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Northwood 3  Biggleswade Town 0

Saturday 3rd December 2011

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik Southern League
Chestnut Avenue, Northwood
Biggleswade Town
Mitch Swain
1
Kick Off
1
Sam Leggett
Scott Raper
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Peter Gatti
Ronayne Marsh-Brown
3
Attendance
3
Darryl Coakley
Lee Grant
4
112
4
Liam Folds
Liam Fowler
5
H/T
5
Steven Gentle
James McCluskey
6
1-0
6
Craig Rydeheard
Jonathan Constant
7
Scorers
7
Craig Daniel
Craig White
8
Northwood
8
Stuart Lochhead
Oliver Hawkins
9
Hawkins 37, 52, Senior 70
9
Paul Barnes
Garry Senior
10
10
Mitchell Cole
Romaine Walker
11
Biggleswade
11
Jonathan Woolf
   Substitutes
n/a
Substitutes
Andrew Mensah
12
Bookings
12
Brett Donnelly (3, 46m)
Sam Sharples (7, 84m)
14
Northwood
14
Brad Hewitt
Ben Alexander (9, 84m)
15
n/a
15
Alex O'Brien (11, 62m)
Kurt Morlese (10, 84m)
16
Biggleswade
16
Ashley Fuller
Derek Lewis
17
Woolf
17
Tom McGowan (9, 46m)
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Pat Miller

Assistants: Andy Stevens
& Adrian Waters



Having returned to winning ways with a convincing 3-0 victory over Hillingdon Borough on Tuesday evening, it was back to league action as Northwood set about trying to bounce back having somehow lost 1-0 away to Barton Rovers last weekend. Gary Meakin named an unchanged side from the win in midweek. New signings John Christian and Reece Yorke were seen in the stands having trained with the team prior to the game, but the pair were not named in the squad for this one. Biggleswade named ex Woods favourite Brad Hewitt among their substitutes and having done the double over Woods last season, Chris Nunn and his side would have been eager to follow in similar fashion this afternoon.

Both sides started a little sluggishly, but it was the visitors who registered the first attempt on goal when a flick over found Paul Barnes who did well to round Mitch Swain. The latter did tremendously well to block his delivery across, however the ball returned to the feet of Barnes who steered it diagonally where ex pro Mitchell Cole was waiting to stab the ball home. Tenacious defending by Liam Fowler and Lee Grant who combined well to block the ball as it was heading in; a real let off for Northwood. Then it was the turn of the hosts to rampage forward when Ronayne Marsh-Brown found Garry Senior whose clever flick on was well read by Jonathan Constant. He found himself through one on one, however to the relief of the visiting party, the linesman duly raised his flag just as Constant was about to unleash an attempt on goal.

Moments later pacy winger Romaine Walker cut inside and curled a lovely looking effort which flashed wide of the mark. Biggleswade were living dangerously as Constant found room and whipped in a delicious delivery which - if it wasn’t for the intervention of captain Liam Folds – Senior was inches away from connecting with. A short time later, Fowler unexpectedly stormed forward and found Craig White whose driven ball across the area was saved by Sam Leggett in the Town goal. The pressure didn’t die down. Northwood were upping the tempo, and in form striker Oliver Hawkins controlled beautifully before shooting on the turn which was blocked by Steven Gentle.

Having seen the game explode into life, Biggleswade wanted to avert the danger and found room out wide where Barnes was able to stride clear. His delivery was well blocked by Grant before the second attempt found its way inside the danger zone. Craig Daniel was able to get a header away but he somehow diverted it wide. It didn’t matter anyway as the linesman had raised his flag for an earlier foul. Jonathan Woolf’s pace then beat Scott Raper, and fortunately Fowler tracked his run and was able to steer him out wide, before using his strength to see the ball out of play. Half hearted appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Pat Miller. Northwood were on the offensive soon after when the ever impressive James McCluskey slotted a perfectly timed through ball for Constant who could only strike it straight at Leggett.

Woods were living dangerously when Daniel raced away from Marsh-Brown before curling an effort into the six-yard box. Waiting was Cole who connected well; unfortunately for the visiting contingent he knocked it wide. Northwood then almost paid the price when the referee failed to spot a foul on Raper. The man in the middle played on and so did Biggleswade as they powered forward. Barnes was the recipient of the resulting ball in and he cut inside before smashing an effort towards goal which deflected off Grant and kindly hit the post. Swain was motionless. A minute or so later and the tricky Walker weaved his way inside a couple of challenges before playing the ball to Constant who delivered a perfectly timed effort across where Hawkins headed home to give the hosts the lead. The tall front man’s purple patch was evidently continuing.

The last action of the first period fell to the visitors when a ‘Rory Delap’ esque long throw by Barnes was met by Cole but his effort fell straight into the clutches of Swain. Town made a double substitution at the break replacing Darryl Coakley with Tom McGowan and Barnes with Brett Donnelly – a man who was on the scoresheet in the corresponding fixture from last season.

