Game 33: Hanwell Town 2.0 Ampthill Town (South Midlands Premier)

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Game 33: Hanwell Town 2.0 Ampthill Town (Spartan South Midlands Premier) 12.04.14

Met up with some friends who had a spare weekend thanks to Reading’s game with Leicester being moved to Monday night. We had spoken earlier in the season about going to see Hanwell and we originally thought they would be playing Oxhey Jets today. However the information on the Hanwell website hadn’t been updated and they were actually playing Ampthill Town. With Hanwell top of the league and Ampthill second this was a crucial game in the title race. Hanwell’s midweek win coupled with Ampthill’s draw meant that a win for Hanwell would put them 6 points clear on Ampthill who would only have 2 games left to play.

We arrived at the ground in good time and were impressed with both the programme content (free with admission) and the cost of membership – £50 for free entry to all home games, an AGM vote and 10% discount off club events – a bargain for local supporters. The game kicked off at 3.07 following a minutes silence to remember those who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

Hanwell took the game to Ampthill and scored after only two minutes when a header into the box fell kindly for top scorer Bill Healey to smash past the keeper. He was unfortunate not to add a second goal when a long range effort beat the keeper but crashed back into play off the crossbar. Hanwell really dominated the early possession but didn’t make the most of their opportunities. Ampthill began to get back into the game and were really unlucky not to equalise from a corner when a header went past the keeper only to be headed off the line by a well positioned defender. Just before half time Ampthill had another good chance when a player went through with just the keeper to beat. He lifted the ball over the keeper but it had too much power on it and didn’t drop down in time, heading over the bar.

Whatever was said at halftime went out of the window just four minutes into the second half. One of the Ampthill defenders received the ball but didn’t get it clear, allowing a Hanwell player to charge the ball down. The keeper came out to narrow the gap only to see the ball passed back to Healey who chose his spot and scored his second of the afternoon. Ampthill didn’t recover from this and offered very little going forward. Hanwell seemed happy to keep the scoreline as it was and used up time as much as possible. The referee finally blew his whistle and there were two contrasting scenes on the pitch. The Ampthill players slumped down in the far corner while the Hanwell team posed for photographs and started their title celebrations in the dressing room. With six games left to play and a W31 D4 L1 record it was hard to argue with that logic.

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