PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
UXBRIDGE 1 HANWORTH VILLA 3
28 OCTOBER 2023
BELOW PAR REDS FALL TO THE VILLAINS
Uxbridge were looking to build on their performance, and the three points it earned, at Hartley Wintney the previous Saturday. However, Hanworth Villa had not read the script and deservedly left Honeycroft with all three points. The Reds were missing a number of players through injury, suspension and unavailability and gave debuts to recently signed Andrew McCorkell in goal and former Fulham Under 23 centre half Eric Ameyaw.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to the visitors in only the second minute, following an Uxbridge free kick. The ball was cleared, and The Villains found themselves in a three on one situation. Finlay McNab was put through on goal, but McCorkell was quickly off his line to smother the shot. A minute later the visitors had another opportunity to open the scoring. A long clearance from Terry Buss, the veteran Hanworth Villa keeper, saw the Uxbridge defence stand and watch as Kyen Nicholas attacked the ball and McCorkell was forced to punch clear under pressure. McNab picked up the loose ball and let fly, fortunately, James Gurteen was in the right place to block his goal-bound shot. A Dean Morgan floated effort over the bar was all the Reds had to show for their efforts in the opening fifteen minutes, as they struggled to find any fluidity to their passing. Having gone close twice to giving his side the lead McNab made it third time lucky, scoring with a far-post header, from a well-rehearsed corner. McCorkel’s fingertips couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the line as he flung himself full-length in vain. Hanworth doubled their lead in the thirty-third minute from another set-piece. A free kick from the halfway line was hoisted into the box where George Wells headed across the face of goal for an unmarked Guy Ansah-Palmer to prod home from the six-yard line. Uxbridge, having spent much of the half trying to pick out Morgan with long passes, finally got the ball on the deck and produced their best passage of play in a ninety second spell just before halftime. A total of Seventeen passes were exchanged between the men in red, which resulted in Lewis Patrick’s dangerous cross being volleyed clear by Wells for a corner. From the half-cleared set-piece Brad Pagliaroli produced a peach of a cross which picked out Gurteen at the far-post. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep his volley down and Buss was relieved to watch it sail over the bar.
Uxbridge needed a fast start to the second half if they were to find a way back into the game but found themselves three down within ten minutes of the restart. Ben Geraghty won the ball and fed McNab who played a neat one-two with Nicholas before slotting into the far-corner past McCorkell. The game at this point was effectively done and dusted. The Reds needing to find three goals in just over half-an-hour to somehow rescue at least a point. Considering they had failed to register a single shot on target in the previous fifty-five minutes, it was going to be a tall order. The Villains, through Nicholas, almost made it four three minutes later, but McCorkell showed why he was voted number one, of the number ones’ in the Isthmian League South Central Division last season, pushing the strikers shot from close range round the post. Moments later he was down smartly at his near post to deny substitute Kyron Richards, as the visitors threatened to run riot. In an attempt to stem the tide and to try and a find way back into the match Danny Edwards made a triple substitution in the sixty-second minute. Fit again Bernard Mensah, Ezra Ndukuba and Kensley Maloney replacing Alex Witham, Prince Ogunmekan and Morgan. These changes saw the Reds enjoy more of the play and they were awarded a penalty in the seventy-third minute when Ndukuba was bundled over as he made a run into the box. Unfortunately, George Moore’s well struck spot-kick was saved by the boot of Buss as he dived the wrong way, and the ball spung up and over the bar. Despite enjoying more of the play Uxbridge failed to create any worthwhile chances and The Villains always looked dangerous on the break. McCorkell once again denying Nicholas with an outstretched arm as he attempted to lift the ball over him in the eighty-ninth minute. Pagliaroli saw his rasping drive from the edge of the box just clear the crossbar in stoppage time before, with only seconds remaining, Gurteen grabbed a consolation goal with his sides second attempt on target. Picking the ball up just inside the box, the twinkle toed centre half dribbled his way past a defender and unleashed a powerful left-footed shot that flew past Buss into the roof of the net.
An afternoon to forget for The Reds. A bad day at the office or whatever cliché you choose to describe the events at the newly renovated Honeycroft, Edwards and his coaching staff will be hoping for a positive response at Marlow on Tuesday night.
Uxbridge line-up: McCorkell, Andrew, Patrick, Ameyaw, Gurteen, Cole, Pagliaroli, Ogunmekan, Moore, Morgan, Witham. Subs Used: Mensah for Morgan, Maloney for Ogunmekan, Ndukuba for Witham. Not Used: Paine and Taylor.