Hanwell Town 2 Cambridge City 2
After the home defeat by Thame United, Town’s points tally and league position may have caused the Club Secretary to consider replacing the late Joe Strummer singing the highly appropriate ‘London Calling’ as the team’s theme song. Perhaps Yazz’s 1988 dance floor anthem or D:Ream’s 1993 release, later adopted by the Labour Party may have been considered!
After the very welcome three points against fellow strugglers Fleet, Cambridge City, a team that has played much higher up the pyramid in the past, looked a daunting prospect. However, the match was an evenly contested affair with Town twice taking the lead. The early exchanges were pretty even with Town’s biggest threat seeming to come from Charlie Mitchell’s forays down the right and subsequent crosses into the box. Up the other end the speedy Lewis Wilson was being held in check by a prial of Duffys in Hanwell’s central defence, being caught offside on a couple of occasions and then being beaten to a threatening ball by Tom Duffy’s timely interception.
Goal attempts were very rare at this stage of proceedings and the only time Xavi Comas was called into serious action in the opening quarter of the game was to smother a low ball into the six yard box from Wilson. Up the other end Niall Conroy only had to deal with a rather tame shot from Georges Ehui after the latter had done well to dribble into a promising position.
Cambridge’s Tom Knowles caused the home supporters some concern each time he ran at the home defence. Firstly, after a strong run, he laid the ball back to Wilson, who fired over under pressure. Then, only a well-timed tackle by Calum thwarted him as he dribbled into the box. It looked as if City would grab a lead in the twenty-fifth minute when a free kick into the box was met by the head of the towering Jordon Gent at close range. To the relief of the home support he placed his header wide. This seemed to spur Town into action and they had a spell of dominance that finally resulted in the goal it deserved. Conroy had initially saved well from Calum after which Callum Wright had executed a neat turn and dribble but his ball into the box had been cleared. Then Charlie’s run and cross had been flicked goal-wards by Callum but blocked. The resultant corner, however, got the deserved reward, Charlie bending it directly into the goal, just after the half hour mark.
It was now City’s turn to exert some pressure. After Oliver Snaith had miscued when well positioned, a low cross fizzed across the Hanwell six yard box with no takers and then Knowles fired wide when well placed. In the forty-second minute the visitors got the goal they probably deserved. A disputed free kick on Hanwell’s right was hit deep into the area. It was headed back to the edge of the area where it was driven into the bottom corner by Snaith. Two minutes later Glen Yala’s dribble into the City area ended up with him on the floor, but there was no whistle. Cambridge took advantage of the situation and raced up-field. Calum was called upon to clear the ball off the line from whence Ryan Towner drove in a powerful shot that Xavi managed to parry then hold at the second attempt.
As is so often the case Hanwell started the second half brightly, winning a couple of corners that sparked the more numerous than of late ‘Massive’ into song. This pressure almost led to a second goal for the ‘Toon’. Callum laid the ball out to Glen whose ball across the area found Charlie on the left. His drive at goal was blocked on the line amidst appeals for handball. The ball came back out to Charlie but this time Conroy was in a position to hold his shot. Three minutes later, in the fifty-fifth minute, Hanwell deservedly re-took the lead when Glen rose well to head in a Charlie corner. This sparked n even more prolonged and voluminous response from behind the goal than before.
The visitors did not let the setback deflate them and they set about securing an equalizer in earnest. Twice in less than a minute Jesse Kewley-Graham was called upon to head clear from the edge of the Hanwell area, followed by Calum performing the same task on the six yard line. Olly, Tom, Calum and Joe Chandiram were holding out well as City mainly attacked down Hanwell’s left, with substitute Nathan Olukanmi looking particularly quick and purposeful. In the seventy-ninth minute, a corner was only half cleared by Town and the resultant ball back into the box was headed past Xavi for the equalizer.
The final minutes of the game were end to end and either side could have snatched a winner. For Hanwell Callum went close after latching on to a Ricky Pither flick, Charlie had a shot blocked and Chris Mills fired narrowly wide. Up the other end Xavi and Hanwell’s rear-guard were being kept busy. The Hanwell custodian came out well to make a couple of vital catches before making an outstanding save to deny Sharman’s powerful header. Three minutes into added-on time Glen burst into the area and laid the ball to Ricky but his shot was blocked and it was a point apiece.
So, after the last two results, perhaps The Beatles’ ‘I Feel Fine’ (‘at least I am beginning to’), would be a more appropriate theme tune than the earlier songs that were alluded to earlier, Yazz’s ‘The Only Way Is Up’ or D:Ream’s ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and let us hope the recent unbeaten run continues.
TEAM: 1.Xavi Comas 2.Charlie Mitchell 3.Joe Chandiram 4.Tom Duffy 5.Calum Duffy 6.Oliver Duffy © 7.Peter Dean (15.Chris Mills 70) 8.Jesse Kewley-Graham (12.Ricky Pither 77) 9.Glen Yala 10.Callum Wright 11.Georges Ehui.