Villa beat Leatherhead

Isthmian League – South Central Division

Saturday 20 April 2024

Hanworth Villa 2

  • Nicholas 62′
  • Sam Mead 67′

Leatherhead 1

  • Beaney 76′ (Pen)

The story of the game

On a beautiful spring afternoon we faced Leatherhead who’d already secured a play-off place. Both teams were fighting to secure their league positions, for our visitors they were aiming to ensure they got a home draw for the play-off semi-final and for us we knew that if we won we would guarantee seventh place.

There was a real buzz around the place today. Leatherhead always bring a good crowd and that added to the atmosphere.

With injuries, suspensions and illness we were looking at a very depleted squad and Simon had to make some big calls with regards to the team he put out. One such call was to play the sixteen year old Quincy Patterson from the start, a decision that proved to be a good one as the young player showed maturity beyond his years and had a really decent game. One for the future who when given a chance didn’t disappoint. We look forward to seeing how he can be brought on by Simon and his team in the same way they’ve done with Djouadj and Mead this season, both of whom have really come on this season to become two of the first names on the teamsheet.

How we lined up

Starting eleven

  • 1 Harvey Rackley-Hayes
  • 2 Guy Ansah-Palmer
  • 3 Ben Geraghty
  • 4 Oladimeji Olajubu
  • 5 Rayan Djouadj
  • 6 George Wells
  • 7 Quincy Patterson
  • 8 Sam Mead
  • 9 Kyen Nicholas
  • 10 Sam Merson
  • 11 Bruno Robertson-Tingle


  • 12 Jordan Ellis
  • 13 Terry Buss
  • 14 Ben Merson
  • 15 Matthew Gbio
  • 16 Kyron Richards

Kick off

Hanworth started with real intent and were soon pushing into the Leatherhead half. On five minutes we had our first set piece opportunity which Sam Merson crossed into the box. The ball was well defended and we soon regained possession. 

For the next ten minutes or so we seemed to control the pace of the game forcing Leatherhead into some rash tackles. On 15 minutes Nicholas took a knock and play was stopped and needed physio attention. Just three minutes later  Sam Merson went down and again needed attention. So that’s three stoppages so far – are you counting – surely these will be added onto the end of the half…

On twenty minutes Sam Mead was chopped down, the angry cries from the crowd at the persistent fouling were well evident. From the move that followed the free kick Bruno Robertson-Tingle was felled. A clever free-kick from Merson attempts to sneak Nicholas in but sadly doesn’t quite come off.

Leatherhead managed to get on the attack on 25 minutes and from it win a corner. Somehow they contrived to be offside from it.

Five minutes later Leatherhead had their best attack so far, a ball hit long ended in a foot chase which Guy Ansah-Palmer won and put out for a corner, injuring himself in the process and he was substituted shortly after by Richards who’ll have his own early exit from the game as the afternoon progresses. From the resulting corner the increasingly impressive Rackley-Hayes rose to catch the ball.

On 34 minutes Villa worked their way up the Leatherhead left which saw some neat interchange between Richards and Patterson resulting in a shooting opportunity for Nicholas who from penalty spot contrived to fire over.

The closest we came to seeing a goal arrived in the 42nd minute when Leatherhead broke and were one on one with the keeper. Rackley-Hayes made a great save pushing the ball away from the goal, the ball fell kindly for Leatherhead who smashed the ball against the woodwork from a difficult angle.

A good half for Villa, one in which we controlled the majority of play but again struggled to get the ball in the back of the net. Solid half from all the boys.

Despite the multiple stoppages and substitution the ref only added on 2 minutes at the end of the half but do not fret dear reader he made up for that at the end of the second half.

Second half

Substitution for Villa. Merson off and Gbio on.

Leatherhead showed a bit more and in the first ten minutes of the half had a couple of set pieces which we defended well. A collision with our keeper for the second saw one of their number needing treatment. The corner that followed was easily dealt with by our defence.

Goal: Nicholas 63’  – Hanworth Villa 1 v 0 Leatherhead

Nicholas makes a run into their half and is brought down on the edge of the box. Sam Mead, our new dead ball specialist crossed to the back of the box into the path of Kyen Nicholas who shot high into the net for his 22nd goal of the season.

