Hanwell Town 1 Beaconsfield 1
By Clive Cooke
Opening day draw
On a bright and sunny and early August afternoon, more suited to the beach, The Oval or the back garden than Reynolds Field Hanwell’s 2016-2017 campaign got underway with a draw that felt like a defeat. Defying the twenty-six degree heat, Town, throughout the afternoon, played a lot of attractive possession football, based on energy-sapping on and off the ball running and neat inter-passing that deserved more than just a single goal and one point.
As early as the third minute Tom Hunt looked to have a chance to open Hanwell’s account when he seized upon a defensive error but he was quickly shut down. Almost immediately Kyle Watson demonstrated why so many of the Town faithful were delighted to welcome him back to the club when he went on a mazy run over half the length of the field, leaving five defenders in his wake, but unluckily with no end result. Three minutes later a pinpoint Michael Buckley pass saw Bradley Simmonds slip past his marker and drive a low cross into the box but Tom Hunt crashed his shot against the crossbar from a good position. Hanwell continued to dominate midfield with newcomers James Simmonds and Jesse Kewley-Graham combining impressively with Michael. It was to their credit that the visitors’ youthful defence restricted Town to a series of long-range shots that were readily dealt with by ‘keeper Sam Bunting.
Beaconsfield rarely crossed the half-way line but when they attacked the Duffy (back) line was more successful than the ‘Maginot’ had been and the thrusting runs of Spencer Maw and Jack McNight were effectively repelled. As the half progressed Hanwell continued to play easy-on the-eye football but the nearest they came to scoring was when Bunting could only palm away a curling shot from James to Anton Robinson but he fired high and wide.
Hanwell continued to set the pace in the second half and a driving run into the area by Bradley saw him appear to be brought down but appeals for a penalty were denied. Four minutes into the half James and Anton combined well to set up Tom Hunt on the edge of the area but he totally miscued under pressure. Two minutes later Hanwell scored the goal they richly deserved. Anton exchanged passes with Bradley who cut in from the left and curled the ball into the far bottom corner.
With the ‘Car Park End’ choir, some resplendent in their new Adidas replica kits, in full voice, Hanwell went after the second goal they needed to make the game secure. Tom Hunt’s run and low ball into the danger area almost set up Anton and Kyle went on a trademark sortie down the left that promised more than the resultant goal kick. Michael went close with a flick and Calum leapt high to head a Bradley corner narrowly over.
The second goal just would not come and Town paid the price in the seventy-fourth minute. The high bounce of an innocuous looking cross into the Hanwell box deceived ‘keeper Aaron Watkins and the ball was lobbed into an empty goal by substitute James Harding. One all! Although obviously disappointed, Town kept their heads up and spent the rest of the half striving for the winner that their domination of the ball and territory deserved. Substitute Christian Tyler-Law had a goal-worthy shot palmed away by Bunting at full stretch and Tom Hunt’s goal-bound effort was deflected for a corner. Michael beat two men in the area, only to see his shot similarly diverted. Tyler and James combined well to set up Tom Hunt but he was immediately closed down and his shot went wide. The catalogue of close calls continued and substitute Tom O’Regan sent a thirty yard free kick narrowly over the bar. Michael played a neat one-two on the edge of the area but his shot went just wide. In added-on time Hanwell’s claims for a penalty, when a fiercely struck cross hit a defenders’ arm, were more in hope than expectation. It was just not going to be Hanwell’s day!
When the referee blew for full time Beaconsfield rejoiced but Hanwell did not! Numerous Reynolds Field regulars commented on how much they had enjoyed Town’s performance but were obviously disappointed that the much deserved three points had not been accrued.