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Potters Bar Town 2 Northwood 2

Saturday 7th July 2012


James Reading
Danny McDonnell
Ronayne Marsh-Brown
Lee Grant
Reece Yorke
Sam Sharples
Kyle Matthews
James Fraser
Spencer Bellotti
Oliver Hawkins
Romaine Walker
Substitutes (all used)
Aidan Byfield
Victor Asombang
Julian Smith
Ryan Phillips
Ricky Rogers
Ryan Lee

The Woods commenced their customary drawn-out pre-season campaign with a competitive friendly against Ryman Division One North side Potters Bar Town on an artificial pitch at Rowley Lane, home of the London Maccabi Lions FC.

With a string of players unavailable at present due to the usual run of holidays, weddings and illnesses, the Woods were able to take a good look at a few reserve players who were keen to impress while also starting with a strong first eleven. This included two debutants, in experienced 28-year-old midfielder James Fraser, another former Harrow Borough player who had spells with Harlow Town and Aveley last season, and ex-QPR reserve defender Danny McDonnell, who was released from the Loftus Road club in the summer.

It was good too see skipper Ronayne Marsh-Brown back having recovered from the foot injury that kept him sidelined in the final few months of last season, while Kyle Matthews was also involved from the start as he continues his comeback from long-term injury problems.

Northwood made a cracking start, dominating for long periods of the first-half and threatening the Potters Bar goal several times. Romaine Walker cut in from the left and saw his drive come back off the post before being denied by a good save from the 'keeper later in the half. As the game progressed, the chances increased with Oliver Hawkins breaking through but seeing his shot blocked by the goalkeeper and then he put the rebound wide of the post.

Next it was his strike partner Spencer Bellotti who got through on goal but though he slid his shot past the 'keeper it also rolled wide of the post.

So, with no goals to show for a sparkling first half, the Woods introduced reserve players Ryan Lee, Julian Smith, Ryan Phillips and Ricky Rogers in the second half, together with triallists Aiden Byfield and the vastly-experienced striker Victor Asombang.

While our opponents enjoyed a little more possession after the break, the Woods still looked more likely to make the breakthrough and James Reading had a quiet time between the sticks, just forced into one save ten minutes into the half.

At the other end Walker continued to cause problems down the flank and when one of his dangerous crosses was only half-cleared, Fraser tried his luck from long-range but it flew over the crossbar.

Bellotti tried his luck with an acrobatic shot after 75 minutes that flew just wide but the game appeared to be drifting towards a goalless stalemate when Marsh-Brown fired the Woods in front when he cracked in a 25-yard strike that cannoned in off the underside of the crossbar. Just two minutes later good approach work from Phillips lead to an Asombang cross and Bellotti pounced to make it 2-0 with just nine minutes to go.

It should have been comfortable from there but Potters Bar rallied and one fine solo effort was followed with a close-range strike and it was handshakes all round following four goals in a nine minute period and a 2-2 draw.