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Northwood 1  Uxbridge 2

Monday 9th April 2012

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik
Southern League

Chestnut Avenue, Northwood
Uxbridge
James Reading
1
Kick Off
1
Matt Elson-Bull 
Scott Raper
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Max Howell
Lee Grant
3
Attendance
3
Howard Hall
Liam Fowler
4
189
4
Rob Fitzgerald
Reece Yorke
5
H/T
5
Mark Dennison
John Christian
6
1-2
6
Wayne Carter
Wayne O'Sullivan
7
Scorers
7
Stuart Farrell
Kwasi Frempong
8
Northwood
8
Shaun Lucien
Spencer Bellotti
9
Bellotti 71
9
Nicke Kabamba
Warren Gladdy
10
Uxbridge
10
Chris Moore 
Adamson Ajayi
11
Moore 10,
Kabamba 45
+1
11
Craige Tomkins 
   Substitutes
Substitutes
James McCluskey (8, 30m)
12
Bookings
12
Gavin Brown
Romaine Walker (7, 75m)
14
Northwood
14
Danny Julienne
Jonathan Constant
15
Christian
15
Pat Lynott (8, 64m)
Garry Senior (11, 46m)
16
Uxbridge
16
Michael Murray (9, 88m)
Mitch Swain
17
Carter
17
John Peacock
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Chris Phillips

Assistants: Mr Neil Morrison
& Mr Isaac Jempeji



In what was the second meeting between the sides in the space of six days, Northwood were aiming to build on their 1-3 win over Biggleswade Town on Saturday which kept them in the mix for the end of season play-offs, whilst Uxbridge were hoping to open up a seven point gap between the sides and avenge their semi-final defeat last week.

Northwood were without top scorer Oliver Hawkins and midfielder Craig White, whereas Uxbridge had virtually a full strength side for their visit to Chestnut Avenue. If the previous encounters this season were anything to go by then this game was only ever going one way, except with potential play-off implications at stake it was anything but.

The early pressure came from the visitors as they virtually pinned Northwood back in their own half in the opening exchanges. And that pressure paid dividends on ten minutes as Craige Tomkins raced clear of Scott Raper down the left hand side and he picked out ex Northwood striker Chris Moore who found himself unmarked at the back post, and despite the best efforts of goalkeeper James Reading who clambered across, the ball had just enough zip on it to beat him. 0-1 to the visitors, and the worst possible start for the hosts.

The pressure didn’t subside though, and a dangerous ball in was almost met by Mark Dennison – another former Northwood man – who went down under the challenge. To the relief of the home side the linesman had raised his flag for offside before he went to ground. Gary Meakin’s side were then very nearly architects of their own downfall as skipper Lee Grant failed to clear and Shaun Lucien’s ball in was only just met by Liam Fowler who frantically nodded it clear, although it fell kindly for Uxbridge captain Wayne Carter on the edge of the box and he connected but it wasn’t the best effort and it trickled safely wide.

Northwood’s lapse in concentration continued as Uxbridge’s sustained attacking play was causing them all sorts of problems. Kwasi Frempong was this time the guilty party as he surrendered possession, with Moore the grateful recipient. His shot appeared to be heading goalwards but for the superb intervention from the tenacious Reece Yorke who got back and blocked the shot. The subsequent corner from Carter was headed wide by Stuart Farrell who ought to have done better.

For the first time in the game, the Woods had Uxbridge at sixes and sevens. John Christian ran clear and teed up Spencer Bellotti – looking to add to his four goals in his past two games – and he controlled well yet the linesman ruled him offside just as he was about to work himself into a shooting position. Up the other end, the visitors very nearly gave themselves breathing space as Moore evaded Grant and whipped in a telling cross. Tomkins connected but couldn’t keep it down -in an almost role reversal of the first goal – the winger would have expected himself to hit the target. Frempong – who was the subject of a heavy challenge from Carter – was withdrawn and replaced by James McCluskey, who impressed in the 3-2 success last Tuesday hitting home the decisive third goal that night.

The visiting outfit weren’t about to be denied a second and perhaps decisive goal much longer though. A Howard Hall throw appeared to be going nowhere fast, however Fowler – so often reliable – slipped at the crucial time, allowing Nicke Kabamba to walk around him unopposed and place his effort beyond Reading at the near post. The young stopper may have felt he could have kept it out but nonetheless Uxbridge had deservedly extended their lead right on the stroke of the interval. 0-2, and potentially a damaging blow to Woods’ hopes of reaching the end of season knockout.

Meakin responded by taking off Adamson Ajayi and replacing him with centre forward Garry Senior, who made his return from back and neck injuries respectively. Northwood needed a good start and they got one. Senior controlled well in the area but it was snuffed out by Rob Fitzgerald. Then in a blink of an eye Uxbridge were gifted possession by Fowler and if it wasn’t for a smart save from Reading then it would have been game, set and match.

