PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 7th JANUARY 2023
HANWORTH VILLA 2 UXBRIDGE 2 (HT 2-1)
The Reds travelled the eight and a half miles to the other side of Heathrow Airport to take on in-form Hanworth Villa on Saturday. This was Uxbridge’s first ever visit to Rectory Meadows, home of the Villains, and they showed great character in coming from behind twice to secure a well-deserved point. Hanworth Villa came in to the match on the back of a 4-1 win at League leaders Northwood, while the Reds had suffered three defeats on the trot. Harry Seabrook, Jordan Ireland, Alex Witham and Kensley Maloney all returned to the starting line-up as Danny Edwards looked to bring an end to the poor run of results.
The home side got off to the perfect start, taking the lead after only 37 seconds of play. They won possession in midfield and broke away down the left with Kyen Nicholas - his cross was poked home from close range by Sam Merson despite the efforts of Maloney and Seabrook. James Fenlon was finding space out wide on the right and his cross was met by the head of Nicholas at the far post in the 8th minute. Tyler Tobin flung himself low down to his left to make a superb one handed save to keep the Reds in the game. It wasn’t until the 25th minute that the visitors fashioned their first attempt on goal, Alan Hedley letting fly from 25 yards straight at former Reds custodian Gary Ross in the Villains goal. The equaliser came seven minutes later following a poor goal-kick by Ross. Maloney volleyed the ball back towards the penalty area where Victor Osobu challenged Ben Geraghty and as the loose ball dropped Osobu exquisitely lobbed it over Ross into the unguarded net. Parity lasted only two minutes as the home side hit back immediately to re-take the lead. Babz Jarra mistimed a header and Seabrook won a fifty-fifty challenge with the experienced Jacob Erskine - Merson picked up the ball and fed a pass into the path of Nicholas who made no mistake – tucking the ball under Tobin as he came out to narrow the angle. Half-time 2-1.
The second half began with Hanworth Villa forced into a re-shuffle following an injury to centre-half George Wells just before the break. The wet weather had made the pitch heavy and both sides were finding it difficult to get the ball down and play. After sixty-three minutes Edwards sent on Anthony Mendy and this substitution signalled a change in the Reds fortunes, and four minutes after his introduction the men from Honeycroft were level. Callum Woodcock and Witham played a one-two and the later sent in a cross – Mendy’s challenge unsettled the Villains defence and Maloney was on hand to unleash a shot into the roof of the net from six yards, his first goal for the club. With ten minutes to go Luke Paris was introduced and Edwards changed the formation in an attempt to find a winner. Having struggled to create clear cut chances all afternoon the Reds were now raining shot after shot at Ross’s goal. Mendy had two attempts in the same minute – Ross kept the first out with his legs and the second he dived to his left to deny his former club. Woodcock was inches away from Maloney’s pass as Ross dashed from his line to get a touch and Mendy fired another shot towards goal that Ross only gathered at the second time of asking. With only seconds remaining Woodcock had a great chance to secure all three points. His run into the box was spotted by Jackson and his defence splitting pass found the full-back with only Ross to beat. Unfortunately, he failed to make the necessary contact and Ross was able to scramble across goal and push the ball away. With that referee Vladysian Bakulin blew for full-time. 2-2.
Turning the corner, results wise, is proving a frustrating journey. We have another six games scheduled for January and if we are to make a challenge towards the top five you feel we will need to win the majority of these. Keep the faith, COME ON YOU REDS!!
Uxbridge Line-up: Tobin, Woodcock, Jackson, Jarra, Seabrook, Ireland, Maloney, Hedley, Williams, Witham, Osobu. Subs used: Mendy for Williams, Paris for Witham and Bitmead for Osobu. Not Used: Poley and O’Brien.