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Hitchin Town 1  Northwood 0

Tuesday 17th August 2010

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report

Northwood
Zamaretto League
Top Field,
Hitchin
Hitchin Town
Mitch Swain
1
Kick Off
1
Martin Bennett
Scott Raper
2
7.45 p.m.
2
Tony Fontenelle
Ryan Tackley
3
Attendance
3
Tom Pepper
Mark Burgess
4
287
4
John Wordsworth
John Sonuga
5
H/T
5
Dean Gilbert
John Christian
6
0-0
6
Callum Donnelly
Kyle Matthews
7
Scorers
7
Zak Burke
Dean Wallace
8
Northwood
8
Louis Lee
Scott Orphanou
9
n/a
9
Jamie Arlick
Sam Sharples
10
Hitchin
10
Tom Mustapha
Jamie Lindsay
11
Donnelly 54
11
Ieuan Lewis
Substitutes
Bookings
Substitutes
Leon Osei (11, 60m)
12
Northwood
12
Gary Dixon (10)
Rodney Hicks (2, 70m)
14
Raper
14
Carl Williams
Wayne Jackson (10, 70m)
15
Hitchin
15
Glen Lamacraft (6)
Andrew Iwediuno
16
Wordsworth
16
Richard Howell
Troy Roach
17
Dismissal
17
Ryan Haggerty
Northwood
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
Orphanou
(2 yellows)
 
Referee: Mr Simon Leaf

Assistants: Mr Andy Crawford
& Mr Doug Lawson



The Woods certainly went into this midweek game away at title-favourites Hitchin Town with plenty of confidence following the opening-day goal-blitz against Bedfont as Mark Barnham named an unchanged side.

Hitchin missed out on automatic promotion last season despite clocking up 100 points and, having retained much of the same squad of players, they are expected to be up in the firing line again throughout.

The main talking point before the game, as the heavens opened once again to give the pitch a really fast and slick surface, was the return of former Hitchin youngster Scott Orphanou to the club having fired the Woods to victory with a hat-trick a few days earlier. He hit the headlines again but this time for all the wrong reasons.

There was a frenetic start to the match with the ball zipping around the midfield and both sides struggled to find the space to create much in front of goal. It was Northwood who notched the first effort on goal when Ryan Tackley made a good run down the left and sent over a cross to the near-post, where Orphanou flicked a header just the wrong side of the upright.

Soon after, the Canaries had their first real attack with Zak Burke making inroads down the right and laying the ball off to Thomas Mustapha who turned well but his shot lacked power and Mitch Swain collected easily.
It was a similar story after 24 minutes as the division’s top scorer of last season, Jamie Arlick, latched onto a cross from Mustapha but hit a poor shot wide of the target.

Orphanou picked up a yellow card for a late challenge and Hitchin defender John Wordsworth also found his name taken as the hectic pace continued, but the Woods were beginning to threaten as the half progressed. Tackley fired a free-kick over the top and then Kyle Matthews latched onto an Orphanou flick to try his luck from forty yards and his effort dropped only just wide.

After 35 minutes Hitchin had a real let-off. Matthews showed some great skills to turn a bad ball into a good cross from the left and the ball shot across the turf to find Dean Wallace but the youngster’s instinctive poke towards goal came back off the post with goalkeeper Martin Bennett nowhere.

A Matthews free-kick was well dealt with by Bennett soon after the restart, but the introduction of substitute Richard Howell for the home side seemed to give the Canaries some fresh impetus and they took the lead after 54 minutes. A Mark Burgess clearing header lacked distance and Louis Lee quickly rolled in Callum Donnelly, who raced into a huge space before lifting the ball over the diving Swain for a cool finish.

The Woods worked hard to get back into the game and traded defender Jamie Lindsay for striker Leon Osei to show that they were prepared to gamble a little while Hitchin brought on the experienced Gary Dixon. He immediately had a couple of great chances to put the game beyond reach but Swain made a good save from the first and the striker’s poor touch robbed him of the second.

The hard task facing Northwood was made more difficult after 68 minutes when Orphanou stretched to challenge Bennett for a long through-ball which he was never going to reach and inevitably drew a second yellow card from the Referee’s pocket. Despite this, the Woods still threw caution to the wind with a distinct attacking policy and a deep cross from Scott Raper had Matthews stretching to reach it but he could only steer the ball wide.

Two more substitutions followed, with Raper and Sam Sharples replaced by more attacking players in Rodney Hicks and Wayne Jackson, leaving the defence to fend for themselves. The pace of John Sonuga, who enjoyed an excellent game for the Woods, restricted Hitchin to just a few clear-cut chances but these were either missed or dealt with by some fine saves from Swain; making one particularly good stop to tip over a Howell free-kick.

At the other end, Hicks got in a couple of strikes which went close but failed to hit the target and then, in the final stages of stoppage-time, he put in an excellent cross which was met by John Christian but his header was deflected wide.

In the end the home side were happy to grab the three points while Northwood, though disappointed not to get something from the game, were delighted with the performance for much of the game.

Report by ALAN EVANS