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MATCH REPORTS 2005-06

Southern League Premier Division

Northwood Line-up

1

Liam Watson

 

2

Gary Meakin

 

3

Dave Nolan

 

4

Jason O'Connor

 

5

James Shipperley

 

6

Wayne Carter

 

7

Luke Garrard

 1

8

Dean Clark *

1

9

Alistair Heselton

 

10

Peter Dean

11

Gavin Hart

Substitutes

12

Billy Matthews

 

14

Shayne Demetrious *

 

15

Max Howell

 

16

Frazer Toms

17

Harry Howell

 

Goals

  21

Clark 1-1

  75

Garrard 2-1

 Rugby Town 1  Northwood 2

Report by Robin Piper

Northwood recorded their fourth win in five games after they deservedly overcame play-off contenders Rugby Town. There were a couple of changes to the Woods’ line-up: Dave Nolan came in at right-back with Gary Meakin switching to the left to cover for the absence of Fergus Moore, while Alistair Heselton returned to the attack in place of the injured Darren Grieves.

Northwood settled well, creating a couple of early chances. Jason O’Connor went close with a free-header from Dean Clark’s pinpoint corner, whilst the latter was almost on the end of Gavin Hart’s low cross following a sweeping move.

However, the wind was taken out of Northwood’s sails as they fell behind on the fifteen minute mark after a dubious free-kick award. James Shipperley  was adjudged to have committed an infringement on the edge of the box, Steve Julian stepping up to curl his effort around the wall and beyond the reach of ‘keeper Liam Watson.

Woods regrouped and were quickly on the offensive as they looked for a reply, Wayne Carter testing  Rugby ‘keeper Farhad Afandiyev, the former Azerbaijan U-21 international, palming away the Northwood midfielder’s free-kick.

Woods’ endeavours were rewarded as parity was restored after 21 minutes direct from a corner. Clark’s inswinging effort totally out-foxed goalkeeper and defence to curl in at the near post to give Northwood a deserved equaliser.

Rugby proceeded to enjoy their best spell of pressure creating a number of openings. Watson had to be alert to deny Robbie Beard and Kevin Slinn, whilst the latter was the wrong side of the upright with a free-header.

But Northwood had their moments before the break, Gavin Hart making a strong run into the box but was crowded out by the home defence before he could get his shot in on goal.

Woods came out for the second period with renewed vigour working themselves into a number of good positions. However, the quality of the final ball and a reluctance to have a crack at goal meant that opportunities were being squandered.

At the other end, Watson pulled off a fine save to deny Slinn and keep Woods’ on level terms.

Alistair Heselton created an opportunity with a piece of individual skill, neatly flicking the ball over the last defender but his shot was well wide of the far post.

Northwood suffered a blow on 47 minutes as Clark departed with a hamstring strain, Shayne Demetrious being his replacement. However, the Northwood substitute played a crucial role in the winning goal after 77 minutes. Demetrious did well to get to the by-line before delivering a testing cross which Afandiyev was unable to claim, the ball eventually finding its way to Garrard, who shot unerringly inside the near post to give Woods the lead.

And it was Northwood who looked more likely to add to the scoresheet, Heselton having a couple of shots saved whilst Demetrious dragged his shot wide after good work from Hart and Garrard.

Rugby were unable to offer a response, a weak header from Matt Green the limit of their threat as Woods comfortably secured the win which takes them back up two places to head the pack of relegation battlers.