Hartley Wintney lost their second home league match of the season when they went down to a heavy defeat against a competent Metropolitan Police side. However if law was applied to football then there would be a huge Court Appeal for injustice against the Mets first goal.
The match started in cautious style but the first effort on target on 18 minutes was a goal for the visitors. A free kick from Hartley into the Mets box saw a huge clearance up field. The assistant referee appeared frozen on the spot at the half way line unaware that Max Blackmore was the only player in the Row half with a 10 yard start on the Hartley defence. To everyone’s amazement the offside flag was not raised and Blackmore ran on and applied a cool finish. (0-1).
However if the first goal could be said to be injustice the second one two minutes later was criminal. Hartley were guilty as charged with some extremely loose play in central midfield. This enabled Ethan Chislett room to fire a shot at goal. Adam Desbois in the Row goal pulled off a good save. Hartley were unable to fully clear their lines and in the ensuing scramble around the goalmouth Jack Mazzone shot home from close range (0-2).
Hartley came into the game and on 36 minutes were unlucky not to score. A free kick from Josh Webb found the head of Jack Ball and his effort saw Met keeper Charlie Burns fingertip the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and out. The Row held an edge and on 42 minutes a precision pass from Josh Webb found Rowan Vine clear. Met keeper Burns was quickly off his line and pulled off a good save.
On the stroke of half time the Met added a third. A very soft free kick was awarded some 25 yards from goal. The impressive Chislett took the kick and his effort found the net. (0-3)
HALF TIME: HARTLEY WINTNEY 0 METROPOLITAN POLICE 3
The Row came out for the second half in slumber mode and immediately gave possession to Max Blackmore who ran on and brought out a good save from Desbois. Within a minute some loose play in defence gave the Met another chance and Mazzone’s effort from the edge of the box found Desbois well positioned to save.
Hartley improved but were unable to make any impression on a Met defence until the 57th minute. A run from midfield by Rowan Vine created a chance for Nathan Smart who saw his effort deflected wide. Five minutes later Josh Webb fed Ross Cook who shot well wide of target.
On 71 minutes Mazzone created a chance for himself and his parting shot went just past the post. Three minutes later the Row had a real let off when Nesta Guiness-Walker fashioned a shot and saw Desbois parry well. From the rebound Blackmore shot over from point blank range.
The fourth goal arrived on 82 minutes. A slick move down the left saw Chislett feed Mazzone who in turn set up Luke Robertson who scored with a shot from the edge of the box. (0-4).
Two minutes later the Met created another chance and Mazzone shot narrowly wide.
The latter stages of the match saw Hartley put together some decent moves. They were rewarded in added time with a good goal from the best move of the evening. Nick Hutchings fed Nic Ciardini down the left wing. Ciardini delivered a perfect cross and Liam Eagle headed in at the back post. (1-4).
An evening where the Row were beaten by a more polished team. Many Row players were simply not at the top of their game.
FULL TIME: HARTLEY WINTNEY 1 METROPOLITAN POLICE 4
Dan Turkington said of the match: “We just did not perform very well, the first goal was a real body blow; with the player looking well offside but we did not create enough chances this evening. Our defending for a couple of the goals could and should have been much better. At the moment we have players who are struggling for form, however, we will try and analyse what went wrong and put it right for the next match.”
This loss came hot on the heels of the team’s loss to Salisbury in their away match on Saturday.