On a hot sticky afternoon at Berkeley Fields, Phil Babb’s side were somewhat humbled by Calor League side North Greenford United who struck three times early in the second half before a late Dean Inman consolation reduced the deficit.
The mixed United side of signed first teamers and triallists had the first real effort on goal however this was not until the 31st minute of the game after an even opening half hour on a hot sticky afternoon. Rhys Murrell-Williamson tricked his way along the bye-line and cut the ball back to David Ijaha who saw his effort from the edge of the box curl just the wrong side of the post.
Just three minutes later the hosts should have taken the lead when Daryl Brown broke away on the left and crossed to an unmarked Myles Stephenson who placed his header wide of Charlie Crowley’s goal.
Seconds later Crowley was down well to grasp a Tom Dawson shot while almost immediately at the other end a low angled shot from Murrell-Williamson crashed into the side netting.
With just a couple of minutes to the break United’s Fabio Buffano rose at the far post to meet a Murrell-Williamson free-kick, Liam Watson in the Greenford goal did well to push the ball out, Matty Harriott regained possession and fed Kamaron English whose chipped centre was glanced on by Saul Otobo but drifted wide of the far post.
The second half could not have started worse for United as the home side struck three times in 14 minutes without United even looking like troubling Watson at the other end.
On 48 minutes the ball was fed in to Sanchez Silva between Inman and Jon Sonuga at the heart of the United defence, the striker placing his shot wide of Crowley’s dive into the far corner. Ten minutes later the hosts lead doubled with the best move of the game as a sweeping passing move saw the hosts play the ball neatly around the United tackles before one of the hosts substitutes Karl Brown volleyed past Crowley from 15 yards out.
Three minutes later North Greenford scored another. A corner from the left was only partially cleared, the resultant shot beat Crowley only to be cleared off the line with Bah Ibrahim ramming home the loose ball from close range.
It was the 80th minute before United, so of whose players had played in the academy match in the morning, troubled the hosts’ goal. Solomon Ofori collected a pass and slid the ball under Watson’s dive only for Andrew Manitou to clear off the line.
Murrell-Williamson then had a drive from the edge of the box superbly tipped over by Watson who was finally beaten two minutes later when Inman rose to head home an Ofori corner with the aid of the inside of the upright.
Report by Kevin Watts.