Following the club’s disappointing midweek MFA Senior Charity Cup defeat by Ashford Town, North Greenford bounced back on Saturday with an impressive 2-0 league victory over seventh placed Horley Town. In a high tempo, competitive and entertaining contest both teams managed to play attractive attacking football on a pitch that was still very heavy and sticky in places.
United took an early lead on eight minutes when an Anthony O’Connor cross was headed on by Sandro Costa finding Jamal Velinor in space on the edge of the Horley area. Velinor steadied himself before firing in a low left foot drive that found the bottom corner of the visitors’ net.
Horley pressed hard in their attempts to grab a quick equaliser but were thwarted by Blues keeper James Harry, who pulled off several fine saves, and determined last-ditch defending by the Greenford back four.
At the other end Town keeper George Hyde had to win a one-on-one against O’Connor to prevent the home side extending their lead when the United striker was played in behind the visitors’ defence on 18 minutes.
Further chances continued to be created by both sides with Horley winning several corners in quick succession on the half hour with Harry again called into action tipping a goal-bound header over his bar. O’Connor then had another great chance five minutes later – this time to score with his head from a lovely Alfie Cain cross – but failed to connect.
The second half provided more of the same with O’Connor again narrowly missing the target on 55 minutes when he attempted to chip Hyde after being played in by Costa, and Harry pulling off another excellent save on the hour to prevent Horley levelling the score.
Fifteen minutes from time United finally scored the all-important second goal. On this occasion O’Connor made no mistake with a well-directed near-post header on the end of a superbly delivered Daniel Vincent corner.
Costa then came close to adding a third, grazing the wrong side of the Horley crossbar on the end of a fine run. Horley were still pressing hard to take something from the game, winning several corners and a free-kick, which was parried away from goal by Harry, in the final ten minutes.
However, as the players had done throughout this engrossing and enjoyable contest, Greenford continued to defend magnificently right up to the final whistle. Every single member of the squad had played his part, and the team thoroughly deserved its clean sheet as well as the three points that take the club up to the 40-point mark with 16 games still to play.
NGU Team: James Harry, Anthony Rowlands (captain) (Kamal Akel 73), Ryan Murphy, Jamal Velinor, Guy Ansah-Palmer, Matt Travis, Carl Bower (Piotr Marek 75) Daniel Vincent, Anthony O’Connor, Alfie Cain (Josh Lewis-Evans 70), Sandro Costa