In the opinion of everyone connected with Hanworth Villa FC, Saturday last, 23rd April was rightly regarded as the greatest day in the club’s history. Following their final match of a memorable season, they were presented with the Championship Trophy for the Combined Counties League Premier Division North.
The Villains had clinched the title on the evening of 22nd March, with 4 matches still remaining and then completed the season undefeated. They eventually won 30 of their 34 league matches. They were slow starters though, as 2 of their 4 draws were from their opening two matches. They scored 91 goals and conceded only 15.
Their final league match was against fellow Middlesex club, St Panteleimon, who were experiencing their first season as a step 5 club and were finishing in a creditable mid-table position. Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) were present.
The guard of honour for Hanworth Villa as they enter the field
Hanworth Villa dominated the game but didn’t open the scoring until the 34th minute. They were 2 goals up at half time and added 4 more in the second half to finish 6-0 winners.
The Villains had a good chance in the 6th minute. Tom Jelley intercepted a pass and put Sam Merson through. Keeper, Donald Manaj made a good save at the expense of a corner.
Villa then created a succession of chances. Jordan Ellis burst through but his shot from an acute angle was too high. The keeper saved another acutely angled shot from Jordan. A prod from Sam Merson was rolling into the goal before being kicked clear by Ben Dunkwu. The keeper saved a header by Sam from Meshach Williams’ cross. Jim Fenlon’s effort from 25 yards was just too high. Jordan cut in and set up Meshach, who was dispossessed as he shot. A long free kick by Sam was headed into the side netting by Michael Kamara.
Terry Buss, in the Villains goal wasn’t brought into action until the 32nd minute, when he fielded a free kick, from wide on the right, by Georgios Androutsos.
Jordan Ellis (11) heads Villains' first goal...
Jordan Ellis headed Hanworth Villa ahead from Bruno Tingle’s cross in the 34th minute.
...and celebrates with the supporters
Bruno doubled the lead 2 minutes later by heading home Sam Merson’s free kick.
Bruno Tingle (6) heads home the second Hanworth Villa goal
Terry Buss got involved in the action again in the 38th minute. He went for a ball at the front of his penalty area, collided with an opponent and ended up laying prone on his back, with the ball underneath him. The referee had to restart play with a dropped ball.
Terry Buss saves the situation in a slightly unorthodox manner
Villa resumed the attack. Jordan Ellis set up Tom Jelley, whose shot bounced on the crossbar. Sam Merson went through the middle and shot across goal and beyond the far post. Tom Jelley broke clear but the keeper saved with his feet.
Score at half time: Hanworth Villa 2 St Panteleimon 0
Villa continued to dominate play after the interval. A long ball up the middle found Jordan Eliis, who forced the keeper to save with his feet again.
Gagan Samra (7) drives Hanworth Villa's third goal home
Gagan Samra added Villa’s 3rd goal in the 56th minute. A long throw in was headed back to him to drive home. A defender, on the goal line, got his foot to Gagan’s shot but he could only divert it into the roof of the net.
The game now entered a slightly flat period, with Villa apparently happy to sit on their lead but with the visitors still unable to trouble Terry Buss, who kept himself active by taking a succession of free kicks from his half of the field.
Sam Merson takes a free kick...
Sam Merson scored Villa’s 4th goal, in the 76th minute, direct from a free kick, taken centrally around 30 yards from goal.
...and scores Villa's fourth goal
One of Terry Buss’s free kicks into the box found Sam Merson’s head and lead to Michael Kamara heading home Villa’s 5th goal in the 80th minute.
Michael Kamara (second from left) heads Villa's fifth goal
Sam Merson broke clear but fired narrowly wide. Then St Panteleimon had a rare scoring attempt, when skipper, Brad Gilmaney hit a 25 yard free kick well over the bar.
Sam Merson added the Villains 6th goal, in the 88th minute, with a low shot from outside the box.
Final score: Hanworth Villa 6 St Panteleimon 0
The Mayor of Hounslow presents the trophy to skipper Michael Kamara...
The presentation of the trophy and the individual mementoes was made by the Guest of Honour, Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Bishnu Gurung, who obviously enjoyed the celebrations, despite getting a little damp in the process. He was assisted by Combined Counties League Officers, Chris Jones and Ian Hart.
The Hanworth Villa team management with the trophy
The Hanworth Villa family celebrate
HANWORTH VILLA: Terry Buss, Tom Jelley (Jordan Williams 67 min), Jim Fenlon (Louis Taylor 54) , Guy Ansah-Palmer (Dapo Abitogun 75), Michael Kamara (capt), Bruno Tingle, Gagan Samra (Elliott Simpson 67), Theo Crawford, Sam Merson, Meshach Williams and Jordan Ellis (Shadrac Melembe 77).
Manager: Simon Haughney.
ST PANTELEIMON: Donald Manaj, Courtney Massey, Brad Gilmaney, Costa Mina, Ben Dunkwu, Ray De Oliveira (Everett 65), Georgios Androutsos, Javonne Molloy, Emerson Silva, Brad Gilmaney (capt) and Ibrahim Lukulay (Ahmed Doukhi 57).
Unused substitute: Sham Abufalah
Manager: George Frangeskou.
Referee: Nigel Owen Assistant Referees: Steve Hart and James Hall.
We thank Chris & Jim for taking the time to cover this historic moment for Hanworth Villa, as ever they have selected some of their favourite shots from the game, Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of imagery to help imortalise this moment in picture.
Chris & Jim's picks
Full album courtesy of Chris Benn