Villa overcome Ascot

Isthmian League – South Central Division

Saturday 14th October 2023

Ascot 1

  • Brendan Matthew (45′ pen)

Hanworth Villa 3

  • Louis Collins (61′)
  • Kyen Nicholas (78′)
  • Finlay Macnab (83′)

Match report

Attendance: 218

Hanworth travelled to the plush surroundings of Ascot Racecourse where they faced current FA Vase holders Ascot United on their immaculate 3G pitch. The afternoon began with the strangest of weather phenomena: the half our team was warming up in was deluged by an almighty downpour of rain while our hosts’ half remained dry. Was this an omen of things to come? Not at all.

How we lined up

Starting eleven

  • 1 Gary Ross
  • 2 Matthew Gbio
  • 3 Ben Geraghty
  • 4 Seanen McKillop
  • 5 Rayan Djouadj
  • 6 George Wells
  • 7 Theo Crawford
  • 8 Finlay Macnab
  • 9 Kyen Nicholas
  • 10 Sam Mead
  • 11 Sam Merson


  • 12 Gagendeep Samra (replaced Mead, 90′)
  • 13 Terry Buss
  • 14 Louis Collins (replaced Djouad, 51′)
  • 15 Ben Merson
  • 16 Kyron Richards (replaced Nicholas, 84′)

First half

Hanworth looked up for the game right from the off, and had early chances through a high and wide attempt from Sam Merson, and another after Merson found Sam Mead with a lovely line ball, Mead’s cross running along the face of the goal just out of reach of the outstretched leg of Kyen Nicholas.

Ascot’s George Lock had an attempt from a Oliver Lahtinen-Kalsi cross, but his shot sailed over the bar.

In the ninth minute, an attempted backpass from Rayan Djouadj was overhit, and rushed out for a sloppy corner to the home side, thankfully the resulting header from Joshua Edwards was aimed straight at Gary Ross in the Hanworth goal.

A 13th minute free kick by Seanan McKillop found Nicholas in the box, his attempt saw Hugo Sobte in the Ascot goal spill the initial shot, before a forward had a chance to react, Sobte fell onto the loose ball to calm the home sides nerves.

George Wells shows his class

Five minutes later and Ascot had another chance from a corner, but George Wells was on hand to flick the ball to safety.

There was then a period of some 10 minutes with little in the way of goal attempts, as both midfields took turns in possession.

It wasn’t until the half hour mark where the next big chance arrived, as Mead played in Merson, his one on one attempt saved well by Sobte.

Wells takes one for the team

There was then a pause in play as a Brendan Matthew cross into the box was powered into Wells’ ‘nether regions’. Many a man in the ground winced at the sight as the defender took time to draw breath and re-arrange himself.

Ascot came close to taking the lead in the 37th minute as a Harvey Killeen diagonal ball found Lahtinen-Kalsi, his first time shot saved by Ross.

Two minutes later and Lock played through Matthew his first touch was heavy enough to outrun him and fall into the grateful arms of Ross.

Ascot given penalty (not sure why) 1-0

As the clock ticked around to 45 minutes an Ascot corner was cleared by a Hanworth head, Referee Neil Fyfield blew on his whistle as two players fell to the ground. To most peoples amazement he pointed to the spot and award Ascot a soft penalty. Matthew gratefully stepped up to give the home side the lead against the run of play.

There was still time for another Hanworth attempt as Merson’s cross/shot smashed against the far post.

Second half

The second half started with Hanworth kicking off, but soon lost the ball giving Ascot a chance to increase their lead, but Matthew spurned his chance shooting wide of the post.

A tactical change saw Louis Collins come on in place of Djouadj in the 51st minute, and it was he who had a chance to equalise as a Merson cross was headed just wide of the target on 55 minutes.

Collins pulls one back 1-1

59 minutes in and Merson saw his long throw into the box headed out for a corner, Merson following up with the kick finds Collins who slots the ball past Sobte to give Villa a well-deserved goal.

Another of Merson’s long throws found Wells in the box, his shot was deflected wide by the Ascot defence.

Momentum swings our way

Hanworth seemed to find another gear and found themselves with plenty of possession, a Merson through ball finding Nicholas, a touch from a defender saw the ball shielded out for a corner, a shoulder nudge seeing the Ascot defender topple over the pitch surrounding. Collins receiving a yellow card possibly for some back-chat, as there was no other apparent reason for it.

Villa take the lead 1-2

Ascot had a penalty shout in the 78th minute, but this was waved away by the Referee, not hanging around, Villa powered up the pitch, Merson cracking a shot against the upright Nicholas was on hand to follow up a header into the empty net.

Villa put it out of reach 1-3

Hanworth having taken the lead, looked like the team that was to go on and win the game, and four minutes later Merson found Finlay Macnab, his run into goal topped off with a calm shot past the advancing keeper to extend the Villa lead.

With a comfortable lead Manager Simon Haughney brought on Kyron Richards in place of Nicholas to shore up the defensive third.

An off the ball incident saw a number of players from both sides coming together, the only outcome being a yellow card for Wells, and a free kick for Ascot some 50 yards away in the opposing half, who knows!?

Gagandeep Samra came on for Mead as the clock ticked into added time, and although Ascot tried to force their way into the Hanworth box, Villa held firm to take the three points back to The Ranch, and leap up to 11th place in the table.

Final score 1-3

After the match we caught up with Chris Balchin for his thoughts on the game.