Saturday 19th February 1972

Northwood found themselves with no hopes left for the cup in the Middlesex League Premier Division, when the lost after a hard struggle to Hanwell Town 1-0 on Saturday.
Unfortunate as this may be it is hardly a surprise for the Woods. They have always regarded Hanwell as their bogey side. Even when both teams played in the Harrow and Wembley League the Woods had no luck against them.

Northwood asserted their authority from the start and although the conditions were heavy they produced fluent football. Ian Harvey, whose skills are often stifled by the mud, had immediate authority in midfield, and with Burt and Pearce running well Northwood were in command.

Hanwell were rarely out of their half and at times only Byrne in the Woods goal was in the Northwood half. The visitors had a blanket defence and often used seven men at the back.

The Woods threw attack after attack on the visitors goal but luck was not with them. Myers was inches wide with a header and Barry Wanless hammered a great shot wide of the keeper only  to see it rebound off the post. Time and time again the visitors’ defence was in a panic but they survived. The Northwood full-backs Dibbens and Harding were often prominent in the attack but they could not find a way through. 

The Woods continued to dominate midfield and at times produced really cultured football. Ian Harvey stroked the ball around skilfully while Willie Burt stood out with another brilliant performance. Steve Pearce ran himself into the ground and it seemed only a matter of time before the Woods scored.

After the goal-less first half, the possibility of a draw looming nearer, Hanwell drew further into defence. The Northwood strike force of Wanless, Coburn and Senior were often stifled by the numbers in defence and although the midfield gave them a great deal of the ball they had little time to convert the chances. When they were able to break through Price was brilliant in the visitors goal; one save from a Barry Wanless volley was credible.

In the first 20 minutes of the second half Price stopped at least four certain goals and even when he was beaten the "bogey hoodoo" held the visitors' goal intact. Bob Hickmott hammered a shot past the keeper only to see it hit the crossbar and then Barry Gould emphasised not only his own football brain and ability but that it just was not Northwood’s day.

A ball was cleared from the Hanwell box and Gould spotted the keeper off his line, his beautifully flighted lob sailed over the stranded defence only to hit the bar, where a bad bounce saw Paddy Coburn lift the ball back over the top.

With the game entering the last 15 minutes it remained one-way traffic. Steve Senior was prominent in the forward line and although he always had the beating of his full back, a cluster of black and white shirts blotted out the final touch.

Ian Harvey produced countless telling passes, but none emphasised his skill more than one effort towards the end. With three defenders around him he skilfully juggled the ball up on his foot and knee before lobbing the ball over the defence to Wanless, but again Price saved the shot.

With just five minutes to go Hanwell broke in a rare raid and when the ball went to Pulford he cracked home a great shot from 25 yards. Incredibly, this was the visitors’ third shot of the match and yet it proved to be the winner.

Northwood threw everything  into the dying minutes but to no avail. Hanwell had done it again. All the Woods had to show for it was the evidence that they can still produce football of the very best, while Hanwell have a place in the semi-final and a great deal of credit for stout defensive work.

The two teams must met again in a league match and Northwood will want to lay the “bogey” title to rest.

Team: R.. Byrne, G. Harding, J. Myers, B. Gould, D. Dibbens, W. Burt, S. Pearce, I. Harvey, P. Coburn, B. Wanless, S. Senior. Sub: R. Hickmott.