PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
TUESDAY 7th MARCH 2023
UXBRIDGE 6 ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDX) 1 (HT 3-0)
A dominant performance from The Reds brought them their biggest victory of the season against local rivals Ashford Town (Middlesex). Uxbridge gave a debut to new signing Aaron Minhas, who joined from Beaconsfield Town, and he had a debut to remember with two assists and a goal from the centre of midfield. Danny Edwards was forced into one change from the side that visited Merstham, skipper Andy O’Brien side-lined with a knock. Alan Hedley moving into the back four and Minhas taking his place.
On a bitterly cold night The Reds were soon on top and Eitel Goueth and Minhas combined to give Anthony Mendy a chance in the 5th minute. Fred Chapman in the Tangerines goal palming away his hooked shot for a corner. Alex Witham was just wide with a low shot moments later as the Reds midfield took control of proceedings. Goueth broke through the visitors back-line but was denied by Chapman who was quick off his line to deflect the youngsters effort for a corner. The opening goal came in the 21st minute from the in-form Anthony Mendy. Minhas fed the ball into his feet and the striker turned and curled a shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner. Minhas was enjoying his debut and minutes later he dribbled through but was denied by another smart save from Chapman. From the corner Goueth and Witham combined only for the over-worked Chapman to keep his side in the contest with another good stop. Mendy grabbed his second on the half hour mark after Ashford gave the ball away in midfield and Minhas played the ball into the path of Mendy who finished with ease. Henry Grad had his first touch of the ball in the 34th minute. He was perfectly placed to easily save a powerfully hit free-kick from 20 yards. Tomasz Siemienczuk had his sides best chance of the half when he got behind the Uxbridge defence in the 37th minute. However, he badly sliced his effort wide of the mark. With the half-time oranges all sliced and ready to be consumed Witham added a third for the Reds. Jordan Ireland picked up a loose ball and played a perfect pass into his path and as Chapman raced from his line, he clipped the ball over him and into the empty net. VAR confirming he was onside by the smallest of big toes. Half-time 3-0.
Ashford made a couple of changes at the start of the second period as they looked to get back into the game. These changes almost paid off three minutes later as Siemienczuk got clear and sped towards Grad’s goal. Hedley managed to get across and put pressure on the finish and Grad got down well to save and preserve the three goal advantage. Minhas was involved in almost all of The Reds best moments and he set up chances for Witham, just wide with a low shot, and Mendy. Mendy being denied his hat-trick by a superb full length one handed save by Chapman. From the corner Luke Paris sent a diving header just wide of the upright, as he looked to mark his last game with a goal, before travelling to the Caribbean to represent Anguilla in a CONCACAF Nations League game against St Lucia. Minhas scored the Reds fourth in the 62nd minute, making a run across the box and finishing with a superb touch past the stranded Chapman from Witham’s free-kick. His performance deserved a goal! Ireland had the ball in the back of the net following Minhas’s too hot to handle drive from the edge of the box – the assistants flag putting paid to the celebrations. With ten minutes to go Presley Evans replaced the tricky Goueth and his cameo performance caught the eye. He jinked his way past three Tangerine defenders and pulled the ball back from the bye-line for Mendy to side-step his marker and slot home his hat-trick goal. Substitute, Javin Dougan netted his sides consolation in the 90th minute, finding space on the edge of the area and sending a powerful low shot into the corner of the net. Straight from the re-start Uxbridge restored their five-goal advantage. Ireland found Evans who drove forward and although his through ball to Mendy was intercepted, he followed up to send a shot past the despairing dive of Chapman into the back of the net from fully twenty yards. Full-time 6-1.
On most occasions a player netting a hat-trick would normally pick up the Man-Of-The-Match award. However, Aaron Minhas’s contribution on debut, gets my vote. He was involved in three of the goals and if Chapman had not been in such fine form, that figure could easily have been doubled. On the night Uxbridge had seventeen goal attempts compared to Ashfords five, which shows the domination the Reds enjoyed in their best league performance of the season. COYR…
Uxbridge Line-up: Grad, Andrew, Sota, Paris, Hedley, Jackson, Ireland, Minhas, Witham, Mendy, Goueth. Subs Used: Bitmead for Jackson, Evans for Goueth, Gill for Witham. Not Used: McGuinness & Patrick.