An interesting contest for league points, between Ashford Town (Middlesex) and Hanworth Villa, took place on Tuesday last 21st February at the Robert Parker Stadium. Although, their respective grounds are only three miles apart, these clubs hadn’t met in league action for more than 7 years, before this season. That match, in February 2016 in the Combined Counties League, resulted in a 3-0 away win for Ashford Town. The Tangerines were runners-up in the Premier Division that season and were promoted back to Division One Central of the Southern League.
Villa’s domination of last season’s Combined Counties Premier Division North competition and their resulting promotion to step 4, provided us with this Isthmian League South Central Division encounter, which was witnessed by your roving team.
Before the kick off, each team had recorded 10 victories from 25 league games. However, the Villains occupied 10th place with 6 more drawn matches than the Tangerines, in 15th place. The respective points tallies were 38 to 32. The teams had fought out a 1-1 draw at The Ranch, at the beginning of the season.
An exciting and fiercely fought match didn’t disappoint. Both sides had chances in the first half but Ashford Town led by a single goal at half time. Villa equalised almost immediately after the restart and then took the lead with 14 minutes remaining. However, the hosts equalised 5 minutes later to earn a share of the points.
Kyen Nicholas (9) heads over from Sam Merson's throw
The Villains took the initiative and Sam Merson’s exceptionally long throw featured prominently in their early raids. Kyen Nicholas headed narrowly over the bar and then George Wells headed against an upright.
George Wells' header hits the upright
However, Tomasz Siemienczuk put the Tangerines ahead after 17 minutes, with a shot from the right of the penalty box.
Tomasz Siemienczuk (out of picture) puts Ashford ahead
Villa hit back and another Merson long throw was headed just wide. Sam then volleyed over and had a shot blocked by a defender. A diving header by Kyen Nicholas shaved the post.
Kyen Nicholas' header shaves the post
Bruno Tingle shot under pressure from around 25 yards and but was hurt by a challenge as he did so and had to be substituted.
Ashford keeper, Fred Chapman left his area to kick clear from the oncoming Kyen Nicholas.
Lindell Stewart's shot goes across the Villa goalmouth
At the other end of the pitch, a low narrow-angled shot by Lindell Stewart flashed across the face of the Villain’s goal.
Score at half time: Ashford Town (Middlesex) 1 Hanworth Villa 0
Half time substitute Jordan Ellis crosses...
Sam Merson was set up by the freshly introduced Jordan Ellis and equalised for the Villains, 2 minutes after the restart.
...and Sam Merson (far right) equalises
In the 61st minute, a fracas around the ball, near the touchline, involving several players, quickly became a free-for-all. Once order had been restored, the Villains’ Ben Geraghty was dismissed for a reckless tackle on a player on the ground and Ashford’s Prince Mbengui was cautioned for his subsequent reaction.
Gary Ross saves from Matthew Kellett-Smith
A long-range drive from Sam Merson just cleared the home cross bar. Then Villa keeper, Gary Ross kept out a Matthew Kellett-Smith shot with his foot.
Kyen Nicholas puts Villa ahead
Kyen Nicholas seized his opportunity and shot Villa into the lead in the 76th minute.
Ashford’s Ricky Johnson picked up a good through ball but was thwarted by keeper, Gary Ross, who dived at his feet.
Lindell Stewart's superb shot puts Ashford back on level terms
However, Villa’s lead lasted for just 5 minutes before Lindell Stewart put the Tangerines back on terms, with a superb shot into the top corner of the net, from outside the box..
Chad Goulter gets his head to a corner...
Gary Ross stretched, while under pressure, to take Chad Goulter’s well directed header from a corner and then an incisive run by Matthew Kellett-Smith forced another corner, which was cleared.
Further goalmouth activity followed in the added time, without any further addition to the score
The 4 minutes added time, appeared to be short considering the amount of dead time in the second half but it was understandable in the circumstances. The referee had a difficult time imposing his control on the match. He wasn’t helped by the confrontational attitude of some of the players.
Final Score: Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2 Hanworth Villa 2
TEAM LINE UPS:
Ashford Town (Middlesex): Fred Chapman, Matthew Kellett-Smith, Isy Nzelo, Chad Goulter, Dale Burnham (capt), Ben Peden, Javin Dougan (Nash Doukoure 74 mins), Prince Mbengui (Clyde Ikpo Ondo 74), Ricky Johnson, Tomasz Siemienczuk and Lindell Stewart.
Unused substitute: Wayne Ridgley.
Manager: Paul McCarthy Assistant Manager: Paul Mills.
Hanworth Villa: Gary Ross, Bruno Tingle (Guy Ansah-Palmer 35), Aston Nunn (Theo Crawford 64), Baboucall Bijarra, George Wells, Tom Bender (capt), Anthony Folkes, Gagendeep Samra (Jordan Ellis 46), Kyen Nicholas, Sam Merson and Ben Geraghty.
Unused substitutes: Tom Jelley and Louis Taylor.
Manager: Simon Haughney Assistant Managers: Paul Thomas and Leon Soloman.
Referee: Samuel Olhausen Assistant Referees: Fernando Costache and Ahmad Rafique.
Thanks to Chris & Jim for covering this game, as ever they have selected their favourite shots which can be found throughout the report. Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of imagery from the match.
Chris & Jim’s Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn