Sunday, 20 December 2015

Hartley Wintney 2 v 0 Hanworth Villa

Saturday 19th December 2015
The Memorial Playing Fields, Hartley Wintney
Combined Counties League Premier Division
Admission: £6.00
Programme: £1.00
Attendance: 68
Match Rating: 3

This match was not even on my radar when I left home this morning, as I set off aiming for a visit to Fleet Town. However, there was little appealing about the mid table game there and when I noticed this top of the table fixture, I decided to stay on the train a stop longer and come closer to completing ticks for the Combined Counties League Premier Division.

The Memorial Playing Fields is about a half hour walk from Winchfield train station, with about half of it a pleasant walk through woodland. Spectators enter the ground behind one corner, with the changing rooms to the right of the entrance kiosk and a brick clubhouse set slightly above the pitch and straddling the half way line. It’s a pleasant place to enjoy refreshments, being spacious and welcoming inside. A metallic all seater stand is located opposite, with just hard standing around the rest of the pitch, apart from behind one of the goals, which is inaccessible for with a tall hedge, tree and goal net. Hedgerows line the length behind the stand and behind one of the goals, giving the ground quite a neat enclosed appearance. The 34 page programme was very good, with plenty of reading material and all the necessary stats to give a good background to the game.

Hartley Wintney have had an outstanding season so far. They top the division by four points having played a game less, with 16 wins, 1 draw and just one defeat from their 19 league games. They reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup, only losing to an injury time goal at National League South outfit Eastbourne Borough and gave reached the last 32 of the FA Vase. Hanworth Villa have also had a good season so far, coming into this game in fifth place, with 11 wins and two draws from their 20 games. When the two teams met last month, Hartley Wintney won 1-3.

On a mainly overcast but unseasonably extremely mild afternoon, the first half was even, although the home side always looked the more likely to score, but the feeling at half time was that we were witnessing two good sides cancel each other out.

The second half continued in much the same vein, but the home side took the lead on 67 minutes. After a shot was deflected but trickled just wide of the goal with the keeper diving the other way, they did score from the resultant corner, when Shane Hollamby connected with an overhead kick and the ball found the back of the net. On 75 minutes, Hanworth also saw a shot take a sizeable deflection but the ball went just wide of the post, and that was about as close as they came to scoring all match. Hartley Wintney almost secured the points on 84 minutes when they saw a shot cleared off the line, but they did make the points safe as the game entered injury time. An initial shot was parties by the keeper at his near post and Aaron Parfitt dribbled the ball from wide of goal to a more central position before firing the ball into the net.

No doubt that this was a good game between two very good sides, but Hartley Wintney had that little bit of extra quality to claim the three points, and it would take a major downturn in form if they do not go on to win the division to earn a shot at Southern League football, for which they have applied.

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