The teams enter the arena


Hanwell Town overcame a tough test to secure their play-off spot

There are 6 Middlesex FA affiliated clubs playing at Step 4 of the Non-League Pyramid.  They are Ashford Town (Middlesex), Bedfont Sports, Hanwell Town, Northwood, Staines Town and Uxbridge.  They all currently compete in the Isthmian League South Central Division.

Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) report on the game between Ashford Town (Middlesex) and Hanwell Town, at the Robert Parker Stadium on Easter Monday, 18th April.  They also review the situation regarding all six clubs, following the action on this, the penultimate playing day of their regular league season. 

The preliminaries

At the start of play, Ashford Town (Middlesex) were in 12th place in the league table, with 38 points from their 34 matches.   Hanwell Town, with 66 points, were in 5th place, the last play-off position.  A fierce battle ensued, with the Tangerines contesting the outcome all the way, before succumbing to the only goal of the game, an 81st minute penalty.

The first direct attempt on goal, after 5 minutes play, was a well struck head-high drive from Hanwell’s Ogo Obi, which was safely parried by Ashford Town custodian, Alfie McNally.   Then a cross shot from Ogo’s teammate, George Nicholas was too high.

An excellent long cross-field ball, struck by Hanwell’s Jack Hutchinson, released Dan Carr on the left.  Dan’s subsequent centre was headed away.

Dan Brown shoots...

At the other end, a fierce drive from Tangerines’ striker, Dan Brown brought a good low save from Geordies’ keeper Hugo Sobte.

...and Hugo Sobte saves

Ashford’s Kain Adom broke up the right and his dangerous low cross was turned for a corner.

Keeper Alfie McNally beats Ogo Obi to a through ball

In a spell of Hanwell pressure, Dan Carr’s free kick from halfway was dealt with by Ashford’s defence.  Keeper McNally left his penalty area to beat Ogo Obi to a through ball.   Then a timely interception by Dale Burnham robbed a well-placed Ogo Obi, in the act of shooting.

Ethan Hellyer shoots...

Ashford had a good chance of going ahead in the 34th minute.   Wayne Ridgley won possession and fed Ethan Hellyer, whose shot was just wide.

...just wide

Tempers began to fray in this very competitive match and as the interval approached, Ashford’s stylish midfielder, Murphy Parker and Hanwell’s George Nicholas received yellow cards, following separate incidents.

Tempers begin to fray

Hanwell continued to press for a vital opening goal.  Dernell Wynter’s shot from 25 yards was charged down.   Jack Hutchinson shot over the bar from a good position, after surprisingly avoiding an offside flag.   Then Ashford’s Clyde Obdo coolly dribbled past 2 attackers in his penalty box before clearing his lines.

Jack Hutchinson (7) fires over the bar

Score at half time: Ashford Town (Middlesex) 0   Hanwell Town 0

Ashford Town’s David Pitt won possession 30 yards out and tried a shot, which was wide.   Then Hanwell’s Kyle Watson headed a dangerous cross out from under his crossbar.

The Tangerines were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute, following a fracas.  Wayne Ridgley, who threw a punch, received a red card.  The Geordies’ Kyle Watson got a yellow one.

Alfie McNally pushes Sam Saunders' free kick for a corner

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure but Ashford resisted doggedly.   Ogo Obi picked up a through ball and bore down on goal but Alfie McNally saved with his feet.  Alfie then saved a fierce low drive from Tom Collins and also pushed a free kick from Sam Saunders over the bar for a corner.

Sam Saunders is tripped in the box

Hanwell Town were awarded a penalty in the 81st minute.   After a goalmouth melee, during which several shots were charged down, Sam Saunders was tripped.   Tom Collins hit the penalty into the space in the middle of the goal, which the diving keeper had vacated with his dive.

Tom Collins scores from the spot

Ashford Town continued to resist and Kain Adom won the ball and released a stinging shot which Hugo Sobte dealt with efficiently.

Ogo Obi provided the main threat for the Geordies.  He won the ball out wide, cut in and set up Tom Collins, whose shot was deflected for a corner. 

Ashford still refused to give up and in the closing minutes, sent goalkeeper Alfie McNally into the Hanwell penalty area for a corner.   However, the visitors held on to their hard-won advantage, through the 5 minutes of added time.   During the final frenetic stages, referee Alan Cresswell, who handled a difficult game very well, issued a yellow card to an occupant of the Ashford Town dug-out.

The Ashford keeper in the Hanwell box for a corner

Hanwell Town obviously deserved their win but Ashford Town are to be commended on a fighting performance, especially as they were a player short for the majority of the second half.

Final score: Ashford Town (Middlesex) 0   Hanwell Town 1

Ashford Town (Middlesex): Alfie McNally, Sam Humphreys, Alex Duffy, Murphy Parker, Dale Burnham, Clyde Obdo, Kain Adom, Wayne Ridgley, Daniel Brown, David Pitt (Connor Holland 57) and Ethan Hellyer (Nash Doukoure 67). 

Unused substitutes: George Spiers, Tommy Brunto and Ayodeji Owoeye

Hanwell Town: Hugo Sobte, Dan Carr, Kyle Watson, George Nicholas (Sam Saunders 61), Dwayne Duncan, Calum Duffy, Jack Hutchinson, Harry Rush, Gareth Chendlik (Tomasz Siemienczuk 69), Dernell Wynter (Tom Collins 71) and Ogo Obi.

Unused substitutes: Romario Jonas and Massimo Giamattei.

Referee: Alan Cresswell   Assistant Referees: Jonathan Was and Adam Jackson.

Attendance: 199.

With one round of matches to play, the position regarding the Middlesex clubs is as follows.

Hanwell Town’s win moved them up into 4th place in the table with 69 points and ensures them a play off position.   Basingstoke Town currently on 67 could overtake them and Uxbridge could equal their points tally.   However, Hanwell’s goal difference is currently 43 to Uxbridge’s 24.

Third placed Bedfont Sports won 1-0 at second placed Chertsey Town, with a 63rd minute goal by Daniel Williams, thus reversing those league positions.   Both clubs were already sure of finishing in the play off positions but they were playing for a home draw.   Both clubs now have 73 points and cannot be overtaken.  Bedfont Sports finish their fixtures on Saturday, with a home match against runaway champions, Bracknell Town.

Uxbridge beat Chalfont St Peter 3-1 at home.  They went ahead in the 11th minute through Juwon Akintunde.  Chalfont equalised before half time but Alex Witham and Mahlondo Martin added further goals in the second half.   The win puts Uxbridge into 6th place on 66 points, a point behind 5th placed Basingstoke Town, who lost 4-1 at home to Binfield.  Uxbridge currently have a GD of +24 against Basingstoke’s +14.  Their last fixture is at South Park, while Basingstoke host Chalfont St Peter.

Ashford Town (Middlesex) are currently in 13th place on 38 points, while Northwood, who were without a match having already played 35 games are 11th with 39 points.   The unfortunate Staines Town lost 3-1 at Tooting & Mitcham United.  Their goal was scored by Vahya Aly.

We thank Chris & Jim for giving up their Bank Holiday to take in some all Middlesex action, as ever Chris & Jim have selected some of their favourite shots from the match that have been included in the report. Finally we thank Chris for sharing a full album of imagery from the match.

Chris & Jim's Picks

Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn