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Ashford Town 4  Northwood 4 
(Ashford won 4-2 on penalties)

Monday 7th May 2012

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
Middx Charity Cup Final
Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip
Ashford Town
Mitch Swain
1
Kick Off
1
Paul McCarthy
Kwasi Frempong
2
7.30 p.m.
2
Josh Andrew
Scott Raper
3
Attendance
3
Ed Thomas
Lee Grant
4
238
4
Russell Canderton
Liam Fowler
5
H/T
5
Jack Mullan
John Christian
6
2-0
6
Harry Knock
Wayne O'Sullivan
7
Scorers
7
Mark Bitmead
Craig White
8
Northwood
8
Ashley Lodge
Spencer Bellotti
9
Grant 16, Hawkins 39, 50, Walker 87
9
Dan Brown
Oliver Hawkins
10
10
Pietro Palladino
Romaine Walker
11
Ashford
11
Alex Duffy
   Substitutes
Lockhart-Adams
59, 73, 77, 85
 
Substitutes
Jack Hutchinson (5, 84m)
12
12
Kofi Lockhart-Adams (10, 46m)
Kyle Matthews
14
Bookings
14
Samad Kazi (7, 62m)
Rob Ursell (9, 58m)
15
Northwood
15
Perry Luckins
Garry Senior (10, 64m)
16
Frempong, Fowler, Walker
16
Jim Mann
James Reading
17
17
Tyler Tobin
Ashford
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
Duffy, Brown
 
Referee: Mr Steve Daly

Assistants: Mr Andy Williams
& Mr Mike Heavey



Ashford substitute Kofi Lockhart-Adams proved the hero of this Middlesex Charity Cup Final, scoring four times in twenty-six second-half minutes to turn the game on its head after the Woods had cruised into a three-goal lead. Northwood still had to cope with the absence of suspended duo Reece Yorke and Jonathan Constant who have one further game of their bans still to come on the opening day of next season and were therefore harshly ruled out of this match.

The Ash Trees started quickly, with Ed Thomas feeding Alex Duffy down the left and his cross was headed wide by the diminutive striker Pietro Palladino. Shortly after this Mark Bitmead blasted over but Northwood soon began to make inroads themselves.  Wayne O’Sullivan led the charge, forcing a corner from which he centred and a header was flicked wide. Then, after 16 minutes, Oliver Hawkins was fouled twenty yards from goal and O’Sullivan flighted in a superb free-kick which skipper Lee Grant headed on and past goalkeeper Paul McCarthy for his first goal in Northwood colours.

Romaine Walker was also testing the Ashford defence and latched onto a ball from O’Sullivan to get into the box and knock in a deflected cross which McCarthy took well.
After 25 minutes a quick break saw Spencer Bellotti slip and excellent ball into the path of Hawkins but as he was about to shoot, he was denied by a timely Jack Mullan interception who just got a foot in to prevent a possible goal.

Ashford rallied and after Harry Knock had blasted a shot well wide of the target, a corner tested Northwood goalkeeper Mitch Swain, making his 150th club appearance, for the first time. He punched clear but only to the edge of the box and Dan Brown perhaps should have done better than just return the ball back into his hands. Just a minute later, Ashford were presented with a free-kick just outside the box and Bitmead drove the ball at the wall with the referee turning down appeals for handball while Duffy fired well over from the rebound.
The Woods then grabbed a second goal after 39 minutes with a swift counter-attack. Once again it was O’Sullivan who made the attacking run from deep and he sliced open the defence to play a ball into the path of Hawkins who took one touch and then fired past the oncoming McCarthy.

There was almost a third goal just before the break when Bellotti broke through and saw the opportunity to chip a shot over McCarthy but the ball just cleared the crossbar and nestled on the roof of the net.  But Northwood didn’t have to wait too long for that “killer” third goal after the restart, and it was O’Sullivan who again continued with his own Man of the Match performance as his direct run took him past three defenders before squaring a pass across for Hawkins to score his second with a simple tap-in.

