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Northwood 2  Leighton Town 1

Saturday 5th November 2011

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik Southern League
Chestnut Avenue, Northwood
Leighton Town
Derek Lewis
1
Kick Off
1
Lee Clark
Andrew Mensah
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Andre Maltay
Ronayne Marsh-Brown
3
Attendance
3
Jake Bewley
Lee Grant
4
122
4
Sam Chapman
Liam Fowler
5
H/T
5
Stuart Deaton
Sam Sharples
6
0-1
6
Ross Hanley
Jonathan Constant
7
Scorers
7
Daniel Chambers
Craig White
8
Northwood
8
Lewis McBride
Oliver Hawkins
9
Hawkins 76, Senior 87
9
Ben Gallant
Garry Senior
10
10
Leon Simpson
Gary Burrell
11
Leighton
11
Deji Ojuroye
   Substitutes
Okuroye 55
Substitutes
Jack Hutchinson (11, 61m)
12
Bookings
12
Shane Bush
Shaun Wanklyn
14
Northwood
14
Charlie Cunningham (7, 84m)
James McCluskey (6, 61m)
15
White
15
Paul Blackwell
Romaine Walker (8, 61m)
16
Leighton
16
James Hatch
Kurt Morlese
17
Bewley, Chambers
17
Kevin Marsh
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Robert Partlett

Assistants: Mr Steve Dolton
& Mr Richard Beveridge



After two wins in the past week, Northwood would have been hoping to make it three as they took on a Leighton Town side who so far have struggled to replicate the good season they had last year. Coming into this one they sat in 20th place, with only two wins to their name, however both were on their travels. Gary Meakin made three changes from the victory in the League Cup on Tuesday evening with Liam Fowler, Sam Sharples and Craig White coming in for Shaun Wanklyn, Jack Hutchinson and James McCluskey who all had to make do with a spot on the bench. Leighton also notched up a victory in the League Cup on Tuesday with a morale boosting 4-1 win over Premier Division side Cambridge City, something they would have been eager to continue today.

The game began sluggishly, but it was Northwood who set about making the first inroads when Gary Burrell fed Oliver Hawkins, who then slid it across for White, but his effort was blocked. Burrell again was involved moments later when he drove wide from the edge of the area. It seemed Northwood were trying to continue from where they left off on Tuesday after a fairly positive opening to the game. Hawkins, who has scored in both of his last two games, held the ball up well outside the box for his strike partner Garry Senior but he flashed his effort wide.

Leighton Town’s first real action of the first half brought with it a strong penalty appeal when Ben Gallant raced clear and appeared to be checked by goalkeeper Derek Lewis but referee Robert Partlett was unmoved to the dismay of Gallant who received a yellow card for simulation. The visitors seemed buoyed following the incident, with Daniel Chambers feeding giant striker Leon Simpson, who did well to get the better of Woods skipper Ronayne Marsh-Brown and cut inside, before curling an effort towards goal which looked like it was creeping into the corner, only for Lewis to react smartly and turn it around the post.

Leighton striker Simpson was again causing a few problems for centre back pairing Lee Grant and Fowler, who dealt with Burnham’s aerial threat well last week, but were getting beaten in the air on a few occasions. One of these saw Simpson nod the ball through for Lewis McBride, who did well to lift his shot over Lewis but he failed to hit the target as he saw his shot go wide of the right hand upright. Northwood had become sluggish. A number of times they rushed the pass, and Town were easily intercepting each one which was frustrating for the Northwood contingent inside the ground.

That was as good as it got as a dull half came to a close, with both sides unable to break the deadlock heading into half time, the visitors probably edging it. Meakin had to give a few words to his players who by no means were playing bad, but could be guilty of not passing at a quick enough tempo.

Neither side made any changes after the half time interval. The Woods started the second half brightly threading some neat passes together but they weren’t creating an awful lot. In fact it was Leighton who made their first chance of the second half count when a corner was whipped in and despite the fact it was headed clear, McBride was there to steer it in however he scuffed his effort. It was a good job he did if you are connected with Leighton Town because on 55 minutes, Deji Ojuroye was there to fire home from the edge of the box. Lewis stood motionless. Town had grabbed the lead, and now it was a case of whether Northwood could muscle themselves back into the proceedings.

