Nov 15 2012 by Paul Bishop , Harrow Observer
KRISTIAN Hale admits Wembley have issues to address at both ends of the field after bowing out of the Middlesex Senior Cup to bogey side Hanworth Villa on Tuesday night.
The Reds were beaten by Villains for the third time this season on a night where they should have been swept aside in the first half, yet came close to forcing extra-time in a determined second-half rally.
Skipper Hale acknowledged he and his fellow defenders had been too brittle in the first 45 minutes, but also felt more hunger from the strikers could have kept cup hopes alive.
“The slightly alarming thing from a defensive point of view for me was they just got over the top of us a couple of times too easily first half, so that is something we have got to look at.
“We can’t be letting sides do that to us as often as Hanworth Villa did today, but we could still have got back in that game in the second half with a bit more quality in the final third.
“Daryl [Atkins] looks lively down one side, but when he is getting around the back we have got to look like we are going to get on the end of stuff a little bit more. I’m not sure we are making quite enough runs across the near post. We seem for me to be just a little bit static.”
The defensive fragility surfaced in just 43 seconds Wayne Walters shanked his attempted clearance and Levi King squared for Anthony Oaks to slot the easiest of gifts.
It was the cue for a glut of first half chances for the visitors, the best seeing King race clear to beat the keeper but also the post, while Jimmy Major burst into the box to shoot inches wide.
Villains doubled the lead five minutes after the break when Oaks latched on to another ball over the top, heading it into his stride before finishing with aplomb.
A thrashing looked likely but the Reds fought back and halved the deficit when Bryan Marshe’s shot from distance took a deflection and looped over visiting keeper Terry Buss.
Daryl Atkins had an effort scrambled off the line, but Sam Talbot should have settled matters with 15 minutes to go when rounding the keeper only to lash wide of an empty net.
And Villains almost paid for their wastefulness when only a fine save by Buss kept out Roy Byron’s shot at the death.
The cup exit followed a useful point from a 1-1 draw in league action at Farnham on Saturday.
The game marked player-manager Ian Bates’ 850th and Jason Finegan gave his side the lead on 18 minutes. However, it was cancelled out soon after the restart as the points were shared.