Goal: Sam Mead 67’ – Hanworth Villa 2 v 0 Leatherhead

With Sam Merson on the bench the long throw baton was passed to Nicholas who surprised the crowd when he launch the ball across the box to the far post. This should have been a warning to Leatherhead as only moments later he took a throw from the right which bounced around the box before Bruno laid it back to Sam Mead on the edge of the box who hit it low and hard to the keepers left to get our second of the match.

Goal: Kenny Beaney 76’ – Hanworth Villa 2 v 1 Leatherhead

On 74’ minutes the referee awarded a penalty to our visitors, to all and sundry it appeared that our defender got the ball but the referee was having none of it. We had a delayed feed in the media box and this appeared to show the decision was incorrect. VAR anyone?

The penalty was taken and dispatched well by Beaney, the Leatherhead captain.

After the goal Leatherhead tried in vain to to get through our defenses but our young squad held firm.

With five minutes to go Ben Geraghty, made a lung-busting run down the Leatherhead right winning a corner in the process.

Another excellent delivery from Mead sees Patterson rifling a ball towards the goal. Close again.

As 90 minutes approached the referee indicated 9 extra minutes of additional time. Apparently 20 percent of the second half was accounted for as stoppages. We have no idea where that came from.

After receiving a booking earlier in the half Richards made a poor choice to get himself a second. Down to ten men.

Geraghty, who had an excellent game, pulled up injured and was helped from the field by his team mates. We await information on his condition. We ended the game down to nine men.

With the minutes ticking down we battled on and come the final whistle were able to celebrate consolidating our seventh place finish in the league. The spirit at this club is something to behold.

Full time: Hanworth Villa 2 v 1 Leatherhead

Words from the Chair

With his programme notes for the game James Connor shared his thoughts on our encounter with Leatherhead

The colour green

I must confess, I was left dismayed by the colour green following the visit of Leatherhead FC to Rectory Meadow last season, Hanworth Villa’s first in Step 4 of the non-league pyramid.

Why? Because it was the only colour visible around the ground that night, which made it feel like an away fixture! The merchandising and, dare I say it, age of Leatherhead’s travelling support, spoke volumes for the different journeys our two clubs have been on, along with the giant leap into a totally different tier of football that Hanworth Villa has made in recent years.

In fact, talking to our old guard that night, the respect for today’s visitors was clear to see. The year before our own inception in 1976, Leatherhead had narrowly lost 3-2 against Leicester City in Round 4 of the FA Cup, a game attended by 32,000 people and televised on the BBC’s Match of The Day. Starting out in local park football as dad and the boys did back then, who would have thought that almost 50 years later we would be in the same league!?

That said, Leatherhead will be hoping to go up via the play-offs this year and good luck to them. I could sense from the size of their boardroom table earlier in the season that they have got more money than us (!), which will be needed to cope with the all-rounds demands of Step 3. And that very much remains an aspiration for us in the next few years, but one, in conjunction with the proposed re-development of our ground for 2025/26, that we need to prepare for financially.

Meanwhile, as a small sign of our progress on that journey, any sign of the colour red today should be celebrated, as we didn’t have any club merchandising this time last year. And after all, red is the colour we won the World Cup in, an influencing factor behind us choosing it as our club colour in the first place – we’ve always been true patriots at Villa!

Talking of flag wavers, as we approach the end of what feels like a long, wet season, there are just too many of them to mention at Hanworth Villa. It has often occurred to me that one of the privileges of being Chairman, is the insights you get into all the different jobs and individual acts of generosity of time and spirit that go with the running and maintenance of a club like ours. From the youth to the 1st team matchday staff and, lest we forget, the volunteers who help throughout the week, we really are blessed with a great bunch.

So as this season draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to say a huge thanks for every little personal contribution made this year towards helping Hanworth Villa be the special club it is. By the start of next season, subject to conversations progressing with the council,  I am hoping we can detail our exciting new site redevelopment plans for 2025/26, meanwhile with the solid progress we have made on and off the field this year, I feel we will start next in even stronger shape and with lots to look forward to.

As for today’s game, I am expecting some tired limbs out there, particularly on our part, with such a congested fixture schedule of late. But if it is going to come down to a question of colour, as many a scientific study has evidenced, wearing red is consistently associated with a higher probability of winning!

Welcome to all our visitors, good luck in the play-offs, and up the Villa!

With best wishes,