Our heartiest congratulations are given to Hanworth Villa FC, who have captured the Combined Counties Premier League North title in style and who, as a result, will be playing Step 4 of the National League System next season.
The Villains clinched the title last Tuesday evening, with four matches still to play. They are still unbeaten in the Combined Counties League with 27 wins and 3 draws from their 30 matches to date. Interestingly, 2 of those draws came in their first 2 league matches of the season.
Hanworth Villa’s opponents on Tuesday evening were Southall, another Middlesex club, who are themselves enjoying a memorable season. Southall’s splendid run in the FA Vase recently ended in an unfortunate defeat, in a penalty shoot-out, after a drawn quarter final at Hamworthy United. With matches in hand, Southall are well positioned to take second place in the League table.
Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) were part of a large crowd at Tuesday evening’s match, during which almost all of the exciting action occurred from the 85th minute onwards.
The match wasn’t a classic. It didn’t flow at all and there was very little goalmouth action, especially in the first half. Neither team was prepared to allow their opponents space, in which to play. It can safely be said that two good teams cancelled each other out. It certainly wasn’t a game for the uncommitted spectator. A groundhopping acquaintance of mine commented that it was the worst game that he had seen all season. This mattered little, of course, to those with an affinity to either club.
The teams were very evenly matched and the only goal of the game was scored by Villa in the 4th minute of added time. Previous to that, the nearest that either side came to scoring, was a penalty, which Villa missed in the 85th minute.
Despite lots of activity, there was little significant action during the first 20 minutes of the match. Then Southall’s Louis Stead released Lenny Farhall, who cut in from the wing but was thwarted by the vigilant Terry Buss. Then a run by Anthony O’Connor finished with Terry beating Joe Wylie to the ball.
Terry Buss thwarts Lenny Farhall
The first corner of the match, won by Southall, came in 45th minute and was played short. Then the first shot on goal, by Hanworth’s Elliot Simpson was comfortably taken high up by Berkley Laurencin.
Berkeley Laurencin saves a high shot from Elliot Simpson
Half time score: Hanworth Villa 0 Southall 0
The pattern of play didn’t change much in the second half. A long-range effort by Villa’s Louis Taylor was too high. Villa keeper, Terry Buss came up to the half way line to take a free kick and tried a shot on goal, which Berkley Laurencin saved. Then, Berkley, out of his area and under pressure from Meshach Williams, kicked into touch. The Southall custodian then tipped Nathan Collier’s header over his crossbar.
Carl Pearce heads over the Villa bar
A long Southall freekick was headed over the Villain’s bar by the advancing Carl Pearce.
Hanworth Villa were awarded a penalty for a foul in the 85th minute. Carl Pearce, who had been pivotal in Southall’s defence throughout, was sent to the sin-bin following his reaction to the award.
Sam Merson hits the penalty kick wide
Sam Merson took the penalty and hit it wide of the keeper’s right-hand post.
...and braces himself for the congratulations
However, the Villains were able to take advantage of Southall’s depleted defence, through substitute Jordan Ellis’s fine shot on the turn, which found the net in the 4th minute of added time.
Arguably two of the best goalkeepers in the league
Result: Hanworth Villa 1 Southall 0
Southall should not be discouraged by this defeat. They performed strongly in a match against a very formidable side, which could have gone either way. They still have a lot to play for and their final league position is in their own hands. They are currently in 3rd place on 54 points from 25 matches. 2nd placed Abbey Rangers have 55 points from 27 matches, 4th placed Egham Town have 54 from 27 and another Middlesex club, North Greenford United are currently 5th with 52 from 28.
Hanworth Villa: Terry Buss, Tom Jelley, Jim Fenlon, Nathan Collier (Michael Kamara 81 mins), Louis Taylor (capt), Bruno Tingle, Gagan Samra, Theo Crawford, Sam Merson, Elliot Simpson and Meshach Williams (Jordan Ellis 80).
Unused substitutes: Leon Solomon, Jordan Williams and Shadrac Malembe.
Manager: Simon Haughney.
Southall: Berkley Laurencin, Mark Darreon, Frankie Taylor, Louis Stead, Carl Pearce, Jack Roper, Ryan Hope (capt), James McCluskey, Anthony O’Connor, Joe Wylie (Louis Dailey 88 mins) and Lenny Farhall.
Unused substitutes: Adam Louth, Romey Eccles-Meoded, Nathan Dennis and Koju Abayomi.
Manager: Max Howell.
Referee: Max Edwards Assistant Referees: Joe Alborough & Matthew Swinburn.
As ever we thank our intrepid reporter and photographer for giving up their time to cover this momentus occasion for Hanworth Villa, Chris & Jim have identified their favourite shots as shown throughout the report. Chris has also kindly provided us with a full album of imagery from the match.
From all at Middlesex FA we share our congratulations with Hanworth Villa who having achieved promotion and converted this into the title in mid-March now set their sights on one last momentus occasion come the end of April.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album of Photography courtesy of Chris Benn