The goal from the visitors saw the Woods’ heads drop. Meakin went gung ho as he made all three substitutions at once by replacing Burrell with Hutchinson, Sharples with McCluskey and White with Romaine Walker. The replacements seemed to have the desired effect when Andrew Mensah played a nice one two with Jonathan Constant before moving infield and letting rip. Nevertheless, goalkeeper Lee Clark in the visitors’ goal was a match for it, saving smartly by tipping the ball around the post. Northwood now had a spring in their step and after Marsh-Brown found room, he flicked it down the left flank for Constant, who got the better of Andre Maltay and whipped it across where Oliver Hawkins was the grateful recipient, prodding home from close range on 76 minutes, making it three goals in as many games as well as levelling the scores.

The Woods went in search of a winner and firmly had Leighton rooted in their own half. It was from here that they forced a mistake from Ross Hanley. Mensah played the ball diagonally for Hutchinson, who under pressure did well to find Walker, the latter saw the opportunity open up invitingly as he swept an effort at goal which went over the bar. The home side then went close again when goal scorer Hawkins was picked out by a delightful cross from Constant but the former couldn’t keep his header down and it was always rising.

Walker’s pace was pinning Town even further back and with the visitors firmly on the back foot, the electric wide man exploited this. On 87 minutes, Walker’s mazy run saw him get the better of Maltay and surge into the box where he somehow squeezed a shot at Clark, who to his credit reacted extremely well. However, Senior was the first to react to the rebound as he fired an effort on the turn which found the back of the net. With barely three minutes to play Northwood had fired themselves 2-1 up.

Leighton’s last action (as they frantically tried to get a leveller) was a free kick which was over hit and a corner which was dealt with by the reliable Fowler. Subsequently, all eyes were penned on the referee who duly blew the final whistle to the delight of the majority of the 122 supporters who had turned up on a grey afternoon in Middlesex. A third win in a row, which has seen Northwood notch up seven goals conceding just the twice.

Not the prettiest of games, not the prettiest of performances but a welcome three points none the less as the Woods earned their seventh league victory of the season. Northwood are up to ninth albeit both Chertsey Town and Rugby Town below them have games in hand. After the full time whistle, the scorer of Northwood’s equalising goal, Oliver Hawkins, gave his thoughts on the game and his own individual performances over the past week, which has seen him score three goals in as many games, and in the process help his team to three victories. “I am very pleased to have scored today, and it was nice to win again. I don’t score many, so to score three times in the past three games is fantastic.”

He was also asked about why things didn’t go to plan before the leveller. “Before the goal, we rushed things and tried to overplay too much. We didn’t get enough balls into the box and we were trying too hard. That changed after the goal.”

Manager Gary Meakin also gave his views after the win, and in particular his thoughts after his side made it three wins in three games. “I am delighted with the win; it seems that things are finally coming together for us as a team. Perhaps I expected too much too soon but we are beginning to gel as a unit”.

Meaks was also questioned on the injury situation at present, and in particular Kyle Matthews, and Ben Alexander who were seen training prior to the game. “Kyle Matthews is still a little way off getting back playing, he has only just begun training, but that is only non contact at the moment. Ben Alexander injured his toe against Sittingbourne and he got through the session today fine and he was able to put pressure on it, however he won’t be back for a couple of weeks.

“Scott Raper is almost there and we’ll give him a week, and then he should be back. Junior Osborne has another scan on the 15th November, so we will have to wait until then. And Aaron Lansiquot will finalise his move to St Albans early next week. Sticking with the player situation, Gary Burrell’s dual registration has now ended, this was his last game today and he will return now to Wingate & Finchley”.

Meakin was also asked to give his thoughts on why things didn’t go so well for much of the game. “I am not sure, they were the better team for a good hour or so, but we won ugly just like in the Burnham game (last Saturday). You cannot always win pretty like we did against Ashford on Tuesday, but we are a good team showing its head.”

And finally he was asked about whether the momentum gained over the past week will be key as the Woods head to Fleet Town next Saturday. “It’s massive. It’s a shame we don’t have a game on Tuesday because it would have been nice to try and keep it going. Hopefully we can do so and kick on, and fingers crossed with the interruptions gone we can focus on the League. There is competition for places, which is good. Everyone is good enough to start, it’s a case of giving everyone some game time to keep the squad happy.”

Report and interviews by MATT FORD

Photos by James Brown