Hartley Wintney picked up their first reward of the new year with a well-merited point against promotion contenders Met. Police on Saturday, February 4.

The Row started strongly and a free kick in the first minute from Josh Webb almost connected with Louie Paget at the back post. On 11 minutes loose play in the Met defence led to a fierce drive from Webb which was tipped over by Liam Beach in the visitor’s goal. 

Against the run of play the Met went ahead on 17 minutes. A free kick was awarded close to the Row penalty area. Herson Alves stepped up and found the top corner of the net with an excellent strike, (0-1). Hartley held an edge in play but without making headway against a well-organised defence.  

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The Row continued in the ascendancy in the second period and on 52 minutes a long run down the left from Zidan Akers saw him end with a shot which brought out a good save from Beach. Four minutes later Shamar Moore set up Akers who saw his effort saved again by Beach.  Hartley continued to press and a left wing corner from Anis Nuur resulted in a scramble in front of the goal and Beach producing a point-blank save before the ball was cleared.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The Met had a good spell at the mid-point of the half and on 61 minutes a cross from Ollie Knight found Luke Robertson who saw his header saved by a well-positioned Marcin Brozozowski in the Hartley goal. The visitors continued to press and on 67 minutes a free kick from Olie Knight found Martel Taylor-Crossdale whose header was well saved by Brozozowski.

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The Row finished strongly and equalised on 81 minutes. Good play down the right from Archy Taylor found Webb. The Row skipper set up Harry Cooksley and the Hartley substitute fired home a blistering drive from 25 yards, (1-1).

Both sides set about trying to get the winner. On 83 minutes Jasper Mather burst through for the visitors. Brzozowski dashed from his line and dived bravely at the Met player's feet to save.

Hartley responded and on 88 minutes Akers put Alex McAllister in through the middle. The young striker showed good pace and control, but the final shot was saved by the outrushing Beach.

Deep into injury time, it could have been daylight robbery after everything that had gone before. A long ball into the Hartley area found Robertson unmarked and his header just went over the bar.

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A very encouraging performance from Hartley and one of the best this season so far.

Manager Rowan Vine said: “I felt our team gave a good positive performance today.

“The very least was that we deserved a point. The Met are a good side as their league position confirms.

“After a good start on the front foot I felt we were unlucky to go behind. It was a good free kick goal.

“Today was a big point for us and we enjoyed playing the match.

“At every stage we were always trying to win this match.

“The entire team played well and the Harry Cooksley strike was a special moment in the match.

“We have three tough away fixtures coming up and we will build on what we achieved today.”