Shortly after, the home side were on the offensive again with Warren Gladdy playing a smart ball in and behind the visitors defence although Wayne O’Sullivan’s touch took him away from goal and his cross come shot evaded everyone before crashing against the advertising hoardings behind Matt Elson-Bull’s goal. Romaine Walker came on to the delight of the crowd of fans behind the goal who began chanting his name, but it was becoming evident that as the game wore on the hosts were becoming increasingly frustrated. Moments later and tricky winger Walker was out muscled giving the ball away in the process and it very nearly cost him and his side. Moore raced though yet again although he was thwarted by Reading who kept it out with his feet.

As the rain began to fall once more, Northwood were presented with a terrific opening to get back into the game. Walker – pinned very much in his own half – played a testing looping ball over the Uxbridge defence and in the process released Bellotti, who went head to head with Hall, and as he approached the six yard box he was nudged aside, with his half hearted protests for a penalty waved away by a combination of the referee and the linesman. Bellotti wasn’t about to let his frustrations get to him, though, and he got Northwood back into the game on seventy one minutes. A delicious ball in was controlled brilliantly by the ex Oxhey Jets man, who then curled home from close range to net his fifth goal in his last 3 matches – three goals in a week for the young striker. Then, pushing for an equaliser, O’Sullivan rushed his effort on the edge of the box which fortunately turned into a good through ball. Despite being well placed, Bellotti was unaware of how much time he had to control and then finish as he stabbed at it and Elson-Bull saw it wide.

With the game progressing towards its conclusion, Northwood were almost dealt a sucker punch as Kabamba found his strike partner Moore but he sliced high and wide. The match was quickly becoming more stretched and the home side nearly found an elusive equalising goal. Bellotti dropped deeper to the surprise of the Uxbridge back line who didn’t track him and he was allowed time to turn and unleash a pile driver which had to be helped over by the keeper. The corner was wasted again and Tony Choules’ side looked for a game winning third as Moore somehow rounded three Woods defenders, but his touch eluded him and that allowed Reading half a yard to come out and block his goal bound effort. The corner was smothered by the former Hendon and Burnham goalkeeper, and that instigated a counter attack from Meakin’s men. O’Sullivan was caught and that gave the home side one last chance to throw bodies forward. The free kick looked dangerous and Senior met it but frustrating as it was, the linesman on the near side raised his flag inevitably to all but end any hopes of a leveller.

The final whistle brought massive cheers from the Uxbridge contingent as they realised just how crucial a goal that may prove in their push for the play-offs. Equally everyone connected with Northwood realised how damaging this afternoon’s result could potentially be in their quest to likewise reach the end of season lottery. Meakin’s men showed nothing less than 100% in fight, spirit and determination but they will have to come to terms with the fact that they now trail Uxbridge by seven points. To make matters worse, Biggleswade Town beat St Neots Town 1-2, and Beaconsfield held Slough to a point which means that with three games to go Northwood are six points adrift of the play-off positions. Nevertheless, one thing you can guarantee is that it is sure to be an exciting end to the campaign. Gary Meakin remained optimistic that his side could still be in with a chance assuming they beat Beaconsfield, Burnham and Leighton in their remaining three fixtures. And with the way the season has panned out, who knows what the final weeks of the season will bring as the campaign gradually draws to a close.

After the game, manager Gary Meakin gave his thoughts on the afternoon’s football in front of the biggest gate of the season – 189. He was asked about whether he thought with the defeat, was his side’s play-off push over. “No, not mathematically. Uxbridge have pulled away from us but Beaconsfield are not out of our sights and we play them this Saturday. We are chasing two places in the play-offs so if we win our remaining three games then who knows.” In addition he was asked about whether on balance, he believed Northwood deserved to lose. “Yes, yes we did. You can’t get beat or outplayed for an hour and still expect to get a result, it doesn’t happen.”

He was also posed the question that despite the defeat it presumably isn’t all doom and gloom with the Cup final ahead. However he was also asked about whether having been so close whether it has been disappointing to witness Northwood lose their last two home games. “It is, yes. We have to be real with ourselves. Our average age of our squad is 21/22 years of age so it is a big ask for them to play 49 odd games and to play well every week. I cannot fault them for their effort and determination though; they have been excellent in that respect.” He was also asked about how presumably the aim is to simply accumulate as many points as possible and then to see where it takes the side. “Yes, we have to get 69 points, so three wins from our next three to give ourselves a chance of creeping in there. And if we get to 69 points, then who knows?

And finally the ‘boss’ was asked about whether the Middlesex Charity Cup final now takes priority. “No, not yet as the league campaign is not finished. The final comes next and everyone is playing for their place in the side for that game.”

Report by MATTHEW FORD

Photos by James Brown