Cambridge City 3 Hanwell Town 0
By Clive Cooke
Monday night loss
Just forty eight hours after our victory over Arlesley Town we were back in action making the long journey up to St Ives FC to play Cambridge City who are currently sitting rather comfortably in one of the play off positions. As was to be expected, the long trip on a Monday evening was always going to be a problem for some of the squad and as a result, regulars Luke Alfano, Imedd Kartita, Goldy Capela and Charlie Mitchell were not involved. Their absence met that we fielded arguably our oldest side in recent memory, with Wayne Carter, Chris Moore and Peter Dean, all three the wrong side of thirty in the starting line up and with our only two substitutes Ricky Pither and Chris Mills of a similar age.
Cambridge themselves also made several changes from that which had earnt a hard fought point from their trip to AFC Dunstable the previous Saturday, with notable goalscorers Ryan Sharman and James Hall on the substitutes bench.
On a difficult playing surface, there was very little between the sides in the opening twenty minutes. Whilst Cambridge enjoyed the greater amount of possession, Sam Bunting between our sticks was not called into action but should have been when Lewis Wilson headed over when he should have done better. However things changed in the twenty third minute when Ebby Nelson-Addy got free down the left flank before pulling the ball back into the path of Jack Vasey who swept it home. Our response was excellent with all eleven working hard and a good move involving Wayne and Chris resulted in Chris playing the ball back into the path of Wayne but he shot well over the bar. Our back line of Calum. Ollie, Nick and Joe were playing the offside trap to perfection but it was broken just before the interval when RyanTowner, whom we had played against several times when at Royston Town played the perfect ball through for Wilson to run onto but Sam was equal to the task making a fine save to ensure that we went into the interval just one goal in arrears.
Early in the second half, Wilson had another chance cutting in from the left and rounding Sam as he came out but from a very tight angle, he shot into the side netting.
The closest we came to scoring then occurred when the Cambridge keeper,
Josh Bexon completely misjudged the bounce of the ball from an in swinging free kick by Joe Chandiram and he was helpless as the ball struck the crossbar behind him with Nick Turner just failing to turn the ball home from the rebound.
With us now enjoying an equal amount of play, Cambridge made two substitutions, including the introduction of Salim Relizani down the left flank who looked dangerous every time that he was in possession.
However, the next chance fell to us at the other end when a free kick by Wayne was only headed out to the feet of Ollie but he scuffed his shot and the chance had gone.
Minutes later, Cambridge scored their second. A long punt forward caused confusion as Sam raced from his goal to clear only to collide with both a Cambridge forward and Nick and the ball ran loose to Wilson who on this occasion made no mistake just rolling the ball into the vacant net.
At the other end, Dan Fleming who like his team mates had worked tirelessly all evening got himself into a good shooting position but his shot went straight at Bexon and the chance had gone. Cambridge made their third substitution with Ryan Sharman coming on.
Relizani then raced clear down the right before pulling the ball back into the path of Wilson who blazed the ball over our crossbar. With fifteen minutes remaining we made the first of our two substitutions with Ricky Pither replacing Chris and then shortly afterwards Chris Mills replaced Peter Dean who like Chris had given his all in our cause on a difficult evening.
As the minutes ticked away, a 2-0 defeat seemed more than likely but deep into added on time at the end of the ninety minutes, the ball was played deep out of defence by Cambridge's Steve Shaw. However, the ball clearly swung out of play before coming back in but to the anger of our bench and the amusement of the Cambridge bench who freely admitted in the bar afterwards that the ball went out of play, the assistant referee for some reason failed to raise his flag. Relizani seizing on the opportunity pulled the ball back across the face of our goal where another of Cambridge's substitutes Ben Seymore-Shove shot goalwards only for the ball to strike Nick and deflect wide of the stranded Sam into our net to provide Cambridge with a slightly flattering 3-0 scoreline. In the protests after the game, Calum who had been booked in the first half voiced his concerns too vociferously and a second yellow card was raised followed by a red. A stupid reaction but maybe understood in view of the travesty of justice that had just occurred.
Side: Sam Bunting, Calum Duffy, Joe Chandiram, Ollie Duffy (capt),Nick Turner, Wayne Carter, Mergim Qarri, Peter Dean, Dan Fleming, Chris Moore and Mason Welch-Turner. Substitutes used : Ricky Pither for Chris Moore (75) and Chris Mills for Peter Dean (83).