PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 14th JANUARY 2023
UXBRIDGE 2 SOUTHALL 1 (HT 1-1)
November 5th was the last time the Reds had collected three points from a home league fixture – a 1-0 victory against Northwood - the cheer that resonated around Honeycroft as referee Steven Hawkes blew the fulltime whistle, reflected the seventy days wait the home fans had endured. It sounds dramatic, over two months without a home win, but the reality is with our FA Trophy run and inclement weather, it only amounted to four games! Leatherhead, Marlow, Bedfont Sports and South Park (Reigate). Never let the facts get in the way of a spectacular headline! Yes of course we have been on a disappointing run of results, but we have not been outplayed or suffered heavy defeats, so hopefully this win will induce some confidence and we can go on and climb up the table.
Uxbridge started on the front foot and Anthony Mendy had the ball in the back of the All’s net in the opening minute. However, the assistant referees raised flag denied Mendy his first goal since his return to Honeycroft. Mark Bitmead, making his first start since November 5th, (is that a coincidence) had a shot deflected into the arms of Carey Bloedorn in the visitor’s goal minutes later. After starting well, the Reds survived a case of mistaken identity in the 16th minute. Andy O’Brien challenged Jack Roper for a high ball and an arm reached up and made contact with the sphere. Mr Hawkes originally pointed to the spot before changing his mind and correctly awarding a free kick for Roper’s indiscretion. Southall began to enjoy a period of territorial advantage and took the lead in the 32nd minute. Louis Stead’s corner found an unmarked Roper at the near post and his header flew past Tyler Tobin into the far corner. Tobin was called into action moments later as Jaden Thompson-Brissett’s dipping 30-yard free kick was heading just under the crossbar, Tobin intervened and made a smart save, tipping the shot over the crossbar. With the halftime refreshments on the way to the dressing rooms Uxbridge levelled matters. Tobin’s free kick from his own half was cleared to Eitel Goueth, he headed the ball back towards Bitmead, who turned quickly and placed a shot past Bloedorn’s left-hand. Halftime 1-1.
Both sides had chances to take the lead in the opening minutes of the second period. Goueth’s square pass found Joe Jackson and his well-struck 25-yarder had Bloedorn scrambling across his goal and he was happy to see it go inches wide of the upright. That man Roper was involved in Southall’s chance. He challenged Callum Woodcock for a far post cross – the ball looped up and Tobin misjudged the flight - it rebounded back off the bar to Ryan Hope six-yards out - Hope will be wondering how his diving header missed the target. Uxbridge’s work-rate, especially in the second half, was superb and they hustled and pressurised the ‘All at every opportunity. This mindset was instrumental in what turned out to be the winning goal in the 52nd minute. Luke Paris’s long clearance was chased by Goueth, putting Darreon Mark under pressure. Kensley Maloney spotted that Mark was looking to play the ball back to his keeper and sprinted to intercept the back-pass, arriving just inches before Bloedorn and clipping the ball into the empty net. Mendy went close to extending the lead ten minutes later, as the lively Goueth found the Reds frontman at the post – his shot being blocked by a last-ditch tackle. The game was then interrupted by two long stoppages due to injuries. Paris aggressively won a header on the halfway line but fell awkwardly and needed lengthy treatment. Lewis Putman made a run down the left-wing and Paris slid in and won the ball cleanly. However, Putman twisted his knee as he landed and after a very long delay, he was helped to the dressing room in a lot of pain. Everyone at Uxbridge wishes Lewis a speedy recovery. Hope volleyed over in the 79th minute, but it was the home side that had numerous chances in the last twenty minutes to put the game to bed. A slick passing move started by Jackson and involving Mendy and Woodcock, led to Woodcock sending a cross to the far-post where Jackson had continued his run. The unmarked Jackson looked certain to score but somehow his side-footed shot from four-yards cannoned back into play off the foot of the post. Into the first minute of stoppage-time and Woodcock’s high cross deceived Bloedorn and struck the crossbar – three minutes later Maloney played in substitute Dan Williams – Bloedorn did well to narrow the angle and spread himself to save. Goueth did well to win the ball and sent Maloney clear through on goal – Maloney running from his own half took aim and looked to place his shot wide of the advancing keeper – Bloedorn stretched out his left arm and diverted the shot onto the post – Maloney pounced on the rebound and crossed to the far-post where Williams volleyed wide of a gapping goal. Well past five o’clock referee Hawkes put the whistle to his lips and signalled the end of a thoroughly entertaining afternoon of football. Fulltime 2-1.
This is only a small step and our next two games, both away from home, are against teams with strong claims to a top five finish. Tuesday evening, we visit Binfield before making the short journey to league leaders Northwood next Saturday. Confidence is a big thing in sport and hopefully we can extend our three-game unbeaten run and close the gap on the teams above us. COYR…
Uxbridge Line-Up: Tobin, Woodcock, Sota, Paris, O’Brien, Jackson, Maloney, Hedley, Bitmead, Mendy, Goueth. Subs Used: Ireland for Hedley, Jarra for Paris and Williams Mendy. Not Used: Seabrook and Simmo.