Hanwell Town 2 Waltham Abbey 3
By Clive Cooke
Home loss on a wet February night
This was ultimately a disappointing result for Town against a team on the fringe of the play-offs. To be fair, the visitors had more possession and looked more dangerous than Hanwell, but they could not have complained if Hanwell’s battling display had earned the home side a point. From the start the game was played from end to end with not a lot of possession football being played. While Hanwell looked threatening mainly through Louis Bircham’s through balls, the visitors’ threat came via surging runs through the middle or down the flanks. While the visitors’ defence was preventing Hanwell from creating any worthwhile chances, Town’s central defensive pairing of Dwayne Duncan and Andy O’Brien, were also combining well to thwart the Abbots.
As the fifteen minute mark approached the visitors had the first serious shot of the game, Aaron grabbing Nathan Koranteng’s long-range shot at the second attempt. Five minutes later the visitors went ahead. A neat passing move down their left was completed with a back-heel to Rob Clark, who fired in low from the edge of the area. Hanwell responded well and just after the half hour some crowd-pleasing inter-play between Harry Rush and Louis ended with a sliding defender clearing the final ball for a corner when a goal would have been justified. However, Town got what they deserved a minute later. Tom Collins played in Harvey, causing the visiting ‘keeper to rush out of his area to block the shot. The ball rebounded to Calum Duffy, wearing the number nine shirt, and he did well to pick his spot, and to slot the ball into the net. Within less than a minute Hanwell went in front. A long kick from Aaron found Tom, who, in turn, played in Calum, who deftly flicked the ball into the bottom corner. He was immediately buried under a pile of delighted team mates and worryingly took quite a while to get back on his feet.
The flurry of goals lifted Town’s performance, at the same time seeming to deflate the visitors. The only noteworthy action as half time approached being when a surging run down the right by Kieron Cathline set up Louis, but the ensuing shot was easily saved by Lamar Johnson.
The start of the second half saw Hanwell have a great chance to increase their lead. A towering header from Olly Duffy in midfield put Calum through but the high bounce forced him to delay his shot and the chance was lost. Almost immediately came a moment of controversy that led to the equalizer. The lively Koranteng appeared to barge Harry in the back right in front of the referee’s assistant. Both he and the referee allowed play to continue and, with Town still expecting a free kick, Koranteng dribbled towards the area from whence he curled the ball into the net.
Town tried to respond to the setback and ‘keeper Johnson needed to dive at Louis’ feet after he had been put through by Harry. However, it was the Abbots who scored the all-important fifth goal, in the sixty-fourth minute. Koranteng was involved again, crossing low for Ellis Brown to slide in, just beating Aaron to the ball. The goal seemed to inspire the visitors and both Clark and Jack Stevenson went close with long range efforts in the following minutes.
Hanwell made their final two substitutions in the sixty-eighth minute, their earlier one of Will Wambeek being necessitated by an injury to Jack Waldren, with Brian Testolin and Tyrike Hunte replacing Louis and Harvey. Brian immediately made an impact with a good run and cross finding Tom, but he was dispossessed before he could shoot.
The latter stages of the game saw Town, urged on by ‘The Massive’ behind the goal, striving hard for an equalizer. Kieron made a good run down the right but his cross was just too deep for Tyrike to reach. Andy then made a great, saving tackle in mid-field but his ensuing through ball was just too heavy. Kieron and Brian were combining well down the Hanwell right but to no avail. Town’s last chance to rescue a point came from a deep Tom Collins corner headed back across the goal by Andy. The bouncing ball was half cleared to the edge of the area where Calum got in a tremendous goal-bound effort but, alas, it was blocked.
It had been one of those games where the losing team deserved something, although a draw would have been unfair on the victors. They do something like that in rugby union regarding tries scored, but it wouldn’t translate to soccer!
TEAM: 1.Aaron Bufton 2.Kieron Cathline 3.Jack Waldren (17.William Wambeek 55) 4.Olly Duffy © 5.Dwayne Duncan 6.Andy O’Brien 7.Louis Bircham (14.Brian Testolin 68) 8.Harry Rush 9.Calum Duffy 10.Tom Collins 11.Harvey Killeen (15.Tyrike Hunte 68). Unused substitutes: 12.Gareth Chendlik 16.Daniel Julienne.