Still Northwood pushed forward and after 56 minutes it was Walker’s turn to twist and turn his way into the box and his shot across goal was tipped just wide of the post by McCarthy at full stretch. Gary Meakin made his first substitution after 58 minutes, replacing Bellotti with the mercurial Rob Ursell but just a minute later the Ash Trees pulled a goal back when a scramble in the goalmouth saw Lockhart-Adams, who had been introduced for Palladino at half-time, back-heel the ball towards goal and it crept over the line.

Four minutes later Hawkins went close to completing a hat-trick when a sharp turn and shot flashed just over the bar but it also saw the Woods top scorer down with cramp and he limped off to replaced by Garry Senior. Ashford replaced Bitmead with Somad Kazi at the same time and, for the first time, began to look the more threatening. This paid off after 72 minutes when Kwasi Frempong’s misplaced pass gifted Ashford possession and when a quick pass put Lockhart-Adams down the left in space, the youngster cut in past Liam Fowler and blasted in a shot that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Suddenly, it was game on again, and Ashford had the bit between their teeth with Kazi making a speedy run and cross from the right which Fowler had to cut out with a timely clearance. However, the Woods still looked good on the break and another clever run and cross from O’Sullivan saw Senior slide in at the near post and he was just inches away from the required touch.

After 76 minutes Craig White won an important tackle just outside the box and burst through on goal. He unselfishly knocked it to his left to an unmarked Senior, who looked certain to score but his low strike hit McCarthy on the foot, cannoned off another defenders leg and then was scrambled off the line by a last-gasp clearance from Russell Canderton. It should have been game over at that stage but just three minutes later Ashford drew level. The referee played advantage after a foul on the halfway line as a ball released Brown down the right. He raced through and knocked in a dangerous cross which saw Lockhart-Adams neatly flick a shot past Swain and complete an excellent hat-trick.

It really was end-to-end stuff as Grant headed an O’Sullivan corner straight at McCarthy a minute later, but the onus was with Ashford and after Brown had seen his powerful shot come back off a post, they stunned the Woods with a fourth goal to take the lead. It was the two substitutes that produced the magic moment as Kazi lifted a neat ball over the defence and the ultra-confident Lockhart-Adams was straight through to skip past Swain and fire his side ahead.

The Woods gambled again by replacing defender Fowler with teenage midfielder Jack Hutchinson, and within a minute they were back on level terms. Once again it was O’Sullivan who supplied the cross from the right and when Senior’s shot on the turn was pushed out by McCarthy, Walker dived in swiftly to head home the rebound. By now it was clear that anything could happen in the final few minutes and Ashford almost snatched it again when Kazi’s run and shot was cleared off the line by Frempong and then a follow-up effort was well saved by Swain in goal.

A minute later Ursell tested McCarthy with a low but accurate shot towards the bottom corner and the Ashford ‘keeper was across to save well and it was Northwood who had the last effort on goal deep into stoppage-time. Senior, looking to make amends for his earlier miss, seized on a loose ball in the box and hit a powerful and possibly goalbound shot but the ball struck John Christian and rebounded away.

With the competition having done away with the idea of extra-time this season, the game proceeded straight to a battle from the penalty-spot and it was Ashford who kicked things off with Ashley Lodge firing his side ahead clinically. O’Sullivan levelled things up for the Woods, despite McCarthy getting a hand to his shot high to the ‘keepers left. Brown kept the Ash Trees in front with another well-taken spot-kick and then McCarthy turned the tie Ashford’s way, diving to his right to deny Hutchinson’s low strike.

There was no respite for Northwood as Duffy fired in a third but then Frempong showed his experience by scoring coolly for the Woods. It was 3-2 and still advantage to Ashford who then went further ahead when man of the moment Lockhart-Adams comfortably beat Swain for a fifth time. Walker had to score to keep Northwood’s hopes of a first-ever Middlesex Charity Cup success alive but McCarthy guessed right and kept out his effort to win the cup for Ashford Town, their second triumph in the competition.

It was the end of a thrilling cup final for the neutral but the Woods will be kicking themselves for missing out on victory having had the game in the bag after an hour of play and missing chances to secure it. Full credit to Ashford, though, for never giving up and taking their chances when it came.

Report by ALAN EVANS

Photos by James Brown