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Northwood 2  Barton Rovers 1

Saturday 24th March 2012

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik Southern League
Chestnut Avenue, Northwood
Barton Rovers
James Reading
1
Kick Off
1
Richard Wilmot
Scott Raper
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Niran Vaughan
Lee Grant
3
Attendance
3
Phil Smeaton
Liam Fowler
4
125
4
Tommy Hull
Reece Yorke
5
H/T
5
Lee Wilson
Warren Gladdy
6
1-1
6
Andrew Iwediuno
Wayne O'Sullivan
7
Scorers
7
Sam Spencer
John Christian
8
Northwood
8
Luke Knight
Spencer Bellotti
9
Constant 14, 84
9
Russell Bull
Jonathan Constant
10
Barton
10
Ricky Case
Romaine Walker
11
Parkinson 18
11
Dave Parkinson
   Substitutes
Bookings
Substitutes
Kwasi Frempong (4, 78m)
12
Northwood
12
Danny Payne (3, 87m)
Craig White (6, 39m)
14
Grant
14
Theo Swaine (10, 70m)
Sam Sharples
15
Barton
15
Pete Duffy
Oliver Hawkins (9, 63m)
16
Bull, Parkinson, Wilson
16
Colm Kierans (7, 87m)
Garry Malone
17
17
Kyle Forster
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Stuart Franklyn

Assistants: Mr Craig Green
& Mr Greg Reed



Northwood marked the anniversary of Gary Meakin’s first year in charge with a hard fought 2-1 win over fellow play-off hopefuls Barton Rovers. Before the game captain Ronayne Marsh-Brown was seen around the ground in a protective boot, but Northwood will have to reckon without him, as he is likely to miss the remainder of the season.

It was the hosts who made a bright start with John Christian winning a corner virtually from the kick off. Although on that particular occasion it came to nothing, it wasn’t long before they were threatening again. Jonathan Constant’s cross was helped on its way by Bellotti, however it sailed wide.

Barton did see a good amount of the ball, yet Northwood struck first with the first effort on target in the match. Christian played it neatly for Constant who beat the offside trap and kept his composure to place beyond a helpless Richard Wilmott to give the Woods the lead - 1-0 to the home side on 14 minutes. The visitors’ response was near perfect however, and they very nearly levelled immediately. Russell Bull flicked on a long throw and despite being well placed; Luke Knight could only blast over. Then a short time later, the aforementioned Knight was again involved but he snatched at his effort and it went wide of James Reading’s right hand post.

Up the other end and Wayne O’Sullivan dissected the Rovers midfield before finding Bellotti however he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet, and it was cleared to safety. From the clearance Dave Parkinson raced in and behind the Northwood defence before finishing convincingly beyond Reading to level the scores barely four minutes after they had fallen behind, 1-1 and - with potential play-off implications at stake – plenty to play for.

Northwood weren’t shaken, though, by the setback, and Romaine Walker was involved for the first time in the game, running past a couple of defenders before teeing up O’Sullivan. He lost control of the ball momentarily, but fortunately it fell for Bellotti who held off ex Northwood defender Andrew Iwediuno and laid it off for Christian, whose effort never troubled the Barton keeper. Up the other end and it was the home side’s turn to experience a lack of concentration as Ricky Case found himself with all the time in the world on the edge of the area, and he nearly made Meakin’s side pay by firing just wide.

Then Bellotti and Christian combined again and the latter was closer to hitting the target this time, yet he still hit it wide of the mark. In the moments that followed, Barton showed a lack of sportsmanship as they played on despite a clash of heads which saw Warren Gladdy come off worse, and eventually led to his withdrawal. A man light, and Northwood very nearly found themselves trailing as a cross just evaded the arriving Case. Dan Kennoy’s side then almost grabbed the lead again, as Barton’s number 10 again fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box. It proved to be the last action of the half as both sides headed in with plenty to ponder.

Northwood would have felt aggrieved when three minutes into the second period, Bellotti was adjudged to have pushed Wilmot, with the referee awarding a free kick, just as Christian headed home. Then, moments later Constant went close on the turn with his effort only just going over the crossbar. That triggered the introduction of top scorer Oliver Hawkins who came on in place of the hard working Bellotti, his first job was to help clear a corner – his height clearly a bonus for the Woods.

Barton then felt they should have had a penalty when Parkinson was out muscled by Raper and Reece Yorke in the box but the referee Stuart Franklyn was having none of it. Liam Fowler was then replaced by Kwasi Frempong who offered more muscle in the middle of the park and he released Walker – who by his standards had had a quiet afternoon – and he weaved inside two defenders before unleashing a curling effort towards goal. An unsighted Wilmot did well to bat it away for a corner. From the corner, Northwood threw several bodies forward and the arriving Hawkins almost connected but it was just too long on this occasion and the visitors subsequently snuffed out the danger.

Northwood’s never say die attitude was rewarded a few minutes later when Walker found a burst of pace and got the better of a defender inviting the challenge. The tricky winger was upended and the man in the middle showed no hesitation, pointing to the spot. Up stepped Constant to put Northwood back in front with six minutes remaining. Barton didn’t threaten in the remainder of the match as the Woods snuffed out their threat and very nearly put the gloss on the result by adding a third, as O’Sullivan smashed it across the face of goal.

That proved to be the last action of a decent afternoon’s football, as Northwood saw off one of their main contenders in the race for the final play-off place. The home side also avenged a 0-1 defeat back in November and a 1-2 defeat last season in what was the club’s final home game of the 2010/11 season. It was the perfect way to mark one year in charge for Meakin with an important victory in the wider scheme of things.

Man of the Match
Jonathan Constant gets the man of the match not only for his match winning brace, but also for his all round contribution. He led the line well, held up the ball effectively and was at the forefront of all things good this afternoon. His composure for the first goal was second to none, and then with the pressure on his shoulders he slotted home from twelve yards with six minutes to go, to win the game for his side.

After the conclusion of the match, manager Gary Meakin gave his thoughts about the afternoon’s proceedings. He was asked about whether the win was massive and how important it could prove come the end of the campaign. “It’s very important. Three points is what we need and it’s a double whammy as we creep a little further away from them and stay closer to the play-off places. It doesn’t matter how they come as long as they come, so yes it’s pleasing.”

In addition he was asked about with the late goal, it must have been nice having been on the end of a few of those this season. “It sounds silly, but it feels like more of a win as we scored late and it feels better, but I would have liked to have had the game done and dusted earlier in the game. I don’t think either side deserved to win, they edged the first half and could have led but we rode the storm well.” On top of that Meakin was asked about whether the three consecutive games in April versus Biggleswade (a), Uxbridge (h) and Beaconsfield (a) will define whether the side makes the playoffs. “Yes, that is it really. Too be honest I’d rather have it that way against sides in and around us, rather than against teams like Marlow, Fleet and North Greenford with all due respect, because they are games we are expected to win, whereas games that mean something – I mean every game does – it means we have something to play for.”

And finally Meakin was congratulated as today’s game marked exactly one year since he took charge, and even he was surprised by how quick it went. “It has gone quick, I have a few more grey hairs, hence why I shave my hair like I do, but Greg, Gus, Chad, Ian, Alan, Ken and everyone at the club really have been fantastic and have done what I have asked and more. Hopefully there will be a few more of them too!”

Report by MATTHEW FORD

Photos by James Brown