PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 2022
CHERTSEY TOWN 1 UXBRIDGE 0 (HT 0-0)
The Reds travelled to Alwyns Lane for the second time this season, following their 3-1 victory in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Isuzu FA Trophy in September. Unfortunately, despite a similar performance, they returned home with nothing to show for their efforts after conceding from a set-piece in the second half. With Tyler Tobin away on his honeymoon, Uxbridge gave a debut to new signing Henry Grad between the sticks. Lewis Patrick started his first league game for three months, having been out with an injury sustained at Southall in the second game of the season. He replaced Mark Goodman, who is now away in New Zealand until the middle of 2023. The two other enforced changes, from the side that had defeated league leaders Northwood the previous Saturday, saw Alex Witham come in for the suspended Kensley Maloney and with Mark Bitmead unavailable Dan Williams returned to the starting eleven.
The game got off to a frenetic start with both sides creating good chances in the opening minutes. Williams just failed to get on the end of Victor Osobu’s through ball and when it was cleared to the other end Babs Jarra made a mess of an attempted clearance, which allowed Jake Baxter to sprint to the bye-line. His cross from close to goal saw Bryan Taylor’s effort blocked by Patrick and Grad gladly grabbed (tongue twister intended) the ball as it ballooned into the air. Grad’s clearance found its way to Osobu who skinned the full-back before sending in a delightful cross which Witham, under pressure, volleyed over from six yards. Uxbridge continued to create chances and Osobu sent a shot just wide of the post five minutes later. Joe Jackson, who ran midfield alongside Scott Donnelly and Alan Hedley, fed a pass wide to Josh Andrew who put a dangerous cross into the box. It was half-cleared to Witham and his goal-bound effort was blocked by a defender just yards from the line. At the mid-point of the half Witham tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the box which Nicholas Jupp fumbled before recovering to dive on the sphere as Williams looked to pounce. As the half wore on Jarra had recovered from his early error and was dominating the Curfews attack. The only effort coming from a 20-yard Baxter shot which Grad comfortably saved. Jupp, came to his sides rescue just before half-time with a superb double save to deny both Osobu and Williams. He flung himself to push away Osobu’s shot, after the striker had cut in from the left and as Williams seemed certain to bury the rebound, he picked himself up to deflect the ball for a corner. In first-half stoppage time Donnelly played a pass inside the full-back which sent Osobu through on goal. Unfortunately, the pacy forward mis-controlled and the chance was gone. Half-time 0-0
The second period began quieter than the first and the opening incident saw the first yellow card of the afternoon. Maybe, in an attempt to unsettle the young Reds debutant, Baxter clattered the custodian as he took a high ball. Osobu carried on where he left off in the first-half, cruising past the full-back and floating a cross to the far post where Donnelly saw his shot deflected for a corner. Five minutes later Hedley won the ball in midfield and fed the ball to Osobu. Once again he was more than a match for the defender and unleashed a poweful left-foot shot that Jupp somehow kept out and grabbed the rebound before it could be swept into the net. Minutes later the home side fashioned their best chance. The three substitutes they had brought on, Kai Hamilton-Olise, Manolis Gogonas and Scott Day all combined with some slick passing and the latter’s curling shot from 20-yards clipped the outside of the post. Day wasn’t to be denied though and minutes later, completely against the run of play, he powered in a header from 12-yards following Rowan Smith’s free-kick. Uxbridge will be disappointed that Day was afforded the space to rise and beat Grad low down into the bottom corner. With time running out the Reds had a golden opportunity to draw level. Grad’s long clearance fell to Gareth Chendlik, who had timed his run to perfection - he squared the ball across the box and Osobu sliding in could only divert it wide of the post from 7-yards - had he left it, Jarra was waiting for a tap-in at the far-post. With the last of the five minutes of injury-time remaining Chendlik won a free-kick 25-yards out. Donnelly stepped up and sent the ball high over the bar and with it went Uxbridge’s last chance of salvaging a point. Full-time 1-0.
A frustrating afternoon for the Reds who created enough chances to have won the game comfortably. It summed it up when the home side announced the Man-Of-The-Match award. Nicholas Jupp. If they continue with performance like this, surely, it won’t be long before they are amongst the promotion places in the league.
Uxbridge Line-Up: Grad, Andrew, Patrick, Jarra, O’Brien, Jackson, Donnelly, Hedley, Williams, Osobu, Witham. Subs: Nugent for Patrick, Chendlik for O’Brien, Ireland for Witham. Not Used: Poley & Seabrook.