Saturday, 7 May 2016

LPOSSA 3 v 1 FC Assyria

Saturday 7th May 2016
Middlesex County League Premier Division
Farm Park, Hayes
Admission: Free
Programme: None
Attendance: 35 (head count)
Match Rating: 3

With games really drying up now, in senior football in particular, I decided to head back over to West London today, within a few miles of my visit to Bedfont & Feltham last Saturday. It would give me an opportunity to tick off another Combined Counties League ground, that of AFC Hayes, and there was plenty riding in today’s game, with the home team pushing hard to win their division and achieve promotion to senior football. There would also be yet another attraction with the visitors made up of one of London’s ethnic communities.

Farm Park is located a couple of miles south of Northolt tube station, and before the game and with time on my hands, I had a pint in the Brook House pub, about a five minute walk down the road. AFC Hayes started out as the pub team of this establishment and bore its name up to 2007. There is a separate club house close to the football ground, and after strolling through the open gate in one corner of the ground – I found a ground with precious little character or charm about it. Along the length from the entrance there is a green breeze block building housing the changing rooms and also a refreshment window, which was closed today. Then, the strangest feature of the ground is a stand with a toilet block positioned on the base, and then a more conventional metallic all-seater stand straddles the half way line. On the opposite side there is just a small metallic stand covering metal steps, whilst behind the goal closest to the entrance there is cover over a couple of terrace steps stretching most of the way between corner flags. There is just hard standing around the rest of the pitch. Wooden perimeter fencing, and plenty of trees behind that, give the ground a surprisingly rural and quiet feel to it, despite its location in suburban London. No programmes were produced for today’s game.

London Post Office Sports and Social Association, to give the home club their full name, are top of the division going into their final game of the season, having won 21 and drawn eight of their 33 games played. Even a win might not be enough for them to win the division though, as New Hanford are four points behind but with two games in hand, while West Essex are five points behind with three games in hand. FC Assyria were in 11th place, with 14 wins and two draws from their 29 games. With games in hand on the teams immediately above them, they could finish two or three places higher in the division.

On a very warm and sunny afternoon, this game was surprisingly even for long spells, but LPOSSA opened the scoring on 18 minutes when a free kick was guided low into the bottom right corner with the keeper unsighted. LPOSSA got back on level terms just after the half hour with a very well worked goal. The ball was dinked over a defender and the striker then shot across the keeper and into the net from a fairly tight angle. Both teams came close to scoring before the break but a level half time scoreline was a fair reflection on proceedings.

FC Assyria were actually the better team at the start of the second half, right up until LPOSSA retook the lead on 63 minutes with another very good finish. The ball was played into the area wide of goal, before the ball was fired on the half volley across the keeper and into the net. LPOSSA went on to really dominate for the next ten minutes or, but the visitors steadied the ship, despite their goalkeeper falling really awkwardly on his shoulder and having to be replaced. They really should have equalised with five minutes remaining when the ball was crossed low and although the striker got a good connection to his close range shot, it was straight at the keeper. Deep into added on time, LPOSSA made sure of the three points. An initial mishit shot fell kindly at the feet of his colleague by the penalty spot, and he spun well to evade the defender before slotting low past the keeper. So LPOSSA did everything they could today, but now have to wait to see whether the two clubs with games in hand overhaul them.

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