Hayes & Yeading 2 Hanwell Town 2
By Clive Cooke
Good away point
In common with the away following of Cardiff City Hanwell’s travelling supporters journeyed homewards on Easter Monday in good heart having seen their team find the back of the net in overtime to earn a valuable point. The similarity ends there though, as while the former supporters had a two hundred mile journey ahead of them Hanwell’s Powerday Stadium is not much more than five miles from the incomplete, yet nonetheless impressive Skyex Community Stadium in Southall. Everything about Hayes & Yeading demonstrates that it is a club from a higher level than their current Level Eight, Step Four, which indeed it is, having been at Level Five, Step One not that long ago. That Town came away with a point, after a resolute display, was a great credit to the players and management.
Not only was the grandstand pristine but so was the pitch, despite the heavy rain that had left some standing water in places. Having hardly played recently Hanwell could have been forgiven if they had started sluggishly, but they did not! With just ninety seconds played Dan Fleming found Charlie Mitchell wide on the right. Charlie went past his marker and sent in a dangerous low cross that was deflected for the first of two corners in quick succession. However, the home side responded as expected and, after a neat exchange of passes, Scott Donnelly forced Hanwell custodian Sam Bunting into a full-length fingertip save, which led to two corners in quick succession for the home side.
The ensuing fifteen minutes saw the ball confined to the midfield, the Hanwell rear-guard ensuring that United’s greater possession did not lead to any goal chances. In fact, when it looked as if the home side would notch the first goal, it was all Hanwell’s doing. An unnecessary back pass was played past Sam and only a timely and brave sliding clearance by Olly Duffy prevented the ball from crossing the line. Five minutes later Duncan Culley clipped the crossbar as Olly lay prostrate in the box, having just headed the ball away. The next chance for United to go ahead came on the half hour mark but, as top scorer Manny Duku pulled the trigger from close range, Olly and Calum threw themselves in front of him to save the day.
Two minutes later Town went ahead against the run of play. Calum found Charlie who jinked past his marker and sent over an inch-perfect cross to Dan’s head. The striker made no mistake and Hanwell were in front. The home side went in search of an equalizer and Sam made a flying save from Duku without realizing that the striker had handled the ball. Three minutes from the interval Culley was set up by Duku but he blasted over with the goal gaping.
Hayes and Yeading started the second half on the front foot and Joe Chandiram did well to get his head to a ball that seemed destined for Duku’s head. Hanwell were being restricted to breakaways but, as ever, skipper Olly was leading by example in winning ball after ball. As the hour mark approached Culley got clear but his cross went nowhere near the unmarked Duku. Almost immediately Duku himself broke clear but Joe recovered in time to block the shot. A minute later a free kick into the Hanwell area saw Sam end up falling to the floor and, after an almighty scramble, Olly forced the ball away.
Four minutes later, in the sixty-fourth, substitute Jack Roper found Culley, who, in turn, found the mobile Duku. The latter player fired across Sam and into the far corner. United now went all out for the winner. In a space of three minutes, Calum just nicked the ball off Culley’s foot in the area, Olly and Sam threw themselves in front of the same player as he shaped to shoot and Duku forced a save from Sam after a strong run. Sam’s punch out was sent back in and Calum just managed to get a head to the ball with Duku waiting to strike.
As he match entered the last fifteen minutes Hanwell’s fine rear-guard action continued. Luke Alfano cleared the ball out of the six yard box under pressure and Wayne Carter just got to a threatening cross from Donnelly. Town were reduced to breakaways with Luke and Wayne being required to do a lot of defending rather than expressing their creative talents.
With ten minutes to go home ‘keeper Zaki Oualah anticipated well to save at Dan’s feet as he raced through in a rare Hanwell attack. Oualah was in action again as the game entered the last few minutes, after Charlie received the ball from Wayne, went on a run and hit a goal-worthy shot from twenty yards out. Then, with less than two minutes to go, the home side controversially scored what looked to be the winner. Olly appeared to suffer some skulduggery at the hands of Culley both outside and inside the area, causing him to end up on the floor. The ball found its way to Sahr Kabba, who, in turn found Duku. To be honest, his fierce strike into the top corner was worthy of being a match-winning goal but it was not to be. With the home supporters proclaiming their position at the top of the league Mergim almost halted their singing when he clipped the ball in to Charlie who could not quite get his foot to the ball just six yards out. Then, two minutes into stoppage time, Mergim did stop the singing! Picking up the ball from a throw he headed towards the left corner of the box from whence he launched the ball into the far top corner of the goal. The Hanwell contingent in the ground was noisily ecstatic while the home supporters were subdued and despondent.
In conclusion, Hayes and Yeading showed why they are heading for promotion and, if they duly get it, we will miss such a local derby, but wish them well for the rest of the season! However, on the day, Hanwell had deserved a point for a gritty and, at times, entertaining display in which every player played his part.
TEAM: 1 Sam Bunting 2 Calum Duffy 3 Joe Chandiram 4 Oliver Duffy © 5 Wayne Carter 6 Luke Alfano 7 Mergim Qarri 8 Imedd Kartita 9 Dan Fleming (12 Chris Moore 85) 10 Goldy Capela 11 Charlie Mitchell Unused subs 14 Mason Welch-Turner 15 Jarmel Joseph 16 Chris Mills 17 Lewis Everett