“It’s the best I’ve seen us in years and we lost, so I dunno.”

“Oh here we go – another defeat on the road. Same old Dorch I see.” Well yes, we were beaten on the road, but losing in 2022-23 so far does not feel like the same old dross we’ve tortured ourselves with for the past 9 years. 8 games in and sitting comfortably in the top half of the league table is an unfamiliar sight for Dorchester fans of recent years, and yesterday at Hanwell Town you could tell as a team we are far superior to the performances we’d served out even last season.

More on that later, but for me, this was my first away day of the season. The last game I saw was the opening day at home to North Leigh so I’ve been looking forward to this one for a few weeks. Work commitments meant I missed the win at Beaconsfield last month, but for Hanwell my availability enabled me to venture out west to the dark depths of West Ealing for a straightforward London fixture.
With the north/south London divide separating myself and TG, we mutually agreed on the Liverpool Street Wetherspoons as a suitable meeting point for us both.

We settled there for an hour or so before venturing out west with the intention of meeting Eames and his friends at the Drayton Court Fullers hotel in West Ealing. The journey was quite easy and marked my debut appearance on the recently opened Elizabeth (RIP) line. We had a change at Paddington, then hopped on another Lizzy train before arriving at West Ealing station bang on the 1pm planned meetup time.

After a couple of peachy lagers and discussion about nonsense, local West London Dorchy exile Eames guided us towards a quick bus and a 10 minute walk to the ground. We arrived at the home of ‘The Geordies’ at around 14:15. Hanwell Town were founded in 1920 by a group of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne natives who were working in Hanwell at the time, hence the interesting nickname. This is a piece of history they are clearly very proud of, with Newcastle flags and framed memorabilia plastered around the ground and bar area. I was expecting the ground to be a typical lower league non-league ground having just gone up, but the set up was excellent and seemed an all-round decent and friendly club.

Onto the game itself: after a fairly settled start both sides grew into the match with both sides having chances. Our keeper, Harry Lee, was forced into a couple of excellent stops while our best chance came to the feet of Charlie Gunson, who fired a ricocheted ball narrowly wide. Had there been more anticipation he would’ve no doubt hit the target. To be fair to Gunson, he didn’t let that miss get to him and he didn’t stop running and battled well all game. However, it was the hosts who took the lead on 25 minutes, as Danny Rowe beat the offside trap, rounded Lee and slotted home; despite protests from the Magpies players for offside the goal stood. The highlights do show it was very, very close and if VAR (God forbid) came into this level it may well have not stood.

Hanwell were the better side for a period after that, but it was us who equalised 3 minutes before half time when a Gunson free-kick was met by Keith Emmerson on the back post for Alfie Stanley to nod home from close range. The away side were galvanised with the best chance being a Harvey Bertrand shot cleared off the line after Gunson’s free-kick was saved.

The second half, apart from the addition of a well-behaved golden retriever, was much of the same with both sides going at it. Olaf Koszela and Thiago Sa came close for the Magpies, firing just over and forcing a good save from the Hanwell keeper respectively. However, slightly against the run of play Hanwell re-took the lead with Danny Rowe notching his second firing past Lee from 18 yards or so. The remainder of the game continued in the same vein as the rest with both sides looking threatening going forward but there was little of note to help change the result. 2-1 was the final score.

While Eames and his mates left soon after the game, TG and myself hung about for a debrief with Messrs Luke, Watkins and the Taylors. There was disappointment amongst the Magpie faithful not to take anything from the game, which goes to show how far we’ve come in recent weeks. It was a game that could have gone either way, but the good thing is we now move onto 2 home games coming up, starting with Tiverton on Tuesday. Hopefully the return of Shaq and Ngalo from their recent knocks will boost us. With our 100% home record currently, I fancy us to beat anyone at the Avenue.

Making it a fortress again is what makes the majority happy and long may that continue. Our away results have been inconsistent but we have had good performances like Saturday, plus we also played well in the the Swindon Supermarine and Yate games by all accounts. Most if not all would’ve taken eighth place going into the end of September, and if we can turn some of those narrow defeats on the road into draws or better, then I’ve no doubt we’ll have a strong season. FR.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s