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Northwood 0  Hitchin Town 7

Saturday 11th December 2010

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
Zamaretto League
Chestnut Avenue, Northwood
Hitchin Town
Charlie Miller
1
Kick Off
1
Martin Bennett
Howard Hall
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Tony Fontenelle
Ryan Tackley
3
Attendance
3
Tom Pepper
Massih Mirzai
4
168
4
Dean Gilbert
Zac Gill
5
H/T
5
Mark Smith
Mark Burgess
6
0-5
6
Louis Lee
Wayne Jackson
7
Scorers
7
Richard Howell
John Christian
8
Northwood
8
Callum Donnelly
Samuel Ntim-Addae
9
n/a
9
Zak Burke
Charlie Hill
10
Hitchin
10
John Frendo
Warren Whitely
11
Frendo 1, 9, 25, 64
Lee 34, Lewis 42
Arlick 47
11
Ieuan Lewis
Substitutes
Substitutes
Ikenna Ofoche (10, 65m)
12
12
Jamie Arlick (7, 46m)
Romaine Walker (9, 19m)
14
Bookings
14
Luke Gregson (9, 50m)
Jamie Lindsay (4, 49m)
15
Northwood
15
Carl Williams
Scott Raper
16
Gill, Burgess, Jackson
16
Danny Payne (8, 72m)
Steve Hale
17
17
Ryan Haggerty
Hitchin
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
n/a
 
Referee: Mr Chris Evans

Assistants: Mr Baresh Kebar
& Mr Louie Barnett



It’s fair to say that the weather has been a big nuisance over the last few weeks, and has halted many fixtures on the football calendar up and down the country, well how Northwood would have wished the snow had called proceedings off at Chestnut Avenue on Saturday. Northwood’s last three league fixtures have all fallen foul of the weather, but the Woods did get back to action, with a hard fought and spirited performance, away against Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale on Monday evening. Defensively, Northwood have been frail in recent times, but the defensive aspect of the performance must have been pleasing, as Northwood were largely solid, up until an 83rd minute winner from substitute Forbes, a game that saw a reunion for ex Woods’ striker Scott Fitzgerald.

But Steve Hale’s first league game as manager could not have been more difficult. Northwood faced a rampant Hitchin outfit who sat comfortably atop the summit of the Zamaretto League Central Division table. Northwood would no doubt have prepared long and hard in readiness for this game, but all that went out of the window within seconds, 20 seconds to be precise, when Lewis threaded the ball through for John Frendo, who expertly chipped the ball beyond Charlie Miller and into the bottom left hand corner, to send the travelling fans behind the goal into raptures. And it wasn’t long before Frendo doubled his tally, Northwood lost the ball, and the Hitchin striker pounced before sending a low shot beyond Miller. A long afternoon was unquestionably ahead.

In the opening fifteen minutes, Northwood couldn’t keep possession let alone dig a foothold in the game. Northwood handed league debuts to Howard Hall, Zac Gill and Warren Whitely, the latter looking lively down the left and on occasions causing a few minor problems for Hitchin right back Tony Fontenelle. Hitchin as expected looked sharp, with their passing causing unwanted pressure on Northwood, and they went close when Howell shot over. Northwood’s first half chance came courtesy of a John Christian corner, which was punched by ‘keeper Martin Bennett. Wayne Jackson headed back across only to see it smothered comfortably by the Hitchin Town goalkeeper. And Northwood breathed a real sigh of relief when Frendo’s shot was half saved by Miller, and Ieuan Lewis’ resulting shot cleared off the line by Massih Mirzai. It could have been worse when captain Mark Burgess gave the ball away, similar to the events against Biggleswade last month, and saw the effort ricochet of the upright. And the misery was heaped on even further when the corner kick was swung in and turned home by Frendo, who had completed a 25 minute hat trick.

The only thing Northwood had to smile about was the fact that the linesman pulled up with a muscle injury, which gave the Woods some much needed time to regroup, but it is fair to say the game was as good as gone. Hitchin were rewarded for a phenomenal work rate when Louis Lee swung a magnificent individual effort which deflected into the corner past the outstretched arms of Miller, 0-4 and barely 35 minutes on the clock. And Northwood must have known it just wasn’t their afternoon when Whitely saw his effort  beat Bennett only for the post to come to the Hertfordshire based visitors rescue. And there was still time for Town to compound Northwood’s wounds as Lewis netted a fifth on 42 minutes, after Hall had lost the ball. How Northwood longed for the half time whistle, Hale definitely needed to rally his troops and try and muster some respectability to the score line in the next 45 minutes. This was unlikely, however, as the Woods have failed to net in each of their last five outings, they seem to miss the potency of Scott Orphanou, who is continuing his rehabilitation from a broken ankle.

If Northwood were hoping for any kind of response then they certainly had to think again, immediately after the restart, half time substitute Jamie Arlick came within inches of scoring, as he raced through only to see his goal bound shot blocked bravely by Miller. But he wasn’t about to wait long for a goal, great work from Tom Pepper, forced Miller off his goal line and a virtually non existent defence could only watch as this time Arlick tapped into a empty net with the goal at his mercy, 0-6, and a whole 43 minutes still to play. Northwood did finally get into gear, with Christian’s effort cleared off the line. And virtually from the clearance saw a breakaway, Pepper who provided the assist for goal number 6, raced away and got the better of Gill, before being thrusted down by the byline, referee Evans awarded the spot kick and showed Gill the yellow card. From the resulting penalty Arlick stepped up but saw his low kick saved magnificently by Miller, the only real bright point on a largely disappointing but familiar afternoon for Northwood. Northwood were beginning to find their passing rhythm but were going nowhere fast, however Romaine Walker battled courageously and won a corner, and from the resulting delivery Ryan Tackley’s header goal was seemingly cleared, though it had seemed to many to have crossed the line.

And before long it was seven, Frendo was put through, and evaded a weak challenge to dink over Miller, and emulate his first goal. Northwood toiled and threw hammer and tongs at the Canaries, but on a very frustrating afternoon could not find the little spark required to penetrate the Hitchin back line. Frustration was clearly visible on the faces of Woods’ players as captain Burgess tussled with Fontenelle, the referee Evans pulling the pair apart. But Northwood would undoubtedly have been relieved when the long awaited whistle to end proceedings came.

Hitchin were well worth their 7-0 demolition job at Chestnut Avenue in front of 168 supporters, and it could have been more. Northwood had a few chances but they were largely few and far between and the huge cloud over Chestnut Avenue shows no signs of receding, as Hitchin maintained their unbeaten start to the league campaign which now stretches to 18 games. For Northwood, it is very hard to see where their next win is coming from, no win in 12 league games and 17 overall, and after AFC Hayes won 0-2 away at Burnham, it condemns (for now at least) Northwood to the foot of the Zamaretto League Central Division table, albeit with a game in hand. Hale and his assistant Turtle have a difficult job of trying to steer away from the drop, how Northwood would love the goalscoring instincts of Hale in his prime at his particular moment!

Report by MATT FORD

Photos by James Brown