Hartley Wintney 7 v North Greenford Utd 0
Post by KOB - 06-11-2016, 10:01
Once again the boys served up a finishing masterclass in a game where the scoreline certainly doesn't reflect the quality the visitors had in their ranks. The first-half saw both defences having to work hard, and the teams were split at the break only thanks to a defensive slip that allowed Sam Argent the time to control the ball right in front of goal and pick his spot. We had chances to add to that but, as the second half got underway, I was thinking we could get caught out if our focus drops out there. North Greenford were pacey, showed good movement and knocked the ball around well.
But within 18 minutes of the restart we'd added five goals. The first was gifted to us by their keeper, who let a relatively tame Steve Duff cross slip through his hands, but after that it was pure, devasting finishing. Ross Cook bagged another hat-trick with a trio of excellent strikes, Sam added his second, and Steve Duff scored with a blistering 30 yard volley from wide left which is right up there as 'goal of the season' material for the league, never mind the club. When Duffs connects like that it is truly a thing of beauty.
The game reminded me very much of the Bedfont Sports game. I'd turned up for that one concerned we could come unstuck against a very decent side and we swept them away. Yesterday, with the visitors having shown good form after their indifferent start to the season, I was thinking we needed to be very much on our game. And we were, not just in the way we put our chances away but defensively and in midfield too. Dean Stow didn't perhaps look as comfortable as a right -back as he does further up the field, but apart from that the team purred, even though missing the injured Shane Hollamby, Adam Everiss, Louie Paget and others. It was excellent to see Liam back in the defence, and Steve Noakes had a very strong game alongside him. Jake Maddock was called on to make some good saves, particularly in the first half, and Ian Jones and Steve Laidler worked very hard in the middle to break up Greenford's quick movement.
A very good all round team performance. I had to dash off so not sure who got the MOTM - perhaps someone can fill that in for me. It could have gone to anyone of a number of the boys.
FA Vase next week and this will be a very difficult game. Melksham Town are once again flying in their league, the Toolstation Premier League, at the same step level as us. They are currently second but closing on top spot, and their recent history is similar to ours, as they could/should have been playing a level above this season.
Like us, they won their league last season but were denied promotion to the Southern League due to ground grading issues - a delay in building work at their new ground at Woolmore Farm for the most bizarre of reasons. A protected species of Great Crested Newts was discovered at the new site and needed to be re-homed, which couldn't be done in time for some reason. An appeal by the club to the FA to upgrade and use their existing ground came too late. A promotion foiled by a bunch of newts - as Greavesy would say, "it's a funny old game".
It goes without saying that we will need to be at our very best next week to progress.