PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 13TH AUGUST 2022
UXBRIDGE 1 HANWORTH VILLA 1 (HT 0-0)
Uxbridge opened their Pitching In South Central Division campaign against newly promoted Hanworth Villa on Saturday. The Villains arrived at Honeycroft full of confidence, having dispatched Abbey Rangers from the FA Cup the previous week, with a convincing 3-0 victory. Add this to their superb promotion winning season from the Combined Counties League, in which they completed an invincible season, winning 30 of 34 matches and scoring 91 goals in the process. Uxbridge, who missed out on a play-off place after a disappointing end to last season, gave debuts to four players. Matteo Salamon, a goalkeeper on loan from Queens Park Rangers, Andy O’Brien a central defender from Hanwell Town, Lewis Patrick a defender from Risborough Rangers and former Bedfont Sports skipper Joe Jackson.
In scorching temperatures Uxbridge began brightly and took the game to the visitors in the opening exchanges. In the second minute Lonit Talla’s corner was cleared and recycled to the young midfielder who provided a pin-point cross to the far post where Victor Osobu expertly directed into the roof of the net. The Reds celebrations however were cut short by the assistants raised flag for offside. Uxbridge continued to dominate but were unable to convert their possession into clear openings and as the half wore on Hanworth Villa grew into the game. Terry Buss in the Villains goal and Salamon had only long-range efforts to deal with and the opening 45 minutes reached its conclusion with neither side able to break the deadlock.
The second period saw both sides struggle to stamp their authority on the match and the pace and intensity slowed due to the continuing high temperature. Hanworth took the lead in the 64th minute following a break down the left. The wide player cut in from the flank and fed the ball into the box where Jackson was adjudged to have fouled Meshach Williams and a spot-kick was awarded. Sam Merson dispatched the penalty into the bottom left-hand corner, giving Salamon no chance. Uxbridge looked to find a way back into the game but found the visitors defence in fine form. Having conceded only 15 goals in their 34 league games last season it wasn’t going to be easy to find a way through the Villains back-line. The closest they came to finding a way through came in the 80th minute. The ball was cleared to the half-way line, where the lively Kensley Maloney challenged his marker and the ball ran lose for Jack Beadle. Beadle looked up and saw Josh Andrew sprinting up from the back. Jack’s pass found the marauding full-back who took aim and unleashed a fierce drive towards the bottom far corner. Buss wasn’t going to be beaten from long range though and made a superb diving stop, diverting the ball round the post for a corner. With the game heading towards stoppage time O’Brien was pushed into an attacking role and following stoppages for a drinks break, several injuries and substitutions the officials announced there would be a minimum of eight additional minutes to be added on at the conclusion of normal time. With only seconds remaining Mark Bitmead launched a long ball into the opposition box where Alan Hedley challenged and the ball fell invitingly for a defender to clear. However, instead of finding the safety of the trees behind the goal, the player took a touch and O’Brien pounced before curling a shot destined for the top corner. Instinctively Louis Taylor stuck up an arm and made a save worthy of many top keepers. Referee Mr Frost had no option other than to show a red card and point to the spot. The coolest man on the pitch (even in the intense heat) Juwon Akintunde stepped up and despite Buss guessing the right-way, the ball nestled into the back of the net. Full Time.
A draw was probably about right on the balance of play, but Hanworth Villa will feel that two points were lost rather than one gained in their first ever game at this level.
Matteo Salamon, Josh Andrew, Lewis Patrick, Baboucarr Jarra, Andy O’Brien, Joe Jackson, Lonit Talla, Kensley Maloney, Alex Witham, Victor Osobu, Jack Beadle. Subs: Mark Bitmead for Witham, Alan Hedley for Talla, Juwon Akintunde for Osobu. Not Used: Elliott Poley, Lenny Farhall.