High-flying Awsworth Villa extended their flawless start to the new season with a thrilling 3-2 win over Real United that proves they mean business this season in the Notts Senior League.
After five successive victories and a tally of 22 goals, Villa expected their toughest test yet from Real in what was a repeat of last season’s cup final. And although they duly got it, they emerged triumphant again on the back of a superb hat-trick by Matt Goodwin and sit second in the Premier Division table with a maximum haul of 18 points.
The only side above them are Bilborough town, who have also enjoyed a 100% start to the new campaign, but from one more match. The two teams are set to clash at The Shilo on Saturday, November 5 -- a match sure to guarantee fireworks!
For the visit of Real, Awsworth made only one change to the line-up that had defeated Wollaton 6-2 in midweek, which showed that, even at this early stage, they are working towards some consistency. Lee Stevenson replaced the injured Rich Hodgman before the game started in typical fiery fashion, with the away side looking to avenge last season’s cup defeat.
With rain and wind ravaging The Shilo, the weather deteriorated, making conditions tough to play in and, as a result, chances were hard to come by. After a spell of sustained pressure, Ryan Whitehurst spotted an opening for Villa, but his long-range effort was headed off the line.
By the 20th minute, the hosts were getting hold of the game and deservedly took the lead. Shaw Hutchinson found himself with space on the right and whipped an inviting ball into the box, where Goodwin beat the offside trap with a perfectly timed run and left himself with a simple header past the ‘keeper.
The period that followed the goal, however, was all Real and, on the half-hour mark, they equalised when forcing a corner of their own. Awsworth failed to clear, leaving Anthony Gregory with an easy finish past goalkeeper Matt Walsh.
The scores remained level at half-time when Awsworth knew they had to raise their game in the second period. This came about as soon as the whistle went and a big tackle from Hutchinson set the tone for a much-improved performance.
Villa were now the dominant team, although it took until the 65th minute for them to restore their lead. Again the goal was indicative of the success they were getting from corners as Robbie Tonra collected a short one before supplying a perfect cross into the area where Goodwin was there again to provide the finish.
Learning their lesson from the first half, Awsworth knew they could not afford to switch off, so they continued to press for a third goal. It came with 20 minutes remaining as Goodwin completed his treble with another close-range header.
That wasn’t the end of matters, though, because, almost immediately, Tony Law got one back for Real to set up what many fans thought would be a tense finish. Thankfully, the expected late onslaught from the visitors didn’t materialise, and Villa held firm to close the game out.
This Saturday, they travel to meet AFC Dunkirk, who have also made an unbeaten start to the season.