Villa travel to Crawley Down Gatwick in the Cup

Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round 19-8-2023

Crawley Down Gatwick: 3

  • Oli Leslie (6′)
  • Oli Leslie (34′)
  • Oli Leslie (54′ pen)

Hanworth Villa: 6

  • Oladimeji Olajubu (5′)
  • Ben Geraghty (20′)
  • Bruno Tingle (31′)
  • Kyron Richards (78′)
  • Sam Merson (88′)
  • Sam Mead (90′)

Hanworth looked to bounce straight back from the previous weeks defeat, with a FA Cup tie against Southern Combination League Premier Division side Crawley Down Gatwick. 

A number of enforced changes due to unavailability were forced upon the management with Terry Buss, Theo Crawford and Ola Olajubu coming into the starting lineup. Sam Merson managed to shake off a knock to start as the only recognised striker. 


The start of the game was the premise of how the match was to continue, with both defences looking very shaky. 

Crawley Down Gatwick were hit with an early loss as Billy Wraight went down and after treatment was unable to continue. Morgan Prill came on in his place, and he was to cause the Hanworth backline some tricky moments. 

Villa open the scoring through Olajubu

It was Hanworth that got off to the best start with the opening goal in the fifth minute. A Sam Merson corner was directed straight onto the path of Olajubu, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal for the Club since joining during pre-season. 

Instant equaliser

The old adage of “you’re at your most vulnerable when you score” came true as Oli Leslie scored an equaliser just a minute later, after some miscommunication at the back. 

There was another warning sign for Hanworth on the 11th minute, when Louis Gould managed to break the offside trap, but Buss was out quickly to gather the ball from the advancing striker. 

Geraghty scores to give Villa the lead: 1-2

Hanworth restored their lead on 20 minutes, as George Wells collected a diagonally placed free kick from Merson, his cross to the far post was headed in by Ben Geraghty. 

Six minutes later a high hit through ball from Olajubu aimed for Geraghty found the advancing Alex Bellingham misjudge the bounce, as the pair struggled to pick up the loose ball, Bellingham just managed to dive on it right in front of the post. 

Two goal cushion thanks to Robertson-Tingle: 1-3

In the 31st minute, Bruno Robertson-Tingle latched onto a superb Kyron Richards pass to knock the ball past the advancing Bellingham to give Villa a handy two goal cushion. 

Hosts strike back: 2-3

Once again though, Crawley hit back just three minutes later as Leslie saw his deflected shot wrong footing Buss. The home side now spurred on saw Prill shoot just over the bar, and in injury time Marc Pelling forced Buss into a save, to protect the now fragile lead into half time. 

The second half

The pattern continued into the second-half with early chances for both teams, for Hanworth, Merson shooting just wide and a dangerous Wells cross just collected by Bellingham.

Ten minutes into the half, Olajubu lost the ball in midfield allowing Gould to run through, trying to recover Louis Collins and Richards found themselves in close quarters of each other causing the Crawley forward to crash to the floor in the penalty area, Richards earning himself a yellow card as the main aggressor.

Another equaliser: 3-3

Leslie picked up the ball and stroked it past the left hand of Buss to score his hat-trick goal and Crawley’s equaliser.   

Simon Haughney still not pleased with the defensive work took off Robertson-Tingle on the hour, and replaced him with Jay Hines to give a little more protection at the back. 

On 62 minutes Geraghty received the ball on the left wing and cut the ball back to Matthew Gbio, his shot seemingly deceived Bellingham but once again the ‘keeper recovered to palm the ball around the post whilst clattering into the post.

Watch what you say to the officials

The new directive given to players regarding ‘verbal communication’ directed at match officials saw a glut of yellow cards being shown, with Crawford and Olajubu for Villa and Michael Spence and Josh Brown going into the book. 

Richards scores: 3-4

With a quarter of an hour to go Geraghty was replaced by Sam Mead. And three minutes later was involved the build up play which saw Crawford’s diagonal ball fall into the path of Richards, who fired home to give Hanworth their fourth goal of the afternoon. 

Sam Merson on the scoresheet: 3-5

This seemed to take the wind out of the hosts sails, as Hanworth looked to put the game to bed, and it was in the 88th minute that Merson latched onto a Seanan McKillop ball to drive a shot past Bellingham’s right hand. 

There was still an amount of tension bubbling around, and Leon Solomon came on to replace Crawford who was in danger of receiving a second yellow card. 

Mead on target: 3-6

And in the final minute of normal time Mead wrapped up the afternoon’s scoring.