PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
MONDAY 2nd JANUARY 2023
UXBRIDGE 2 BEDFONT SPORTS 3 (HT 0-3)
Uxbridge’s FA Trophy hangover appears to be proving difficult to shrug off. With only one win from their last seven league games The Reds have slipped to thirteenth in the table and are eleven points shy of the play-off places. However, with still over half the season to go, a good run could yet see the target of a top five finish achieved. Uxbridge welcomed back last season’s top scorer, Anthony Mendy, back to Honeycroft, following his transfer from Haringey Borough. Five changes were made from the side that lost at Thatcham Town on Boxing Day, as Danny Edwards looked to cure the hangover.
On their last visit to Honeycroft back in September, the Eagles were beaten 2-0 in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy and therefore, were looking to revenge that defeat. The first chance of the afternoon presented itself to Bedfont’s wide man Kaine Kennedy – he cut inside and tested Tyler Tobin with a low shot that the Uxbridge custodian kept out with a smart save. Cairo Richards, in the Eagles goal, had to be alert to palm away Scott Donnelly’s in-swinging corner in the 14th minute as the Reds looked to take control. However, it was Bedfont who took the lead two minutes later with a goal out of the blue. A lapse in concentration allowed an unchallenged cross into the box, which found Kofi Anoyke-Boadi at the far post and his header looped over Tobin and just under the crossbar. Uxbridge responded with shots from Callum Woodcock and Victor Osobu, before Osobu appeared to be clipped as he broke into the box. As the Reds forward lay in a heap, the referee waved away appeals for a penalty, much to the disbelief of the Uxbridge faithful. A fine move involving Dan Williams and Osobu led to a ball across the box which Alan Hedley somehow side-footed high over the bar. Tobin did well to save with his feet from Anoyke-Boadi to prevent the Eagles from extending their lead, but a poor five minutes, just before the break put the visitors firmly in control. Joe Jackson’s attempted clearance fell nicely for Bedfont Sports and a well-placed pass allowed Sam Evans to score. Aidan Brown added a third minutes later after Donnelly had been robbed of possession - the ball was moved quickly to the former South Park striker, who rounded Tobin and placed the ball into the empty net. Half-time 0-3.
Edwards made changes for the second period with Jackson and David Sota making way for Jordan Ireland and Kensley Maloney. This also bought about a change in formation and the Reds enjoyed more of the play in the second forty-five minutes. In the 47th minute Tony Mendy tested Richards with a well-struck shot from the edge of the area, which he pushed away for a corner. From the set-piece Williams’s header was deflected for another corner and following Donnelly’s cross into the box Osobu volleyed over the bar. The Reds continued to dominate and Hedley was next in line to try his luck. Unfortunately, Alan must have left his shooting boots at home as his effort flew into the trees behind the goal. Twenty minutes into the second-half this pressure was finally converted into a goal. A superb run and pass by Osobu found Donnelly on the edge of the area and the former Queens Park Rangers midfielder struck a shot into the top corner. With quarter-of-a-hour left Edwards made his final change, taking off Donnelly and replacing him with Alex Witham. Five minutes later the Reds substitute was on hand to tap-in Mendy’s cross and give the home fans hope that at least a point might be rescued from the disastrous first-half. Tobin did well to save the Eagles only second-half attempt on goal in the 83rd minute, getting down well to smother a low shot. With time running out Williams’s low cross-shot forced Richards into another fine save – the rebound being hacked clear before a man in red could pounce. Babz Jarra is still looking for his first goal in an Uxbridge shirt and he won’t go much closer than he did in the 93rd minute. Witham’s superb cross was met by the head of a diving Jarra – everyone started to cheer as the ball headed towards the corner of the net – the goal took in a deep breath and sphere scrapped the outside of the upright – close but not close enough. Full-time 2-3.
Next up for the men from Honeycroft is a first ever trip to Hanworth Villa on Saturday. A performance, similar to the second-half against Bedfont Sports, will hopefully bring about the three points the club needs to restore some much needed confidence and start a push towards the top of the table. COYR…..
Uxbridge Line-up: Tobin, Woodcock, Sota, Jarra, O’Brien, Jackson, Donnelly, Hedley, Williams, Mendy, Osobu. Subs Used: Maloney for Jackson, Ireland for Sota and Witham for Donnelly. Not Used: Poley and Andrew.
Photos by Roy Green.