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Southern League Premier Division

Northwood Line-up


Liam Watson



Gary Meakin


Fergus Moore



Jason O'Connor



James Shipperley



Wayne Carter*



Luke Garrard



Dean Clark+



Alistair Heselton #



Peter Dean


Gavin Hart



Billy Matthews



Rob Courtnage#



Darren Grieves+



Shayne Demetrious*



Michael Lavender




Heselton 1-1


Demetrious 2-1


Clark 3-1

 Mangotsfield United 1  Northwood 3

 Report by Alan Evans

Northwood kept themselves just outside the Southern League relegation zone with this vital win away at mid-table Mangotsfield United.

On arriving at Bristol it was clear that the wind would once again play a huge part in the way each side approached the game and, after winning the toss, the Woods gave the Mangoes the opportunity to play with the wind behind them in the first-half.

Colin Payne made two changes from the midweek defeat at Cheshunt, with Jason O’Connor returning to the centre of defence in place of Billy Matthews, while top scorer Dean Clark recovered from his hamstring problem to take his place on the right of midfield, with Gavin Hart switching to the left flank.

Despite the strong wind in their faces, Northwood started well with a quick free-kick from Clark almost getting Peter Dean in on goal and then, when the lively Dean charged down a clearance from goalkeeper Danny Greaves, both Alistair Heselton and Hart should have found the target from the loose ball.

Luke Garrard also skied a shot from the edge of the box as the home side struggled to create anything worthwhile. After 20 minutes O’Connor made an important block from a James Zabek strike but, still against the run of play, Mangotsfield took the lead on 27 minutes. James Shipperley was caught out of position after joining an attack and the Mangoes took full advantage of his absence. Robert Claridge battled past Gary Meakin and sent over a cross which Martin Paul headed in from a few yards.

It was disappointing for the Woods to be behind, but it almost got worse five minutes later when Garrard tripped Zabek. It seemed to have been just outside the box but the referee decided otherwise and pointed to the spot. With a strong wind behind him, the penalty should have been a formality for Paul to add his second goal but young goalkeeper Liam Watson guessed right and managed to keep the Woods in touch with a fine save.

The home side failed to threaten again before the break and it was Northwood who went close to levelling. Twice Heselton broke through the defence and both times he was denied by excellent saves from Greaves.

Shayne Demetrious had to replace back-injury victim Wayne Carter at half-time but the Woods came out full of enterprise. It took just two minutes to level the scores. A poor free-kick was half-cleared and when Meakin looped the ball back into the box, the towering Shipperley headed down, and Heselton finished well with a volley from twelve yards which gave Greaves no chance.

The Mangoes responded well, with David Anyinsah the main danger on the right. Twice he steered the ball across the face of the goal but Paul and Mark Summers both failed to hit the target when stretching at the far post.

The second crucial Northwood goal came on 67 minutes and out of nowhere. The ball fell to Demetrious in a little bit of space some 30 yards out and he arrowed a superb drive into the top corner leaving the diving Greaves grasping air and injuring his back on the post.

This time there was no sign of a comeback from Mangotsfield and the Woods wrapped up the three points after 76 minutes. Hard-working skipper Luke Garrard played a square pass across to Clark who swivelled and fired into the bottom corner.

With ten games to go, this win gives the Woods a great platform on which to build a run of form which might take them to safety as they now face two successive home league games against rivals Gloucester City and then Yate Town.