Ashford Town 1 Hanwell Town 4
This outstanding result for ‘The Toon’ in many ways mirrored last Saturday’s game but in the most important ways the mirror image was reversed. As last week Hanwell scored first, led two – one, a ‘ball over-the-line or not’ decision was required and the winning team scored four. This week, however, Olly Duffy’s sliding clearance ensured that the ball did not cross the line and it was Hanwell, not the opposition, who came out the stronger in the second half and scored four goals to achieve a valuable three points.
The substantial numbers of ‘Toon’ supporters and committee members who made their way to the Robert Parker Stadium were treated to an entertaining and rewarding game despite the difficult, sticky pitch conditions. Within a minute new signing Wayne Carter had forced home ‘keeper Tyler Tobin to go full length to save his long-range, on-target volley. Five minutes later Hanwell were in front. Following a foul on the lively Harvey Killeen, the aforementioned Wayne Carter sent over an in-swinging cross that was headed into the net by skipper Olly Duffy at the far post. Undaunted, the home side immediately went after an equalizer and Sam Bunting was called upon to make a good save. Then the speedy Samad Kasi, who was to prove a threat all afternoon, skated past Joe Chandiram, who had slipped, and appeared to be clear before Olly arrived, timing his tackle to perfection. Then, in the eighteenth minute, Kasi dribbled past Sam and stroked the ball towards an unguarded net. To the relief of the visiting supporters, a sliding Olly suddenly appeared on the scene and just prevented the ball from crossing the line. A minute later Hanwell doubled their advantage. Wayne’s shot rebounded out to him and he headed in past a number of defenders.
Once again the ‘Trees’ were not daunted and went forward in search of a first goal. It came in the twenty-fifth minute. Daniel Fleming’s free kick rebounded to him off Hanwell’s well-constructed wall. He laid the ball wide to Jack Beadle who crossed low into the box where it was met by Max Webb, making it ‘game on’. The home side then dominated the rest of the half. Sam did well to tackle Kasi just outside the area. Then the same player broke clear again but shot wide as Sam advanced to close him down. It was then Olly’s turn to thwart the Ashford skipper, nipping the ball away just as he was about to pull the trigger. It was all Ashford but Hanwell managed to keep them out, and go in at half-time one goal to the good.
With the Hanwell supporters wondering if the home side would continue where they had left off, it was Hanwell who started the second half the stronger, with Luke Alfano continuing to have a quietly effective game alongside Alfie Cain and Wayne in mid-field. Not only that, but they were gifted a goal in the forty-ninth minute. ‘Keeper Tobin totally mis-hit his clearance and Peter Dean was on hand to control the ball and drive it past the retreating custodian, into the net. A minute later Hanwell’s lead was maintained when Sam held on to Webb’s on-target header from a corner. Up the other end, on the hour, Harvey looked set to score but he was bravely blocked. Two minutes later Glen Yala did well to get his head to a dangerous Ashford cross into the Hanwell six yard box. The game continued to be fairly even with the ‘Toon’ shading possession. In the seventy-third minute Alfie’s free kick beat the wall but not Tobin, who had positioned himself well. Four minutes later Hanwell went further ahead. Glen made an incisive pass to Peter whose low cross ricocheted around before being driven into the net by Harvey.
That man Kasi continued to be a threat to Hanwell and his deep cross, with ten minutes left, seemed to be setting up a goal, when Calum Duffy appeared from nowhere to save the day. From the ensuing corner Wayne did well to clear the ball off the line but Mitchell Gaugh, who had looked outstanding in defence, was shown a red card for his challenge in the crowded six yard box.
Hanwell almost grabbed a fifth goal when a goal-mouth scramble saw the ball kicked off the line no fewer than three times. The match continued to be competitive right up to the final whistle with Sam saving well from Beadle and Tobin doing likewise from Glen. In added-on time a second home player was sent off, for a second yellow card this time, despite not having been on the field very long at all. The final whistle was welcomed by all on a cold, damp evening and the visiting contingent went indoors to enjoy the three points and their hosts’ hospitality.
TEAM: 1.Sam Bunting 2.Calum Duffy 3.Joe Chandiram 4.Oliver Duffy © 5.Nick Turner 6.Wayne Carter 7.Glen Yala 8.Luke Alfano 9.Peter Dean (12.Chris Moore 86) 10.Alfie Cain 11.Harvey Killeen (14.Jesse Kewley-Graham 83). Unused substitutes: 15.Chris Mills 16.Georges Ehui 17.Mason Welch-Turner.