'Fists flying' in fracas as Harefield United suffer third defeat in four

Hares' man of the match Paul Underwood Hares' man of the match Paul Underwood

Harefield started this game with several players from the previous week's victory unavailable for selection, writes Harefield United chairman Gary South.

The United management team had been busy during the week filling the gaps with loan signing from Egham Town, centre forward Craig Tomkins and goalkeeper Balvinder Khaira, both of whom would start the match.

It was the visitors who kicked off on a sweltering August Saturday afternoon and they enjoyed the most possession in the opening minutes, with Hares' duo Luke Baldwin and Paul Underwood battling in the midfield against a physical Winslow eleven.

New signing Khaira looked commanding between the sticks, being forced to make a full length dive to his right to deny Winslow a opening goal after eighteen minutes.

The first half was more remarkable for the amount of footballs that were lost out of the ground, such was the accuracy of both sides' shooting and passing.

The home team got back into the game, with Jason Richards, starting for the first time this season, working well on the left flank and getting in some good crosses for giant forward Tomkins.

Harefield finally made a breakthrough on the twenty minute mark when Tomkins got on the end of an Adam Willis free kick in the six yard box, shrugged off two defenders and slotted the ball past the Winslow keeper from the right hand side to put the Hares ahead.

The visitors made the most of the rest of the half, on thirty five minutes Sean Coles found himself one on one with the Harefield custodian after eluding the home defence and shot low from the right to equalise.

Just before half time Winslow took the lead after getting behind the Hares' back three and finding Aaron King unmarked in the box to tap in an easy goal.

The second half saw tempers start to fray for both teams and on fifty seven minutes a clumsy late tackle on Harefield's Richards saw the number seven leave the field injured, to be replaced by substitute Sam Shaw.

Four minutes later Hares boss Jason Shaw took off Adam Willis, possibly before he was sent off, and gave a debut to young striker Zak Basekonda, fresh from scoring a hat trick for the Reserves two days earlier against Flackwell Heath.

Basekonda combined well with Tomkins up front, causing problems for the Winslow defenders who were getting frustrated, with heavy tackles flying in on the home side.

On eighty two minutes Harefield captain Sean Mangan was booked for a challenge on a Winslow defender, and two minutes later whilst shielding the ball Mangan was taken out from behind with no attempt to play the ball, in an effort to cause him to retaliate and receive a second yellow.

A fracas developed with all but the goalkeepers running in to get involved, including shamefully from the visitors' bench.

Events turned farcical as play was stopped for around eight minutes while the three officials attempted to gain control of proceedings.

Fists had been flying and after tempers cooled the players sheepishly awaited the referee's course of action.

Mr. Koskas appeared to show a straight red to Harefield's number two, Joe Willis, only to change his mind and allow the wing back to remain on the pitch after looking the player in the face and realising Willis wasn't the player he had seen throw a punch.

He then showed a second yellow to Winslow's number eleven, leaving the visitors down to ten men.

Eventually the game restarted, with Winslow employing time wasting tactics.

The Harefield coaching staff brought off the overworked Underwood four minutes into stoppage time, bringing on the ever improving Blaise Riley-Snow but it was too late to affect the result and the Hares' poor run continued with their third defeat this season.

Next week, 2nd September, United travel to Milton Keynes to face Division Two's Clean Slate in the League Cup, 15.00 kick off.

Harefield Man Of The Match. Paul Underwood

HUFC team. Khaira, J. Willis, Green, Clark, Rogers, Mangan (capt), Richards, Baldwin, Tomkins, A. Willis, Underwood. Subs, S.Shaw, Basekonda, Riley-Snow and Dobbs, Holland unused.

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