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Rugby Town 0  Northwood 0 

Saturday 17th March 2012

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik Southern League
Butlin Road, Rugby, Warks.
Rugby Town
Mitch Swain
1
Kick Off
1
David Bevan
Scott Raper
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Gary Moran
Lee Grant
3
Attendance
3
Craig Milligan
Liam Fowler
4
185
4
Ross Miller
Jon Douglas
5
H/T
5
Ed Booth
Warren Gladdy
6
0-0
6
Luke Leahy
Jonathan Constant
7
Scorers
7
Richard Blythe
Kwasi Frempong
8
Northwood
8
Richard Allen
Oliver Hawkins
9
n/a
9
Luke Keen
John Christian
10
Rugby
10
Seb Hamilton
Wayne O'Sullivan
11
n/a
11
Michael Williams
   Substitutes
Bookings
Substitutes
Kevin Ayodele
12
Northwood
12
Niki Preston
Sam Sharples (9, 85m)
14
O'Sullivan
14
Ben Steane
Romaine Walker (11, 73m)
15
Rugby
15
Seb Lake-Gaskin (for 9, 46m)
Spencer Bellotti (8, 64m)
16
Williams
16
Melvin Gourlay
Craig White
17
 
17
Stephen Palmer
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Adam Fielding

Assistants: Mr Craig Ward
& Mr Kevin Norris



With the two sides looking for a win that could see them climb into a play-off place, this was always expected to be a tight affair but after ninety minutes it would be Northwood who would be happier to have grabbed a point. Manager Gary Meakin introduced Jon Douglas into central defence to cover for the absence of Reece Yorke who was serving a one-game suspension. Douglas arrives on dual-registration from Wingate & Finchley and ironically came through the youth and reserve ranks at Rugby a decade ago. The Woods were also missing James Reading, Ronayne Marsh-Brown and Craig White through injury but welcomed back Scott Raper after several weeks out; while Warren Gladdy started his first game.

Rugby started quickly and had Northwood on the back-foot early on but the home side was restricted to efforts from distance with Luke Leahy and Richard Allen both firing well off target. Valley top scorer Luke Keen was back from injury and he notched the first good strike at goal after 11 minutes when he turned sharply and fired from the edge of the box but Mitch Swain was down to it quickly and saved well.

The Woods made some inroads of their own a minute later when Wayne O’Sullivan got forward and found enough space to poke a shot across the face of the goal which was always going just wide. For Rugby, Seb Hamilton latched onto a through-ball from Craig Milligan but hit his shot wide of the post and then a good move from the Woods saw Raper chip the ball to the near post and John Christian headed wide.

The home side continued to hold the advantage but the Northwood back-line were looking solid with Douglas winning the aerial battle and the others all working hard. Hamilton hooked an effort well over and Michael Williams blasted wide from outside the box.

Northwood had to rely on their quick breaks with O’Sullivan looking most likely to create something but Rugby ‘keeper David Bevan was fairly untroubled. The Woods had their best chance on 38 minutes as Christian broke down the right and cut the ball back into the danger zone. It eluded two Woods players but rolled towards Lee Grant just outside the box. He had time to pick his spot but showed no composure and merely side-footed the ball well over the bar.

Swain had to be on hand to keep out a Hamilton shot three minutes later after Keen had done well to keep the ball on and the Woods finished the half on the attack as the hard-working Oliver Hawkins forced a corner when his shot was blocked. The resulting corner was shocking and almost led to Rugby almost getting a chance to score on the break but the scores were still level at half-time.

The Valley lost Keen to injury at half-time as he was replaced by Seb Lake-Gaskin and it was Northwood who finally notched their first effort on target after 51 minutes when Hawkins chased down a through-ball from Warren Gladdy and got ahead of Ed Booth but his poked shot lacked the power to beat Bevan.

Two minutes later another good move saw O’Sullivan jink into the box and go down under a challenge from Ross Miller but with the Woods looking for a penalty, the Referee went the other way and booked the Woods wingman for a dive.

Rugby pressed forward again with a bit more urgency and Williams drove a shot across the face of goal which was cleared and then Hamilton tested Swain with another good strike after the defence had backed off him but the Woods keeper was in good form and saved well.

Northwood were gradually getting more into the game. Douglas headed a Constant free-kick wide and then Bevan was called into action to take a Constant corner right under the crossbar before punching clear under pressure from Hawkins.

Spencer Bellotti replaced the hard-working Kwasi Frempong on 64 minutes to give the Woods more attacking prowess but just two minutes later Rugby had their best chance to take the lead as Hamilton powered his way past Liam Fowler and got in a cross which Richard Blythe should have tucked away but instead volleyed wide of the goal. The arrival of Romaine Walker in place of O’Sullivan again revived Northwood’s fortunes. The tricky forward, who has been out-of-form in recent weeks, quickly latched onto a flick from Hawkins and raced into the box but with Constant free at the far post, he cut the ball back behind him and the chance was gone.

After 76 minutes Hawkins looped a header which was dropping in as Bevan took the safe option of turning it over the bar and from the resulting corner it fell to Douglas on the edge of the box but his volley flashed well wide.  Rugby were running out of steam and the Woods were now looking to steal all three points. That opportunity came after 86 minutes as Walker danced in from the left, slaloming his way past four defenders but with the goal at his mercy inside the six-yard box, he chose to cut the ball back and again it flashed behind his red shirted attackers.

Constant had the last effort on goal as the Woods were awarded a free-kick twenty yards out but his direct shot was always looking high and it flashed over the crossbar. The final score of 0-0 was the second in succession for the Woods and the first time they have had two such results since consecutive goalless draws against Harrow Borough and at Folkestone Invicta back in February 2005.

Report by ALAN EVANS

Photos by James Brown and courtesy of www.rugbytownfc.com