Egham Town 0 Hanwell Town 2
Opening day triumph at Egham
Our season got off to the best start possible as we recorded a gritty 2-0 win at Egham Town, a venue where we have had little success over the years. It was particularly pleasing for our joint managers Chris Moore and Wayne Carter who at the same time last season would have been in the Engham.
The Egham side contained three former Town players, goalkeeper Xavi Comas, Georges Ehui and Courtney Austin, whilst on the bench was another former player Meshach Williams.
On a difficult playing surface, the early stages of the game were extremely scrappy and the only threat to either goal came when Egham's Jermaine Osei cut in from the right before shooting across the face of our goal and past the far post. In these early stages Egham's mid field duo of Tom Windsor and Tayshan Hayden-Smith were having a significant say in the game and twice in quick succession, we were almost caught out by short corners. However, the best chance of the game fell to Louis Bircham who received the ball unmarked in the Egham penalty area with only Comas to beat. However, he chose to try to round Comas rather than getting away his shot and Comas smothered the ball at his feet. The game took a significant turn in the 22nd minute when Egham's Joe Pratley-Jones flew into a wild tackle on Imedd Kartita and received a yellow card which might well have been a red one. However, 10 minutes later he pulled down Gareth Chendlik as he burst into the penalty area and the referee had little option to pull out a further yellow card quickly followed by a red. From the resultant free kick, Louis drew a good save out of Comas as he turned the ball away at his near post. The ball quickly reached Louis again but he pulled his shot wide of the far post.
Egham made a substitution at the interval as they bolstered their defence with Joseph Debayo replacing Paulo Giamattei.
Ten minutes into the second half we almost took the lead when a great run down the right by Kieron Cathline culminated in a low cross from which Gareth Chenlik from point blank range thudded the ball against the cross bar. However, the assistant's flag was raised so even had the ball hit the net the goal would have been disallowed. Andrew O'Brien then ploughed into the back of skipper Oliver Duffy as he went to head clear and in trying to retrieve the situation a foul was committed in a dangerous position but the resultant free kick floated to the far post was headed clear. On the hour mark we took the lead, a long ball forward from the back reached Ibrahim Olutade. There was a suspicion of hand ball as he brought the ball under control but he managed to wriggle clear of an Egham defender before firing the ball across Comas into the far corner of the Egham net.
At the other end, Osie fired a fierce shot over Aaron Bufton's cross bar.
We scored our second goal in the seventieth minute when Gareth on the edge of the Egham penalty are flicked the ball into the path of the hard working Calum Duffy. Calum's effort from close range was blocked by Comas but the ball rebounded back into Calum's path and he made no mistake from close range. Egham then made their second substitution, Meshach Williams replacing Osei. Gareth then fired just wide of the post after being set up by Imedd before being replaced by Myles Stephenson. Calum fires just over the Egham bar and Imedd wasted a good chance to make us three up firing into the side netting. As the game petered out, Egham made their third and final substitution with Isaac Olurunfemi replacing Josh Andrew whilst we replaced Louis and Imedd with Glen Yala and Charlie Barton.
Overall it was a competent display. Defensively we were very sound with Aaron not having to make a direct save all game and our lack of much cohesive football was in part caused by the difficult playing surface.
Hanwell Town: Aaron Bufton, Kieron Cathline, Haluna Masembe, Oliver Duffy (capt), Thomas Duffy, Andrew O'Brian, Louis Bircham, Calum Duffy, Gareth Chendlik, Imedd Kartita and Ibrahim Olutade.
Substitutes: Myles Stevenson for Chendlik (75), Glen Yala for Bircham (82) and Charlie Barton for Kartita (84).
Egham Town: Xavi Comas, Enock soganile, Georges Ehui, Tom Windson, Greg Haydon (capt), Paolo Giamattei, Josh Andrew, Joe Pratley-Jones, Jermaine Osei, Tayshan Hyden-Smith and Courtney Austin.
Substitutes: Joseph Debayo for Giamattei (46), Meshach Williams for Osei (70) and Isaac Olorunfemi for Andrew (82).