PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST 2022
WALTON & HERSHAM 3 UXBRIDGE 1 (HT 3-0)
Uxbridge’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end at Walton & Hersham on Saturday, in a large cloud of red mist. Goalkeeper Tyler Tobin receiving a red card after inexplicably kicking out at Max Blackmore following the Swans second goal.
Uxbridge and Walton & Hersham hadn’t met in a league encounter for twenty years and back in 2002 Gavin Bamford was sent off after 35 minutes and The Swans went on to win 4-3. Deja vu.
Straight from the kick off The Swans got behind the Reds defence and Tobin spread himself well to save with his feet from Jordan Adeyemi. This was one of many fine saves Tobin made in the opening 30 minutes, in what was an action-packed start to the afternoon. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, Liam Allen in the home goal, also had to be at his best to keep Uxbridge out. Allen made a poor clearance straight to Victor Osobu, however he prevented the visitors taking the lead with a great one handed stop down to his right, from the strikers goal-bound effort. After both sides had squandered straight forward chances to open the scoring the Swans first goal had a touch of fortune attached to it. Ollie Twum got in a good position and his shot was blocked by a combination of Andy O’Brien and David Sota challenges. The ball then rebounded off Twum and looped over Tobin into the net. Tuwm was unfortunately injured in the process and took no further part in the game. Tobin was left exposed again by a fine through ball which Blackmore latched onto and once again he spread himself to make a good save. From the resultant corner he pulled off a magnificent double save to keep Uxbridge in the game. Just as the Red Army were discussing a possible Man-of-the-Match award for the Reds custodian, his reaction to Eddie Simon doubling the Swans lead, following a corner, left them open mouthed in disbelief. Ten men Uxbridge had two big chances to reduce the arrears. Firstly, they won the ball in Walton’s half and Juwon Akintunde fed the ball into the path of Osobu who had one touch too many and Allen sprinted off his line to smother his shot. Secondly, two minutes from the break, Joe Jackson was tripped in the box and Akintunde’s spot-kick was saved by the agile Allen. To rub salt into the wounds, the ball was cleared up the pitch and John Gilbert spotted Baboucarr Jarra (who had taken over between the sticks) had left his near post exposed, firing a blistering shot past the shocked deputy keeper into the net. Half-Time 3-0.
As is often the case, the second half of 11 v 10 didn’t quite go the way most expected. Uxbridge re-jigged their line-up bringing on recent signing Maurice Nugent and Josh Andrew. Jack Beadle tested Allen from range and the Swans keeper had to be alert to tip the shot round the post. From the corner O’Brien’s header nestled in the grateful arms of the keeper as The Reds looked to claw their way back into the game. The game drifted for long periods as Walton were happy to keep possession in their own half, Uxbridge sitting deep and looking to counter on the break. The home side had a number of chances to extend their lead, but some poor finishing, resolute defending and the safe hands of Jarra, saw no change to the score. Akintunde saw his twenty-yard pile-driver crash against the bar, if only he’d managed to strike the penalty with such venom, with Allen left rooted to the spot. Osobu was finding space out wide and after going close on a couple of occasions he produced another twinkle-toed run and slipped the ball between the legs of Allen, to score what proved to be just a consolation goal for the Reds. Full-Time 3-1.
Uxbridge will look to put this game behind them and they have a chance for a quick bounce-back with the visit of Thatcham Town to Honeycroft on Bank Holiday Monday.
Uxbridge Line-Up: Tobin, Poley, Sota, Jarra, O’Brien, Jackson, Talla, Maloney, Akintunde, Osobu, Beadle. Subs: Nugent for Sota, Andrew for Talla, Witham for Beadle. Not Used: Farhall and Evans.