Woods' search for win goes on
  Saturday 14th September 2019

Isthmian League
South Central

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Alan Evans   
James Brown


Northwood 1
Hanwell Town 3

1 James Hoskins  
2 Karl Stevenson (60m)  
3 Matt Cooper  
4 Jaiden Irish  
5 Andrew Tirivanhu  
6 Liam McCrohan  
7 Harry Lodovica (85m)  
8 Charlie Hayford  
9 Alex Witham  
10 Louis Bircham (48m)  
11 Kweku Lucan  
12 Kingsley Eshun (85m)  
14 Dan Pett (48m)  
15 Kiye Martin  
16 Luke Holness  
17 Patrick Campbell (60m)  
HANWELL: Hugo Sobte, Callum Woodcock, Joel Jacobs, David Taylor, Kieron Cathline, Andy O’Brien, Tayshan Hayden-Smith (Terlochan Singh 70m), Harry Rush, Gareth Chendlik (Jeremiah Maja 86m), Harvey Killeen, Maxwell Oldham (Liam Tack 51m)  

Unbeaten Hanwell Town scrapped out this narrow victory which kept them in touching distance of the league summit while the Woods were again consigned to defeat and remain second from bottom with just a point. While they were the bare facts, the game was much more even with only some controversy really separating the two Middlesex sides on the day.

There were a few changes to the side that had won at Ashford in the Velocity Trophy a week earlier with Ethan Flanagan and Chris Gosling both ruled out with injury but there was a return for Harry Lodovica having missed a couple of weeks. Goalkeeper James Hoskins made his home debut and there was a place on the bench for new signing Patrick Campbell who had joined from Soham Town Rangers during the week.

There was a fast-paced start to the game but the Woods had the edge on early chances with Kweku Lucan looking dangerous from the start. He had a shot saved by goalkeeper Hugo Sobte early on following a Louis Bircham cross and then was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Kieran Cathline who was in an unfamiliar central defensive position. At the other end, Hanwell felt there might have been a red card offence as Liam McCrohan brought down Gareth Chendlik as he looked to get past him but a yellow was shown. Also, former Woods midfielder David Taylor headed a free-kick wide of the target.

But after just 13 minutes the Woods were almost in front. Charlie Hayford played in a clever free-kick to the near-post and a touch from Andrew Tirivanhu came back off the post. Lucan was first to the rebound and his effort flashed across goal but was cleared off the line by Callum Woodcock.

After that early excitement, the match developed into more of a midfield battle but then burst into life on 32 minutes when Bircham, playing against his former club, was a victim of a heavy tackle ten yards into the Hanwell half. The Referee played on for a Northwood advantage but that came to nothing and the visitors then attacked themselves before the ball ran through to Hoskins who put it out for treatment to the still prostrate Bircham.

After the delay for the physio, the Woods clearly expected to have the throw returned to them but the Geordies had other ideas and took full advantage of that switched-off stance with a quick cross from Joel Jacobs being controlled well by Chendlik who turned McCrohan and fired home inside a virtually empty penalty-area. There was little the Referee could do other than signal a goal, much to the chagrin of the Woods followers.

Hanwell could have had a second goal after 42 minutes when Harry Rush broke through the defence but Hoskins spread himself well and made an excellent save one-on-one to keep the Woods in the game. That was proved even more useful in the last minute of the game when a handball offence by Woodcock led to a penalty which skipper Alex Witham dispatched confidently.

Three minutes of additional time followed due to that injury to Bircham and in the fourth of those, Hanwell got their noses back in front! Cathline got his head to a corner and he guided it through a ruck of players and past the player on the post to regain the lead.

Bircham succumbed to his injury just three minutes into the second half, replaced by Dan Pett, and what was always going to be a tough task in getting back into the game again was made doubly difficult on 58 minutes when Tirivanhu mistimed an attempted tackle on Harvey Killeen just outside the box. This time the referee made the ultimate decision of a red card that left the Woods with ten men for the final half an hour or so. Despite this, the Woods battled hard to try to get back on level terms and salvage a point.

However, Hanwell did seem happy to sit back on their lead and rely on their quick counter-attacks which the Woods then defended solidly enough. It meant very few chances at either end. Just before the end of the match the Woods pushed forward one last time and a dangerous cross was headed away by Andy O’Brien. From that corner, Hanwell broke quickly and Killeen was sent on his way, running some thirty yards before sliding his shot past Hoskins and neatly inside the far post to wrap up the three points.

It meant that the Woods had lost four of their first five league matches with just one point gained, their worst start to a season since their 2005/06 Southern League Premier campaign. Four of those five opponents were now in the top four places in the table so clearly a difficult set of opening fixtures but the squad will need to turn those results around soon and get the points that some of their performances have deserved.