Potters Bar Town 1 Hanwell Town 1
By Clive Cooke
Entertaining draw by two footballing sides
On a warm afternoon and on a dry bouncy surface which made ball control difficult, we continued our good start to the season with a hard earned point against a Potters Bar side who had commenced their season with two wins on the trot.
Our side contained changes from that which had won at Kidlington earlier in the week. The most significant being in goal where Melvin Minter who had made one previous appearance for the club last season became our third different keeper in as many games replacing Sam Butcher. Mark Jameson who had impressed in pre-season and a recent signing from Holmer Green made his debut at right back enabling Calum Duffy to move up front into an emergency striker role. James Simmons replaced the injured Jesse Kewley-Graham whilst Anton Robinson returned to the side in place of the unavailable Sam Hurrell.
There was very little between the sides in the opening stages with neither keepr tested. The best opportunity fell to Bradley Simmonds after a slick passing movement had set his free to the left side of goal but he produced a tame finish straight into the arms of the home side keeper Ben Goode.
There was a major difference between the approach of both sides, with ourselves trying to build through mid-field whilst Potters Bar had a much more direct style looking to capitalise on the speed and strength of Adam Wallace up front but both Tom and Oliver Duffy were immense at the centre of our defence whilst Melvin was quickly off his line on a couple of occasions to smother the ball on the edge of his area. Kyle Watson made a strong run forcing his way through a couple of tackles before being blocked by the last defender.
On the half hour mark, an excellent pass by Potters Bar's Sean Grace found Wallace in space to the right of goal but he blasted the ball wide of the near post. Potters Bar were enjoying their best period of the game at this stage and Dave Lawrence just failed to get his head to a driven Wallace cross in our six yard box and then we failed to react quickly enough to a free kick in a dangerous position but Melvin comfortably saved Wallace's effort. At the other end, an intricate build up culminated in James Simmonds's shot being defected up just over the Potters Bar crossbar.
Potters Bar took the lead in the second minute of injury time at the end of the half. Tom Duffy seemed to misjudge the flight of the ball with Wallace racing in behind him and Melvin racing our crashed into Wallace and the match referee had little option but to point to the spot issuing Melvin with a yellow card. Potters Bar's skipper Gary Jones made no mistake from the spot to send the home side in at the interval one up.
We started the second half in fine fashion and in the opening fifteen minutes of the half, it was all one way traffic. A good individual effort by Bradley saw Goode block his effort at the near post and then after a neat movement had completely opened up the home defence, Tyley blazed the ball over the bar from an acute angle. Bradley then sent a hopeful effort from distanvce high over the bar.
On the hour mark we made our first substitution, Tom O'Regan coming on for Anton Robinson.
In what was a rare attack at the other end, Melvin turned a long distance effort from Chris Doyle over the bar and from the resultant corner, Sean Grace headed just wide. Potters Bar then made the first of their substitutions, former Town player Eion Casey coming on to join Wallace up front.
Goode then made a magnificent save from James after he had jinked his way into the box and then that was almost immediately followed by an equally good save at the other end by Melvin as Joe Bennett got through on our left flank.
We then had an even luckier let off, when Michael Buckley for virtually the first time in the game gave the ball away in midfield and it was thread through to Wallace who had the goal at his mercy but he delayed his shot as Melvin narrowed the angle and Tom was able to get back to block the shot. We made our second substitution with Tavis Royer replacing Mark Jameson as we switched to three at the back and the switch immediately paid off almost immediately as James Sinmonds with the Potters Bar defence backing off before him drove a low shot across Goode into the far corner of the net to give us a much deserved equaliser.
Calum then dropped back as we switched back to our more normal formation but we continued to look the more likely side to score but it was Potters Bar who had the best chance to claim the points when a misunderstanding between Melvin and Oliver gave Wallace a chance at the other end but he poked the ball wide.
In the final action of the game, Goode turned Tom's header from Tyler's corner over the crossbar.
Over the course of the ninety minutes there was little doubt that we deserved at least a share of the points but our failure to capitalise on the chances we created will be a matter of concern for our management team.