Hanwell Town 4 South Park 0
By Clive Cooke
4 goals 3 points
Town completed the double over lowly South Park in a game with a strange ‘end-of-season’ atmosphere probably owing more to the spring-like weather than the number of matches to come. The final score-line meant that thirty-nine points have been achieved with ten games to go, a total usually considered enough to ensure another season at the same level, safe from relegation but a bit too far off the play-offs to think of promotion.
The game was ‘strange’ in that the visitors, who very much needed the points, had both the greater share of possession and territorial advantage for much of the game. They started strongly and were denied from taking an early lead when Mekhail McLaughlin’s header was only kept out of the top corner by a spectacular save by Aaron Bufton. It took Hanwell a while to get into the game but their only early threats came from corners. That was all to change in the twentieth minute. Harry Rush and Jeremiah Maja had been doing a lot of closing down and challenging defenders and it paid off with a goal. Initially Harry hassled the ’keeper into a hurried, short pass, after which both he and Jeremiah closed down the recipient of that pass. The ball was won and Jeremiah stuck it into the net. It was a goal from nothing and a real body blow to the visitors.
Despite their disappointment South Park continued to pass the ball around and Aaron did well to get his foot to a goal-bound header from a corner by Harry Pollard. As the thirty minute mark approached a scramble in the penalty area saw several shots on goal blocked by various Town body parts, keeping the score to one-nil. South Park could truly feel that the goddess Fortuna had deserted them! This feeling was compounded as the half entered its final minutes. Firstly Jeremiah went close from a corner, after which Harry forced the ball into the net after twice being denied.
South Park began the second half as they had the first, on the offensive. A multi-player move, the length of the field, was only curtailed by Dwayne Duncan’s vital interception. From the resulting corner Kieron Cathline’s positioning inside the far post enabled him to block a goal-bound volley. Town responded with a flowing move that disappointingly finished with Jack Waldren pulling his shot wide from a difficult angle. Hanwell went close again when Harry put Jeremiah through on goal. Michael Eacott did well to come off his line to deny the striker. As the hour approached Calum Duffy went close from the edge of the area after which the game slipped into a lull, with neither side able to fashion a good goal-scoring opportunity. In fact the passage of play was so quiet that the ‘Massive’ were sparked into singing to the supporters in the ‘Bob Fisher’ stand, rather than to the team.
The Hanwell management tried to liven things up with a double substitution, surprisingly replacing the hardworking Jeremiah and Brian Testolin with Gareth Chendlik and debutant Alex Cathline. Ten minutes later the latter player twice went close to increasing Town’s lead. Firstly he forced a good save from Eacott after creating a chance for himself, and subsequently having a goal-bound drive bravely blocked. Up the other end Aaron had earlier done well to race off his line to clear, while Will Wambeek was on hand to make a vital block after eighty minutes. It was a credit to the Hanwell central pairing of Andy O’Brien and Dwayne and the exemplary ball-winning of skipper Olly Duffy that the visitors created so little up front where Great Evans looked a real handful.
The final minutes of the game turned a narrow victory into an apparently comfortable one. Following a ball played into the box substitute Louis Bircham’s shot was diverted into the net by Calum to make it three-nil. Then, in added-on time, Louis had a shot blocked, after which the battling Alex was bundled over in the area. Gareth converted the spot kick with aplomb and the final four goal margin was perhaps a little harsh on the visitors but welcome for Town.
TEAM: 1.Aaron Bufton 2.Kieron Cathline 3.Will Wambeek 4.Olly Duffy © 5.Dwayne Duncan 6.Andy O’Brien 7.Jack Waldren 8.Calum Duffy 9.Jeremiah Maja (14.Gareth Chendlik 68)
10. Harry Rush (12.Louis Bircham 85) 11.Brian Testolin (15. Alexander Cathline 68). Unused substitutes: 16.Wayne Carter 17.Daniel Julienne