A strong and well-balanced Hanworth Villa side deservedly won this engaging CCFL Premier Division contest by what, in the end, was a comfortable margin. After a very disappointing first half display North Greenford produced a much improved performance in the second period but could not break down the well-organised home defence, with the Villains securing their win with a third goal scored from a free-kick on the stroke of full-time.
Greenford began the game brightly enough, looking sharp and moving the ball well, but early on the Hanworth forwards showed how dangerous they could be on the counter-attack if the Blues carelessly conceded possession. This was to prove the dominant theme of the opening half with United fortunate to go in at the break trailing by just two goals.
Matters weren’t helped for the visitors when, on eight minutes, they were forced to make an early substitution with Carl Bower coming on to replace Sean Hillier, after the Blues full-back suffered a groin injury sprinting back to defend a breakaway Hanworth attack down the left.
From that point, although Greenford mounted several promising moves they were unable to seriously threaten the Hanworth defence or test keeper Michael Eacott. At the other end, the Villains continued to take advantage whenever they were given the opportunity to run behind the United back four. On the end of another such move on 18 minutes Blues keeper Bailey Mulhall did well to deny pacey striker Cyril O’Cansey.
Four minutes later Hanworth finally broke the deadlock after being awarded a penalty when Greenford captain Antony Rowlands was adjudged to have fouled O’Cansey inside the area, an offence for which he was cautioned, the first of five yellow cards referee Jonathan Boland was to show to United players. Left midfielder Jack Buckle stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistake with a perfectly placed low drive into the corner.
Creating further chances to extend their first half lead the Villains only managed to do so on 35 minutes when O’Cansey beat Mulhall to a long clearance from Eacott and from a tight angle placed the ball into the far corner of the Blues empty net.
The Villains came closest to adding a third soon after the re-start when Mulhall pulled off a fine save from a well-struck free-kick but apart from that, as in Saturday’s home game against Colliers Wood, Greenford raised their game in the second half and, had it not been for strong, resolute defending from the home side, might well have at least drawn level.
As it happened the well-marshalled Hanworth defence along with keeper Eacott limited the number of genuine goal-scoring opportunities for the Blues, although chances did fall to substitute Charlie Conner and Sandro Costa, looking far more effective playing on the left.
The Villains final killer blow was then struck as the contest entered stoppage time with O’Cansey adding a third and sealing his side’s win with a low 25-yard free-kick placed beyond Mulhall into the unguarded left corner of the United net.
NGU Team: Bailey Mulhall, Sean Hillier (Carl Bower 8), Ryan Murphy, Guy Ansah-Palmer, Antony Rowlands (captain), Matt Travis, Sandro Costa, Daniel Vincent, Jordan Ellis (Charlie Conner 52), James Simmonds, Dan Carter (Andy Ross 70)