On October 20th, Hanwell Town took on Northwood FC at their home ground, Reynolds Fields, resulting in a score of 1-1.

Early Autumn night in West London, cold air and Covid not deterring 200 jovial, good natured supporters of all ages. The youngest flaunt their Hanwell gear, trapezing around the pitch in anticipation. The pitch too waits impatient, immaculate, with an atmosphere of expectation. A win would take Hanwell joint top of the table.

The first shots on target came twenty minutes in; after a corner for Hanwell the team maintained pressure, forcing two good saves from Northwood keeper Hafed Al-Droubi. Continued offence and the first real pressure from the home side since the opening seconds. The defensive four from Hanwell continue to tackle and pass in a calm, assured manner, the game opens up midway through the first half.

Northwood began to impose themselves, however some strong defence from Hanwell’s Will Wambeek and a gutting offside for Northwood proved deflating. Differences between the teams start to become apparent; the Hanwell back four are very in tune with each other, and their defensive composure carries the team when passing as a quartet before sending the ball up the pitch. Their style involves more lofted, higher balls that don’t always reach the desired player; they play a much more aerial game. By contrast, Northwood put every ball through their midfield. They pass quickly along the floor with precision and accuracy but struggle to get players in the box, leaving a lone striker swarmed by Hanwell’s defenders.

A gasp as a Hanwell defender nearly scored an own goal; either great defending or a near miss that could have resulted in a Northwood goal. Several minutes later, the crowd witnessed a great drive and cross by number 11, the first real pace of the game. Hanwell’s Ashley Nzala ran with electrifying speed to the by line and crossed accurately but with no teammates in the box, the goal didn’t happen. Towards the end of the first half Hanwell’s numerous corners and chances at goal began to reflect their league table position of 5th whilst Northwood, in 18th, fought on for possession. However, in the 45th minute, Hanwell’s Ogi Obi scored, picking his spot with a shot to the bottom right-hand corner and evoking roars from the home crowd.

The second half begins. Hanwell chased a second goal, with several attempts including a volley from Number 11 landing atop the net. However, disaster struck following a collision with Northwood’s goalkeeper as injured goal scorer Ogi Obi left the pitch, and Hanwell with ten men. Northwood saw their opportunity; and at 55 minutes, Number 16, George Isaac, darted around the Hanwell defenders and slid the ball past the goalkeeper equaling the score with a slick finish.

On for the injured Obi, Hanwell’s nimble number 12, Danny Julienne, began to make his presence felt, attempting to regain Hanwell’s earlier lead. With twenty minutes to go, the game was looking for a winner. Hanwell peppered the goal with wayward volleys as the game opened up again. At 76 minutes the crowd celebrated prematurely; Hanwell had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for Offside.

During the final 10 minutes, exhaustion set in. The ball flew frantically as both teams attempted to finish in glory. At 90 minutes, Hanwell’s final free kick of the match hit the side netting. The match was over, the score equal.

Hanwell’s injured striker Gareth Chendlik, gave his take on the game….

“It was a frustrating one to be honest. We are obviously going for the title and we think Northwood will be scrapping towards the bottom so disappointing really, we seem to lack a bit of cutting edge which was frustrating because these are the teams we need to beat if we’re gonna do well this season. [Northwood]Came with a game plan to nullify our threat and I think they did that really well, when we’re one of the top sides, teams come and know how we play and know how to stop us and I think that’s what happened tonight.”