- Rob Sheridan (54′)
- Luke Robertson (78′)
- Kyen Nicholas (21′)
Home side Chertsey Town came from behind to defeat us on the opening day of the Isthmian South Central Division at Alwyns Lane.
Manager, Simon Haughney, handed debuts to Matthew Gbio, Louis Collins and Seanan McKillop, in what many were calling a match-up between two of this seasons contenders vying for the top spots.
Chertsey kicked-off the match, shooting towards the Ealing Road end of the ground. The opening minutes were dominated by both midfields as the teams searched each other out, hoping to find an early advantage.
The first real chance fell to the visitors after six minutes, as Ben Garaghty played a through ball towards Kyen Nicholas, Chertsey’s Louie Bouwers managed to hold him off allowing Paul McCarthy to gather the ball on the edge of his area.
In the eighth minute, Chertsey winger Ben Mendoza collected the ball on the halfway line, but completely misjudged his cross into the box, allowing Gary Ross in the Hanworth goal to see the ball out to safety.
Hanworth looked to take a stronghold of the game, and in the 10th minute, Louis Collins hit a through ball to Nicholas. His shot, hitting a defender fell to Kyron Richards on the right side of the box, he squared to Bruno Robertson-Tingle who fired just wide of McCarthy’s right hand post.
A late tackle on Sam Merson saw Hanworth awarded a free-kick. Seanan McKillop floated a ball over to George Wells who flicked a header to Matthew Gbio, but before managing to get a strike away was pulled up for offside.
Opening goal goes Villa’s way
Hanworth took a well-deserved lead on 20 minutes, when McKillop collecting a ball from the back, once again played through Nicholas, who this time facing a one on one with McCarthy calmly slotted the ball past the keeper’s left hand side.
Minutes later, Chertsey lost the ball in midfield allowing Wells to get a shoot off, this time Gareth Chendlik was on hand to block the shot out for a corner.
Another late tackle, this time on Richards saw Chertsey’s Alex Fisher receive a stern talking to from Referee, Scott Hamilton. Not to be outdone the home sides Gianluca Botti, received the first yellow card of the game after another late hit on Wells.
On the half-hour mark, Robertson-Tingle robbed a defender of the ball, his pinpoint cross found Nicholas, who shot straight at McCarthy, the rebound flying off Merson out for a goal-kick. Five minutes later a Merson corner found Gbio at the back post, his shot cannoned off the post, Chertsey failed to clear the danger as the ball once again found Gbio, who this time headed just wide.
Another defensive lapse by the home side allowed Robertson-Tingle to play in Gagandeep Samra, who shot just over the bar.
Now fully in control, Hanworth looked to increase their lead, as a pass off of McKillop’s knee found Nicholas near the corner flag. Some nifty footwork saw Mendoza allow the ball through his legs, but pull down the Hanworth forward, earning the home side it’s second yellow card of .
Towards the end of the half, Wayne Ridgley in the Chertsey midfield played in Botti, but Ross was out quickly to clear the danger. Off the field the Chertsey bench were becoming a little too vociferous for the Assistant Referee’s liking, earning them a talking to by the Referee.
Hanworth saw out an excellent half, but would they be rueing the many missed chances come the end of the game……?
Half-time: Chertsey 0, Villa 1
An enforced change at half-time saw another debutant, Sam Mead replace Merson, who seemed to be struggling with a dead leg.
Chertsey came out for the second half all guns blazing after an undoubted tongue-lashing from Manager Mark Harper, but it was Hanworth that had the first real attempt of the half as Nicholas was pulled down just outside the penalty area. McKillop stepped up to take the kick, but unfortunately shot just wide of the goalkeeper’s left hand post.
Geraghty received a yellow card after a push in the back of Mendoza, Connor Lee crashed the free kick straight into the Hanworth defensive wall.
An equaliser for Chertsey
Chertsey were now looking more dangerous going forward, and in the 54th minute found themselves level. A long throw-in direct into the Hanworth box found Rob Sheridan, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net to the collective relief of the home support.
Collins found himself in the Referee’s book after an innocuous looking challenge after an initial foul by Ridgley went unpunished.
Looking to get back in front, Collins, after a decisive run down the wing, found Samra, his cross-field ball to Richards was squared back to Collins who shot straight into the back of the floored Mead.
With 20 minutes remaining Nicholas found himself clean through after a superb ball from Wells, but to every visiting fans disbelief, the forward was flagged offside, having clearly outpaced the Chertsey defender from an onside position.
A growing amount of kidology from the home side, saw a number of free-kicks being awarded with very little contact. But Botti, with a very late hit on Collins found himself extremely lucky to stay on the pitch, as an anticipated second yellow card turned into just a lecture from Referee, Hamilton.
Ridgley became the third Chertsey name to go into the book after another late lunge on Robertson-Tingle.
A second goal for the home side
The tide finally turned on 78 minutes, as a corner floated to the back post found Bouwers, his header back found Luke Roberston who just could not miss as he fired past Ross to give the home side the lead.
Clearly frustration was now showing on the Hanworth bench, so much so that the Referee had to approach the visiting management and issue some stern advice, to calm the situation.
With two minutes remaining, Sam Omperon was upended outside the Hanworth box. The resulting free-kick pinballed around the area, eventually rolling out for a goal-kick.
Deep into added time the Referee found himself having to deal with a coming together of the two management teams. After a long delay a yellow card was shown to a member of each dugout.
A frustrating end to the game, but with Hanworth showing glimpses of some fine attacking play will feel that there are plenty of positive results coming in the season ahead.
Final score: 2-1
Match images courtesy of TravelSports17 (@TravelSports) / X (twitter.com)