Leighton Town 1 Hanwell Town 1
By Clive Cooke
The best thing that could be said about this game between two sides both battling at the wrong end of the table was that it was played in bright sunshine.
In what was for Ray Duffy and his management team a rare occurrence, we lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Ryan Egan coming in to support Danilson Vicente up front . With Joe Chandiram unavailable this was the only change in our line up from that which had been comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Egham Town earlier in the week.
It was clear from the kick off that both sides were going to struggle to play much good football on a poor playing surface, with the ball bouncing all over the place.
However, we made the perfect start in just the third minute when a cross field move culminated in Oliver Duffy playing the ball into the path of Bradley Simmonds. Bradley cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce low shop which beat the Leighton keeper Brad Kirkwood at his near post. A few minutes later at the other end, Ryan Kinnane failed to clear the ball with ample time to do so and we were fortunate that no Leighton player was on hand to score when Joe Nyama turned the ball across our goalmouth.
Ryan and Danilson were creating problems in the Leighton defence but three times in quick succession, Danilson was caught in an offside position as he chased onto Ryan's flicked on headers. Mid way through the half, Calum Duffy headed Bradley's corner kick from the left wing over the bar.
In the final minutes of the half, we almost increased our lead when a good cross by Egan from the left was just diverted off Danilson's head and when the ball was returned into the goalmouth, Oliver's shot was charged down.
In the opening minute after the interval, Martin Herdman had to make his first real save of the game, diving to his right to smother a shot from James Hatch. Minutes later, Bradley evaded several tackles in a good run from just inside the Leighton half but his final touch let him down and Kirkwood was quickly off his line to seize the ball. Eight minutes into the half, Leighton equalised and it was a poor goal that we gave away. We hesitated in clearing the ball on the edge of our penalty area and Ben Gallant was the quickest to respond, drilling a low shot into our net. We made a double substitution just short of the hour mark, Tom Hunt and Tyler Christian-Law replacing Simeon Armstrong and Danilson. The substitution almost brought an immediate reward with Bradley playing the ball into the path of Tom with a clear shooting opportunity, but Tom's effort flew high and wide.
Leighton in quick succession used all of their three substitutes as play swung from end to end.
With fifteen minutes remaining we were denied what appeared to be a valid goal when Bradley getting goal side of his marking defender out muscled his opponent to find the net with a cross shot, only for the referee to whistle for a foul. Bradley's protests cost him a booking. Very shortly after from a long throw by Calum, the Leighton keeper turned the ball over his crossbar, only for the referee to the amazement of the players and the amusement of the sparse crowd signalled a goal kick despite being no more that eight yards away.
As the minutes ticked by play became more and more frantic but with little cohesive play from either side, the only real opportunity falling to one of the Leighton substitutes, Josh Murray, but like Tom earlier when in a good shooting position he blazed the ball high over the bar.
In the final minutes we made our third and final substitution, Ahmed Mohammed replacing Ryan Egan.
When the final whistle went, our feeling was that we had missed an opportunity to claim what would have been a valuable three points but it was one of those scrappy games which either side could have won so we had to be satisfied with our point, that enabled us to climb a place in the table above Barton Rovers and another point clear of Aylesbury United and North Greenford United, both of whom were beaten.