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Match Report: Hartley Wintney v Metropolitan Police

Post by KOB - 27-08-2023, 09:34

Hartley Wintney v Metropolitan Police, Pitching-In Isthmian League, South Central Division. Saturday 26th August 2023.
Report by David Graham

Hartley Wintney gained their first ever points in an Isthmian League fixture with a comfortable win over the Metropolitan Police. Like Hartley, the Met had virtually an entire new team from last season, having elected to seek voluntary relegation. In their team they had the experienced Liam Beach in goal, and former Hartley player, Dan Stewart, in midfield.

The Met almost had a dream start. With just 30 seconds played, Eli Williams showed good pace down the left and sent in a fierce shot which crashed off the Row crossbar.

Hartley were quick to respond and on 4 minutes Reece Wylie slid a pass through to Mason Obeng, who saw his well placed shot brilliantly saved by Beach.

The Row gained the ascendancy and play was generally towards the visitors' goal. On 15 minutes, a slick Row move saw Obeng shoot on goal to be denied by Beach, who parried. Eli Bagdonavicius, following up on the rebound, saw Beach react well and again save.

On 26 minutes, with Hartley well on top, Kanye Jobson found Obeng and his cross was headed over by Bagdonavicius.

The Met defence remained overworked, and in the 39th minute a fast break down the right by Akpan ended with his parting effort being deflected wide.

The long overdue opening goal arrived on 42 minutes. A Met attack was broken up and a fast break down the right saw the visitors' defence overloaded. The eventual cross saw NATHANAEL BOAKYE shoot into the corner of the net. (1-0)

On 45 minutes Hartley increased the lead. JAYDEN SMITH tricked his way into the penalty area before being upended. The winger dusted himself down before calmly slotting the resultant penalty kick into the corner of the net. (2-0)

In added time the Met pulled a goal back. A free-kick on the left saw a header against the crossbar and KAREEM AKINNIBI scored from close range with the follow-up. (2-1)

Half Time: Hartley Wintney 2 Metropolitan Police 1

Hartley remained in the ascendancy at the start of the second period, and the strong-running Bagdonavicius brought out a good save from Beach on 49 minutes.

The Row increased their lead on 59 minutes after a spell of pressure. Wylie made good progress on the right before finding Bagdonavicius, who crossed for JAYDEN SMITH to convert from close range. (3-1)

Things got even better for Hartley two minutes later. Bagdonavicius chased down a long ball and showed determination in getting possession from two defenders. He crossed for JAYDEN SMITH to stroke the ball into the empty net to complete the winger's hat trick. (4-1)

The Row almost added to the lead on 73 minutes when good work from the Row's latest signing, substitute Taylor Morgan, set up Obeng. He brought out another good save from Beach.

With the Row seemingly comfortable, the Met came into the game and, on 83 minutes, scored the best goal of the match. ALEX BODY went on a skilful run, which left several Row defenders wrong footed, and finished with a shot past Callum Coulter in the Hartley goal. (4-2)

Hartley concluded the scoring on 88 minutes. Morgan showed determination to gain possession in the Met penalty area and his pass to NATHANAEL BOAKYE saw the midfielder shoot home from 10 yards for his second of the match. (5-2)

The visitors were unlucky not to register a third goal in added time. A free-kick from 20 yards was taken by Akinnibi, who saw his effort crash off the crossbar. [D Graham]

FULL TIME: Hartley Wintney 5 Metropolitan Police 2

HARTLEY WINTNEY: Callum Coulter, Ashley Akpan, Mark Amaning, Jenson Mansel, Liam Gavin (c), Kanye Jobson, Jayden Smith, Nathanael Boakye, Elijas Bagdonavicius, Mason Obeng, Reece Wylie
Subs: Taylor Morgan (on), Omreiki Myles (on), George Wallace (on), Kayode Conteh, Killian Barrett (g/k)

METROPOLITAN POLICE: Liam Beach, Julien Saka, Kionte Waul, Adam Green, Laurence Ernest, Isaac Nkosi, Alex Body, Charlie Brown, Kareem Akinnibi, Dan Stewart, Eli Williams.
Subs: Eli Nichols, Kynan Kirlew-Wright, Alex Kodjo (on), Liam Montague (on), Shekinah Reid

Attendance: 209
Entertainment value: 4/5
Man of the Match: JAYDEN SMITH

David spoke with Hartley Wintney coaching team member, Andy Hunt, after the game.

"I felt it was a good game of football today and we were pleased to see progression from last week. It was pleasing also to see that we created plenty of chances. The players are getting to know one another and are bonding well together, which is nice to see."

Andy continued, "It is a very young team and this win, plus last week's FA Cup win, will give them a boost. They have a good feel for the club at the moment and they are keen to do well. Obviously, our coaching team are going to continue to give them guidance and encouragement, and we anticipate continuous improvement from the team.

"We have a tough game on Monday at Chertsey but we're looking forward to the challenge."
  • KOB

    27-08-2023, 09:42

    Well done boys, the work on the training ground, and the players beginning to bond as a team, is showing through. Tough games to come but it's all a great learning curve for what is a talented young side.
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