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Ashford Town 3   Northwood 2

Saturday 13th August 2011

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik Southern League
Short Lane, Stanwell
Ashford Town
Tony Russell
1
Kick Off
1
Steve Windegaard
Aaron Silcott
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Josh Andrews
Lee Grant
3
Attendance
3
Kiri Takahiro
Junior Osborne
4
93
4
Billy Witham
Craig Carby
5
H/T
5
Bairoh Conteh
Murray Williamson
6
1-1
6
Jim Mann
Sam Sharples
7
Scorers
7
Jack Mullan
Craig White
8
Northwood
8
Scott Weight
Oliver Hawkins
9
Alexander 17, 50
9
Dan Brown
Ben Alexander
10
Ashford
10
Mark Bitmead
Wayne O'Sullivan
11
Canek 3, 95
Brown 75
11
Tom Kanek
Substitutes
Substitutes
Peter Lyall
12
Bookings
12
Rob Curtis (7, 64m)
Romaine Walker (11, 64m)
14
Northwood
14
Samuel Hlanguyo
Garry Senior
15
Alexander
15
Ola Kukoyi
Richard Worrell
16
Ashford
16
Perry Luckins
Aaron Lansiquot (10, 55m)
17
Mann (2), Kanek
17
Danny Sonner
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Michael Webb

Assistants: Mr B Murdoch
& Mr C Boyles



Northwood surrendered an ideal opportunity to start the new season on a winning note as they fell to a last-gasp penalty against ten-man Ashford.

Manager Gary Meakin had a difficult week as first Player of the Year Scott Raper and then regular defender Liam Fowler both picked up injuries that ruled them out of the first game that they had been building up to for the last six weeks. With Warren Gladdy also deciding on a late move to Harrow Borough it meant plenty of rethinks, and he managed to recruit Craig Carby from Hendon and former Watford defender Junior Osborne to bolster the defence just twenty-four hours before the game.

So perhaps it was no surprise that the makeshift defensive line-up that also included Lee Grant making his debut, were breached as early as the fourth minute. Full-back Josh Andrew got ahead of Grant and whipped in a cross which shot through the centre and rolled kindly for Tom Kanek to fire home the opening goal.

This was after Ashford’s Mark Bitmead had already had a shot saved by Woods debut goalkeeper Tony Russell but Northwood soon settled and started to dominate with Sam Sharples dictating the play from midfield. His ball forward to Ben Alexander after just seven minutes saw the striker roll a shot inches wide of the post, though he was flagged offside. Three minutes later Oliver Hawkins had the ball in the net with a shot poked just inside the post but once again the assistant referee’s flag came to save the home side.

The pressure continued with a series of corners and from Grant’s centre, Hawkins headed down and Sharples volleyed over from inside the six-yard box. The equalising goal came after 17 minutes as Wayne O’Sullivan knocked in another corner and Alexander swooped in at the far post to volley home his first goal for the club.
Just two minutes later O’Sullivan showed his prowess from a dead-ball when he curled a free-kick over the defensive wall and against the crossbar but the attacks petered out for a while after that as some heavy tackles started flying in from the home side that led to bookings for Kanek and then Jim Mann.

The Woods broke forward on 42 minutes as O’Sullivan put Grant into the area but the full-back was clearly torn between going for goal and crossing and his ball just eluded Alexander at the far post while also missing the far post. Just moments before the half-time break, Mann went to ground again for a reckless challenge and picked up his second yellow card inside four minutes and was sent-off, giving the home side a very difficult task for the second-half.

Against ten men, the Woods needed to keep the same tempo and they started the half well enough. Just five minutes in, Grant won a tackle and threaded a ball through to Craig White whose cross was met by Alexander, holding off two defenders to fire home his second goal.

But Ashford were in no mood to lie down and just two minutes later another dangerous cross from Andrew again flashed across the Woods goal but this time Russell kept out Kanek’s shot.

Goalscorer Alexander was replaced by Aaron Lansiquot on 55 minutes but there were signs that the Woods had lost their midfield dominance and, after Hawkins had seen an effort cleared away by Billy Witham, Ashford went close with a powerful effort from Bitmead being pushed round the post by a diving Russell. From the resulting corner, Bairoh Conteh got up well but headed wide of the target. Romaine Walker replaced the tiring O’Sullivan but it had little effect and it was Ashford who looked more likely to score. Murray Williamson was caught in possession after 69 minutes and the ball was worked forward down the left before Bitmead headed the resulting cross over the top.

Very little was going right for the Woods and after Aaron Silcott was booked for a foul out wide, the free-kick was knocked deep to the far post and Dan Brown’s powerful header levelled things up for the home side on 75 minutes, despite Russell getting a hand to it. Northwood struggled to make much impact but after 89 minutes, Walker’s run won him a free-kick just outside the area and he took it himself, curling a shot just the wrong side of the post with goalkeeper Steve Windegaard beaten.

It appeared to heading for a draw and two dropped points for the Woods but in the third minute of stoppage-time, Bitmead ran across the penalty-area and clearly dived as Osborne directed him away from goal. It was unconvincing from most angles in the ground but not the one seen by the Referee as he pointed to the spot for a gift of a penalty. Kanek kept his nerve well as he planted his shot neatly in the corner for his second of the game and Ashford had rescued all three points.

The home side had shown a great spirit to recover this game but the Woods only have themselves to blame as they appear to have thought the job was done once the second goal went in and lost a momentum that they never managed to recover. Hopefully lessons will have been learned.

Report by ALAN EVANS

Photos by James Brown