Petersfield Town 2 Hanwell Town 0
By Clive Cooke
We returned home from the long two hour trip on a Wednesday evening to Petersfield without any points or goals but the side could take great credit for the spirited and committed display that on many other days would have brought them some reward.
Work commitments meant that changes had to be made from the side beaten at home by Arlesley on the previous Saturday which meant that Sam Hurrell was making his first appearance for seven months whilst Connor Duffy, a regular first choice selection in previous seasons, played for the first time this season, meaning that all four of manager Ray's boys were in the starting line up. We lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Connor and Danilson Vincente up front and Sam and Tom Hunt wide on the flanks.
Petersfield came into the game on the back of three successive home wins against North Greenford United, Northwood and Aylesbury respectively and made a very confident start particularly wide on the right flank where Joseph Briggs was being found with great regularity with long cross field passes. As early as the fifth minute, Martin Herdman did well to smother the ball at his near post but minutes later, Briggs's long cross to the far post was headed back across goal only for Lewis Hyde to miss his kick when it seemed easier to score. Briggs then sent three corner kicks in quick succession into dangerous areas but we dealt with them and then having weathered this early pressure, we gradually began to get a foothold into the game ourselves with everybody working very hard for each other. Connor made an excellent break from just inside the Petersfield half firing the ball just over the bar and then the Petersfield keeper, Anthony Ender, came to his side's rescue with a flying finger tip save from a Bradley Simmonds effort that seemed destined for the far corner of the net. At this stage of the game it was somewhat against the run of play when Petersfield took the lead in the thirty second minute. There was little that we could have done about the goal as Petersfield's Howard Neighbour receiving the ball on the edge of our penalty area drilled a tremendous shot past Martin just inside the post. We continued to be in the ascendancy and before the half time whistle sounded, Ender had saved a fierce low shot from Tom Hunt at his near post, Sam moving inside onto his right foot had fired into the side netting and then a fierce shot by Connor flew straight at the Petersfield keeper.
In very similar fashion to the first half, Petersfield were the better side in the opening stages of the second half and we were fortunate when Neighbour clear on goal, sent the ball wide of the far post. However, it was not long before we were once again enjoying more of the play but without creating any real goal scoring opportunities at this stage. The closest that we came to scoring being when Oliver Duffy, who was excellent throughout, sent a free kick just over Ender's cross bar. Bradley Simmonds then made a good individual run to create a shooting opportunity for himself but slightly scuffed his shot which went just the wrong side of the post.
At this stage we were much the better side and made our first substitution when Ahmed Mohammed came on to replace Denilson, Bradley moving forward to link up with Connor.
It was totally against the run of play when Petersfield increased their lead mid way through the half. From a free kick out on the right, Sean Wain swung the ball in with his left foot, it was flicked on at the near post and the Petersfield captain Jamie Ford bundled the ball into the net on the far post.
Undeterred we continued to take the game to Petersfield, making a further substitution with Gavin Childs-Cadette replacing Tom Hunt with fifteen minutes replacing. As we pressed forward so did gaps appear in our defence and Andrew Todd breaking clear from a deep position blasted the ball over the bar with only Martin to beat. Connor then created an even better chance for himself at the other end but through on goal slid the ball the wrong side of the far post with only Ender to beat and then in the final minutes we were denied further when an in swinging corner from Bradley
was scrambled clear from the Petersfield goal line and then in virtually the final moment of the game, a superb individual effort by Connor culminated in his flick goal wards striking Ender on the head and diverting just past the post. It was just one of those nights, made worse by the fact that roadworks on the A3 driving home added the best part of another twenty minutes to our journey !!!