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MATCH REPORTS 2005-06

Southern League Premier Division

Northwood Line-up

1

Liam Watson

 

2

Max Howell *

 

3

Fergus Moore

 

4

Jason O'Connor

 

5

James Shipperley

 

6

Shayne Demetrious

7

Luke Garrard

8

Wayne Carter +

9

Dean Clark #

10

Peter Dean

11

Gavin Hart

Substitutes

12

Dave Nolan *

 

14

Alistair Heselton

 

15

David Shaw

 

16

Gary Meakin +

17

Billy Matthews #

 

Goal

48

Garrard 1-0

 Merthyr Tydfil 0  Northwood 1

Report by Robin Piper

Northwood enjoyed a fruitful trip to South Wales as they secured only their third league win of the season with a richly deserved win over the Martyrs last Saturday. There were first League starts for goalkeeper Liam Watson and central defender James Shipperley, while Wayne Carter took his place in midfield with Dean Clark being preferred to Matthew Judge in attack.

After a pretty uneventful opening 15 minutes during which injury victim Max Howell was replaced by Dave Nolan at right back, both sides began to produce some constructive football. Shayne Demetrious and Peter Dean tested Merthyr keeper Ashley Morris with low drives while Watson was called upon to resist efforts from Paul Keddle and former Fulham favourite Jeff Eckhardt.

Most of the play was being restricted to a hotly contested midfield area but the hosts gradually began to dominate, fashioning a number of openings. Craig Steins and Keddle both saw their strikes blocked by a determined Northwood rearguard, whilst the latter saw his snapshot athletically turned round the post by Watson, who was enjoying a fine game in the Woods’ goal.

The lively Steins, who asked questions of the visitors’ defence all afternoon, was almost through as the first half moved into stoppage time, but Fergus Moore was on hand with a perfectly timed tackle as the Martyrs’ striker shaped to shoot.

Woods had deservedly reached the break on level terms and they came out for the second period with  renewed confidence and purpose.

Northwood’s positive approach immediately paid dividends as Luke Garrard scored the crucial goal on 49 minutes. There was good build up play before Dean slipped the ball through to the Woods’ skipper, who coolly despatched the ball beyond Morris to score his first goal in Northwood colours.

Merthyr responded in typical fashion sending on two attacking substitutes and proceeding to put the Woods’ defence under intense pressure. Ryan Dorrian hooked a shot over the bar when well placed while Garry Shephard flashed his header wide of the upright following a sweeping move.

The dangerous Steins was the next to threaten, Watson neatly out to foil the Martyrs’ front man before the Woods keeper was beaten by a fierce shot which ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar.

Northwood’s brave defence was standing firm and in a rare foray into the Merthyr half, Woods had a wonderful opportunity to make the game safe. Garrard found himself with only the keeper to beat after a quick break but chose to square the ball to Clark who was crowded out by the home defence, Dean finally getting in the shot which was parried by keeper Morris.

Gary Meakin was introduced for the tiring Carter, while Clark made way for Billy Matthews as manager Colin Payne looked to shore things up for the closing stages.

Meanwhile, the Martyrs continued to batter the Woods rearguard, substitute Dane Williams, Shephard and Steins all firing wide of the mark in a frantic, nail-biting finale.

However, the Northwood rearguard stood firm, heroically resisting the Merthyr onslaught to protect their slender lead and ensure a brave victory which reduces the deficit at the bottom of the table to four points.