It appeared the substitution was having the desired effect as Donnelly rose well but his tame header was met again by Swain. Goal scorer Hawkins then showed terrific tenacity as he fed Senior but the linesman’s flag was again raised for offside. It was that man – Hawkins – again who was in the thick of it as he controlled a high ball brilliantly before evading a challenge and finding room out wide. He then rode inside and curled an exquisite attempt which curled into the bottom corner beyond Leggett who could do nothing about it. 2-0 to Northwood. Time would tell whether we would see a response from the visiting side. Hawkins was again demonstrating his evident ability of holding up the ball as he found White who forced Folds into conceding a corner.

Raper then found himself the subject of a heavy challenge which Meakin made his thoughts well known about. In the end the guilty party was fortunate to get away with just a booking as opposed to a red card.  The Waders then made their third substitution as they took off Woolf and threw on Alex O’Brien.

Northwood were searching for a killer third as Marsh-Brown picked out Walker. The latter then found Constant; however his shot was saved well low down. Then, Walker was again involved as his pace was causing all sorts of problems for the Biggleswade defence. He cut in for the umpteenth time and whipped a decent effort towards the target, though it was blocked. Woods then demonstrated a great display of last ditch defending as first Cole’s shot on the turn was blocked and then the follow up by Donnelly was read by captain Marsh-Brown who turned it behind for a corner. The hosts were defending valiantly.

Northwood then effectively sealed the victory as a driven corner by Constant picked out Senior whose goalbound effort had enough strength to creep under Leggett. 3-0 to Northwood to the delight of the home faithful. They weren’t finished there. A mazy run by Walker saw him march into the danger area where he unselfishly teed up McCluskey whose pile driver raced wide. The exciting Walker was eager to add a fourth and he wasn’t too far away from doing just that as he fired narrowly wide from an acute angle. White then rolled it for Walker who set free the overlapping Marsh-Brown. The latter then whipped a delightful cross in under pressure which almost found Hawkins, who would have been itching to score another and notch up a hat trick; however Peter Gatti was just able to do enough to get it to safety.

Meakin then made all three substitutions at once as he replaced goal scorers Hawkins and Senior with Kurt Morlese and Ben Alexander, in addition to taking off the hard working Constant, replacing him with Sam Sharples. Two substitutes then combined when Alexander’s low delivery was flicked goalwards by Sharples, although it was blocked and subsequently cleared to safety. At the other end, Northwood somehow managed to survive a goalmouth scramble as a couple of looping headers were dealt with by the resolute Woods backline. Northwood then attempted to hit Town on the counter attack and it should have ended with them 4-0 up. Alexander was surprised to find himself alone and one on one with Leggett however the latter made amends for his earlier error as he clambered down to save the effort. Northwood wanted to add to the scoreline and were a post’s width from doing exactly that. Walker motored forward and released Morlese who looked to have made it 4-0 only for the shot to clip the outside of the left post.

That proved to be the last action of the match, as Northwood made it two wins and two clean sheets in succession while seeing off a below par Biggleswade Town side. Don’t take anything away from Northwood who were outstanding from numbers 1-11 this afternoon. Exceptional at the back and dangerous going forward. The score could and perhaps should have been more, but Northwood responded following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat versus Barton Rovers with a tremendous three points.
Northwood make the trip to Woodford United next weekend as they look to build on this afternoon’s win. If they play how they did today, then there is no reason to suggest why Meakin’s men won’t come away with maximum points!

As usual, after the final whistle, manager Gary Meakin gave his thoughts on the game. He was asked whether it was satisfying having seen a ‘complete’ performance by his team, as they saw off one of the high flyers in the league and kept a clean sheet in the process. “I am very happy. We are slowly and surely getting there. They were not at their best, but it is complimentary to us in the way that we played. In the Barton game last week we were the better team but we didn’t get anything - we capitalised today and got the three points.”

He was also questioned about how it was presumably fantastic to respond following last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to Barton Rovers. “Yes it is, we deserved to win but sometimes football is like that. We’ve moved on. No disrespect to Barton, but we should have won last week, but we didn’t”.

In addition, Meakin was asked about the strike partnership that Garry Senior and Oliver Hawkins seem to be forming and how they complement each other very well. “Yes they do. They are playing a lot of games together, so the understanding is always improving. I am not saying they are my number one partnership because that would be unfair on Ben Alexander and Kurt Morlese who are also playing well. The same goes with Craig White and ‘Macca’ (James McCluskey’) as they are establishing a top partnership as well; they too are playing more games with each other. It’s coming into fruition”.

And finally, ‘Meaks’ was asked about whether the month of December – where Northwood have to face a number of sides in and around the top six – would tell him more about where his side are at.
“Yes you hit the nail on the head there. It was the question I put to my players before today’s game, that if we come through it then we know where we are as a team. I think we have to play every side in the top five or something like that. We know our targets - the one’s we set before the season began - but we also know we can achieve more”.

Report by MATT FORD

Photos by James Brown