WITHAM Town were eliminated from the Buildbase FA Trophy at the Simarco Stadium in a match where they competed well but could not quite match the quality of the visitors, writes JIM PURTILL.

On paper Hanwell Town are one of the best teams Witham will face this season, but the hosts had a bright opening and their positive intent showed no hangover from the previous Saturday’s heavy defeat against Hullbridge Sports.

Both sides had to compete against the blustery conditions and unpredictable wind in addition to competing against each other.

Witham looked dangerous in early attacks on the left, featuring debutant loanee Guy Norton and bolstered by the face, power and exuberance of Liam Whipps.

There was little in it in the early stages. Both sides were on the front foot and looking to move the ball forward quickly.

Dan McCullock was influential for the hosts and the Hanwell midfield showed themselves to be a fluid unit. Both defences were coping well.

There were no notable chances for either side until the 23rd minute when a penalty was awarded to Hanwell.

The decision looked harsh, with Gareth Chendlik going to ground following apparently minimal contact with Witham returnee Danny Nesbitt. Chendlik converted to put Hanwell ahead.

The game continued in the same vein with both defences looking comfortable against their opponents’ attacks.

Joe Mackenzie was a model of calm assurance for Witham at the back and McCullock was making things happen in midfield but the hosts were finding it hard to establish an attacking foothold.

Neither side could be faulted for a lack of effort or attacking enterprise and they both did well to mitigate the ravages of the swirling wind.

As the game wore on, Hanwell, buoyed by the confidence of being a goal in front, increasingly displayed their quality.

The Witham defence was having to work ever harder to contain their opponents’ attacking forays and Hanwell looked the side most likely to score again.

Gianni Critchlow, whose football travels have taken him to QPR and Torquay United, was the most impressive player on the pitch, with his close control, pace and positional intelligence.

Rob Laney was involved in most of the better passages of play from the visitors.

The best move of the match put Hanwell two goals up in the 61st minute.

Following a flowing move that involved Toch Singh and Laney, Crichlow picked up the ball on the right and hit a fierce shot past Rhys Madden.

The Hanwell defence remained obdurate and Witham’s attacking forays were frustrated.

Hanwell substitute Ogo Obi missed a late penalty for the hosts after being brought down in the area.

A three-goal margin would have been an unfair representation of the afternoon’s proceedings.

Witham manager Marc Benterman will take heart from the positives of this performance.

It was a hard-working display from Witham and full of honest endeavour, but the strength in depth of the Hanwell squad proved too much for the hosts to contain.

A midweek visit to Bury Town and this Saturday’s home match against Histon are next on the agenda as Town return to league action.