teams struggled to keep possession and find any sort of rhythm and flow to their play. Looking the most likely player to break the deadlock for United, Vincent floated in an accurate shot from outside the area on the half hour which struck the Baggies post with keeper Pat Kinsella well beaten.
Shortly afterwards the same player latched on to a clever through pass and found the corner of the home net only for his effort to be controversially ruled out for offside. Then, within a matter of minutes and against the run of play at that point, Badshot Lea found themselves ahead after being awarded a penalty for a foul following a corner. Midfielder Ian Brooks stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistake with a well-struck clinical finish.
Despite Greenford coming close to equalising just before the interval when Vincent drove a ball across the Baggies six-yard box, the home side managed to hold on to their narrow lead as the teams returned to the changing rooms.
Within twelve minutes of the re-start, however, United had drawn level when a long Matt Travis throw from the left found Vincent in space and the Blues captain finally and deservedly put his name on the score-sheet with a fine half volley into the corner of the Baggies net that gave Kinsella no chance.
The goal lifted the visitors and Charlie Conner, who had replaced debutant Ralford Thorpe at half-time, narrowly missed the target on several occasions after finding himself in good scoring positions.
Badshot Lea’s second penalty award came with a little over ten minutes of normal time remaining when Greenford’s debutant keeper Bailey Mulhall was adjudged to have fouled Baggie’s striker Richard Bennett as he came out towards the edge of his area to clear a through ball. Once again Brooks took responsibility and, as he had done in the first period, finished with aplomb to score what was to prove the match-winning goal.
Right up to the final whistle United did all they could to take something from the game both in open play and through set pieces, having won several corners, but could not add to Vincent’s earlier goal despite having a one-man advantage after the dismissal of Baggie’s midfielder Cameron Blackie.
The club have Reserve team Assistant Manager Terry Schofield and Youth Team manager Gary Brown to thank for organising the squad at the last minute for this game and, under the circumstances, producing yet another performance at the end of which the Blues deserved at least a share of the spoils.
NGU Team: Bailey Mulhall, Carl Bower, Nikolas Muller, Nathan Munroe, Matt Travis, Josh Lewis-Evans, Andre Swaries (Georgie Brown 75), Jamal Velinor, Ralford Thorpe (Charlie Conner 45), Daniel Vincent (captain), Sandro Costa