Cheshunt 4 Hanwell Town 2
By Clive Cooke
Our excellent away record which had seen us undefeated in nine games going back to 30th October 2018 came to an end as we were beaten 4-2 by promotion chasing Cheshunt on their artifical surface pitch but that only tells a part of the story as we could have had the game sown up inside the first thirty minutes such was our dominance but two defensive errors let the home side back into the game and our oportunity had gone.
Our side showed three changes from that which had beaten South Park seven days earlier. With Andy O'Brien not available due to work commitments and Harry Rush injured, Ollie Duffy dropped back into the centre of defence to play alongside Dwayne Duncan. Harry's injury enabled Dan Julienne to return in midfield and there was a change in the front line with new signing Zane Gangadeen from Uxbridge coming in to replace Brian Testolin. Zane had scored twice in Uxbridge's 4-3 beating of us in the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup earlier in the season. Leading goalscorer Tom Collins who was back from holiday was on the bench.
Zane almost had the perfect start to his Hanwell career, when an excellent pass by Keiron Cathline set Louis Bircham clear on the right. Louis's low cross into the goalmouth was met by Zane at the near post and he turned the ball goalwards but the Cheshunt keeper, Harry Girling, was able to block the ball with his feet. Minutes later, a less straightforward chance fell to Zane when Ollie Duffy headed Louis's corner back across goal but Zane's close-range effort saw the ball finish up in the side netting.
However, on the fifteen minute mark we took the lead, Zane who seemed to be involved with everything going forward at this stage played the ball across the goalmouth where Louis volleyed the ball home to end his personal goal famine, having not found the net since the London Senior Cup tie against Tooting & Mitcham way back in September, close on six months ago. In virtually their first meaningful attack of the game, Aaron Bufton made an excellent save low down at the post from a goalward bound header from Cheshunt's Taylor McKenzie. In the twenty seventh minute we scored again. Excellent work by Danny Julienne saw the ball reach Louis on the right, he switched the ball inside to Zane who sent in rather a speculative shot towards the far corner of the net which Girling failed to save. Cheshunt were fighting hard to get back into the game and were handed a lifeline when Aaron immediately after making an excellent save from Jason Hallet's shot fumbled a straightforward header from Ashley Nzala over the line and into our net.
Worse was to follow when just minutes later when we had given the ball away at the other end, Cheshunt were awarded a free kick some thirty yards from goal and Jordan Westcott curled the ball over our wall and into the bottom corner of our net. On the stroke of half time, Dwayne Duncan, who has been so sound in the middle of our defence completely missed his kick when trying to clear the ball to give Hallet the simple task to steer the ball past Aaron into our net. It was difficult to comprehend at half time just what had happened. Leading 2-0 and then conceding three goals in the space of ten minutes to give the home side the lead !!
We made our first substitution at the interval, Tom Collins coming on to replace Jack Waldren but it was Cheshunt who were to score again when a long ball forward found Nzala who muscled Ollie away before racing on to drill the ball home. Almost straight from the kickoff, Aaron prevented us from going even further behind with an excellent point-blank range save from Guiseppe Re. On the hour mark, a cross-shot by Tom from way out on the left just evaded the feet of Jeremiah Maja as he slid in at the far post.
Re then had a shot from distance which just went over the bar and then Aaron got his fingertips to a fierce shot by Connor Hogan which rattled our crossbar. We made our second substitution with Alex Cathline replacing Louis with just twenty minutes remaining but his had little effect as Cheshunt controlled the game comfortably and Girling was not required to make a save of any significance until the final whistle. We made our third and final substitution with Gareth Chendlik replacing Jeremiah with ten minutes to go.
In the final minutes, there was a very unpleasant incident when one of Cheshunt's substitutes, Al Hafeez Sanusi after being fouled by Ollie then spat in Ollie's direction. This resulted in a melee before the referee quite rightly pulled out his red card for Sanusi whilst Ollie was shown a yellow card.
TEAM: Aaron Bufton, Keiron Cathline, Will Wambeek, Oliver Duffy (capt), Dwayne Duncan, Calum Duffy, Daniel Julienne, Louis Bircham, Jeremiah Maja, Zane Gangadeen and Jack Waldren. Substitutes used: Tom Collins for Waldren (46), Alexander Cathline for Bircham (67) and Gareth Chendlik for Jeremiah Maja (80). Unused substitutes: Brian Testolin and Wayne Carter.