PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 11th MARCH 2023
UXBRIDGE 1 GUERNSEY 1 (HT 0-0)
The Channel Islanders arrived at Honeycroft having tasted victory in their previous three away games. The Reds were full of confidence following their 6-1 thrashing of Ashford Town (Middlesex) in midweek and in the final analyses their was nothing too chose between the two sides. Andy O’Brien returned to the starting line-up in place of Luke Paris, who is away on international duty with Anguilla.
Uxbridge started well and forced a couple of corners in the opening ten minutes. However, it was the Green Lions who had the first attempt on goal – Brandon Wallace firing into the side-netting from a tight angle. Uxbridge continued to enjoy some good possession but were finding it difficult to create clear chances against a well marshalled defence. Charlton Gauvain stole in at the far-post in the 22nd minute but was unable to keep his half-volley under control and Henry Grad in The Reds goal was happy to see it fly high over the crossbar. Uxbridge’s first attempt on target came from Joe Jackson’s header in the 28th minute. Alex Witham’s corner picking out the midfielder whose attempt was straight into Josh Addison’s hands. The lively Wallace almost took advantage of a rare mistake by Alan Hedley – sneaking in at the far-post and shooting just wide as the Reds defender let the ball run across his body. With the half drawing to a close Jordan Ireland had a shot blocked and Aaron Minhas had a penalty claim waved away by the man in the middle, Fabio Roque. A half of few chances saw the sides turn around all square. 0-0.
The second half began with the Reds once again quickly out of the blocks. Witham shooting over from the edge of the area. However, it was the Green Lions who almost took the lead four minutes after the re-start. Jacob Fallaize’s header from a corner smashing against the crossbar with Grad well beaten. It was now end to end and Minhas wriggled away from a couple of challenges and fed the ball to Ireland – he side-stepped the last defender and let fly – arms flew in the air in celebration – unfortunately, Addison’s arms also flew high in the air and his finger-tips deflected the shot for a corner. Having been denied by the woodwork, Fallaize was even more determined to mark his 100th appearance for Guernsey with a goal and in the 62nd minute his determination saw him guide the ball home from close range following a corner directed to the back-post. The lead was only too last for five minutes as The Reds hit back from a set-piece of their own. Witham’s corner finding the unmarked Jackson inside the six-yard box and he made no mistake with a firm header. William Fazakerley almost marked his comeback from injury with a spectacular goal – sending a diving header for the Green Lions narrowly over the bar. Uxbridge finished the game in the ascendancy – Minhas’s defence splitting pass putting Anthony Mendy through on goal – but the striker failed to test Addison. Substitute Mark Bitmead forced Addison into a smart save at his near post, with a fierce shot from a tight angle and with seconds remaining Mendy fired just over – Guernsey happy to return home with a point, which sees them move closer to retaining their Step Four place. Full-Time 1-1.
That’s only one defeat in eight games for The Reds as they are now showing more consistency in their performances. They will have to be at their best to continue this run as they visit top of the table Basingstoke Town on Saturday. The Hampshire side are currently on a fourteen game winning streak. All runs must come to end! COYR..
Uxbridge Line-up: Grad, Andrew, Sota, Hedley, O’Brien, Jackson, Ireland, Minhas, Mendy, Witham, Goueth. Subs Used: Maloney for Sota, Bitmead for Goueth and McGuinness for O’Brien. Not Used: Evans & Mughal.