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Northwood 0  Woodford United 1

Saturday 31st March 2012

  • Line-ups
  • Match Report
  • Photos

Northwood
EvoStik Southern League
Chestnut Avenue, Northwood
Woodford United
James Reading
1
Kick Off
1
Matt Finlay
Scott Raper
2
3.00 p.m.
2
Nat Liburd
Lee Grant
3
Attendance
3
Lewis Travers
Liam Fowler
4
116
4
Ross Harris
Reece Yorke
5
H/T
5
Ben Milner
Kwasi Frempong
6
0-1
6
Jamie Wright
Wayne O'Sullivan
7
Scorers
7
Ross Oulton
Craig White
8
Northwood
8
Thomas Fountain
Oliver Hawkins
9
n/a
9
Alfie Taylor
Jonathan Constant
10
Woodford
10
Glen Hawkins
Adamson Ajayi
11
Hawkins 13
11
Aaron King
   Substitutes
Bookings
Substitutes
Kevin Ayodele
12
Northwood
12
Justin Dowling (4, 46m)
John Christian (7, 46m)
14
Grant, Yorke, Christian, Constant
14
Pascal Agyei
Sam Sharples (8, 77m)
15
15
Nathan Stewart (9, 63m)
Spencer Bellotti (4, 58m)
16
Woodford
16
-
Mitch Swain
17
Wright
17
-
 
 
RIVERSIDE MAN OF THE MATCH:
xxx
 
 
Referee: Mr Kevin Howick

Assistants: Mr Peter Smith
& Mr Chris Reid



The Woods’ hopes of reaching the play-offs for the first time took a blow when they slipped to a disappointing defeat at the hands of a Woodford United outfit that arrived at Chestnut Avenue having lost their previous six league games, albeit all by close margins. Gary Meakin restored top scorer Oliver Hawkins to the starting line-up, along with Kwasi Frempong and Adamson Ajayi, replacing Spencer Bellotti and Warren Gladdy, whilst the tricky Romaine Walker was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder sustained in college football.

The home side had an early warning of the potential threat from Woodford when the visitors had the ball in the net in the first minute, although the lineman’s flag was raised early. But after that, much of the pressing came from the Woods, with Hawkins turning a header over the bar three minutes in, then the tall striker robbed Ben Milner in the away box, before United managed to clear Constant’s dangerous cross.

Minutes later Hawkins should have given Northwood the advantage when he connected well with Wayne O’Sullivan’s right-flank corner, but the header sailed inches over the bar. But the Woods were rocked on 13 minutes when a defensive slip on Woodford’s left flank let in Glen Hawkins, whose left foot drive across James Reading found the corner of the net, although the Woods’ keeper may be disappointed not to have kept it out. It was Woodford’s first-ever goal against Northwood, in the fourth meeting of the clubs.

That goal rather changed the complexion of the game, as Woodford, having come for a draw, now had a solitary goal lead to defend, and they did so strongly, with Olly Hawkins in particular coming in for plenty of physical attention, but with little protection from referee Kevin Howick. Jonathan Constant lashed in a 20-yarder that went just wide after 20 minutes as the Woods strove to get back on level terms, but their efforts were perhaps summed up when Reece Yorke released O’Sullivan, but the winger’s “shot” was closer to the top of the trees than the goal!

A foul by United defender Ben Milner on Hawkins was finally penalised by the referee, and Constant’s 25th minute free-kick from the edge of the box looked goalbound, but instead just curled over. Woodford showed that they still posed a threat a few minutes later when after Yorke had been penalised, Aaron King’s 20-yard free-kick was heading for the net until Reading managed to grab the ball at the second attempt. Minutes later Yorke was again penalised – and cautioned – for upending goalscorer Hawkins, and Reading was again equal to King’s dead ball kick.

Woods had a chance to equalise ten minutes before the break when O’Sullivan fed Kwasi Frempong as the midfielder pushed forward, and his crisp low drive was well saved by United keeper and captain Matt Finlay, who soon after blocked an effort from O’Sullivan.

The home side, with John Christian replacing O’Sullivan, struggled to get going immediately after the break, and their task got harder when Reece Yorke received a straight red card for a challenge on the halfway line on King – whose delayed theatrics no doubt assisted Mr Howick’s decision.

But Gary Meakin’s side showed their determination in adversity, and upped their game when a man light, and soon after, substitute Spencer Bellotti – who had replaced Liam Fowler, with Scott Raper moving into central defence – forced keeper Finlay to tip over a spectacular overhead effort. But the referee continued to frown upon Northwood, as just past the hour Jonathan Constant was caught by Nat Liburd as he raced into the penalty box, but whereas King’s theatrics had received a reward minutes earlier, Constant’s saw him robbed of the deserved spot-kick – and he was cautioned for diving instead. It clearly wasn’t to be Northwood’s day!

Bellotti had a good shot from 20 yards well saved by Finlay on the 70-minutes mark, but when he set up Adamson Ajayi in a good position soon after, the winger sent his shot weakly off target. Most of Woods’ remaining attacking threat involved former Oxhey Jets man Bellotti; firstly he met a Sam Sharples cross by sending a poor header wide when well placed, then with nine minutes remaining, he raced free of the defence with just Finlay to beat – but the ball bobbled at the crucial moment and rolled gently into the keeper’s clutches.

Northwood had actually dominated the game since being reduced to ten men, but Woodford sub Justin Dowling almost had the last word with a few minutes remaining, and he should have netted a second for the visitors, instead shooting wide when it looked easier to score.

The Woods still have a good chance of reaching the play-offs, as they face rivals Biggleswade, Uxbridge and Beaconsfield in their next three Evo-Stik Southern League fixtures – but Meakin’s men cannot afford any more slip-ups in the final run-in.

Report by KEN GREEN

Photos by James Brown