Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Hathaway’s late point-blank stop saves the day

A LATE own goal was enough to secure all three Wycombe and District League Senior Division points for visitors Hambleden

A LATE own goal was enough to secure all three Wycombe and District League Senior Division points for visitors Hambleden at Prestwood on Saturday.

Hambleden started brightly and from a combination of play commencing with Brunning at left back and involving North, Wilkins, Ryan Kemp and Chivers the ball found its way to Lewis Brown who tested the opposing fullback and crossed well. Paul Reading, arriving at speed, narrowly missed the target.

Brown continued to torment down the right and failed when in a prominent position after losing his feet on the slippery turf. Micheal Wilkins shrugged off a challenge when played in by Ryan Kemp who then fed Reading who shot tamely at the keeper.

Prestwood began to acclimatise to the early pressure and Tom Irving had to be alert halting the progress of Prestwood’s left winger Pat Aldridge.

Aldridge set up Dave Hollis, Prestwood’s striker, who could have opened the scoring when clean through after turning away from both James Rodrigues and Adam Markwell but the striker scuffed his shot wide of the mark. Whilst Ben Chivers and Ryan Kemp broke down most of Prestwood’s attacking play, Webb for Prestwood was allowed to shoot from the edge of the area but Ross Hathaway in the Hambleden goal pulled off a fine save, diving full length to turn away the shot that was due to find its way into the bottom corner of the net.

On 28 minutes Hambleden found the breakthrough. Tom Irving’s strong run from fullback allowed Brown time and space to drive a cross into the danger area.

Whilst seemingly drifting away from its intended target Brown’s cross took a deflection off M Hollis in Prestwood’s defence and the ball found its way to the on-rushing Wilkins who scored with a combination of head and shoulder at the back post, to claim his first for the club.

Hambleden could have extended their lead when Wilkins found Reading in space inside the area but the Prestwood keeper saved well.

With the large pitch taking its toll on early season fitness levels, Hambleden allowed the pace to be dropped and effectively put themselves on the back foot. Irving was caught out by Aldridge, the pacy winger finding Prestwood’s D Hollis inside the area who sidestepped Rodrigues before firing wide. Hambleden regained composure and whilst dominant in midfield struggled to find any meaningful openings in front of goal.

With 18 minutes to play Aldridge and Hollis combined to set Prestwood’s Linny on a mazy run into the box. With a plethora of Hambleden shirts behind the ball a rash challenge by Markwell allowed Linny to go crashing to the floor and claim a penalty kick.

Prestwood’s Paul Webb stepped up to fire home the equaliser.

Hambleden hit back as Brown and Irving combined again down the right and Brunning fed North down the left but both wingers’ crosses couldn’t find their desired destinations. Without a meaningful effort on goal and with the game drifting to a draw Brown again found space down the right, his cross found Chivers in an advanced position eight yards from goal.

The midfielder rose highest and under pressure directed his header goalwards without too much force.

With the ball set to be collected by the goalkeeper, Prestwood’s retreating M Hollis brushed deflection saw the ball move enough to out fox the keeper and nestle into the back of the net.

Hathaway made sure all points went Hambleden’s way with a fine point-blank save from close in late in the game.

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