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Northwood 0  Wealdstone 3

Tuesday 7th August 2012

 

Northwood
James Reading
1
Scott Raper
2
Ronayne Marsh-Brown
3
Lee Grant
4
Brad Hewitt
5
James Fraser
6
Adamson Ajayi
7
Dean Worman
8
Garry Senior
9
Oliver Hawkins
10
Romaine Walker
11
Substitutes
Reece Yorke (9, 46m)
12
Garry Malone
14
Ryan Phillips (3, 75m)
15
Danny McDonnell (6, 67m)
16
Ricky Rogers (8, 42m)
17
Sam Sharples
18
Victor Asombang
19
 

The Woods tasted defeat for the first time in their lengthy pre-season campaign as Ryman Premier side Wealdstone looked a class above when romping into a three goal lead after just 25 minutes of this contest. Ironically for the goal-shy Northwood side, all three Stones goals came from ex-Wood strikers.

Wealdstone had also been unbeaten in their pre-season schedule, which had included tough games against Watford, Forest Green Rovers and Braintree Town, so the Woods should have been ready for the assault that took place on their goal from the first whistle, but they were slow starters.

After just four minutes Lee Grant lost possession and a first-time strike from former Northwood youngster Scott Fitzgerald was only just wide. Then, only three minutes later, excellent approach play from Tommy Brewer and Scott McCubbin led to a whipped in cross and a rare headed goal from Peter Dean, who was part of Northwood's Southern Premier side several years ago.

Northwood tried to hit back quickly with Dean Worman finding some space. His first shot was comfortable taken by goalkeeper Rikki Banks, while a second tested the keeper more, forcing him to dive across and push the ball wide.

But the Stones then struck twice in quick succession to really stamp their authority on the game. James Reading did well to keep out a good strike by Dean but predator Fitzgerald was on hand to follow up and knock in the loose ball and the experienced striker scored again two minutes later. This time Reading saved well from Tom Pett but the livewire attacker retrieved the ball and chipped it up nicely to the far post where Fitzgerald headed home firmly.

Northwood had little to offer in response during the first half. Ronayne Marsh-Brown flashed a free-kick across the face of the goal and only just wide while Romaine Walker latched on to a James Fraser ball but saw his effort blocked by Banks at the near-post. Alex Dyer went closest to extending the visitors’ lead when he chipped just over with five minutes to go to the break, during which Gary Meakin had to get his side to find a positive comeback.

Striker Garry Senior was sacrificed for an extra defender in Reece Yorke, and the Woods were much improved in the second half.

An Oliver Hawkins flick-on got Adamson Ajayi into the box but his cut-back found no-one and then a terrific cross from Scott Raper picked out Hawkins, whose volley crashed back off the bar with Banks beaten. Walker was next to go close as he cut in from the left and knocked in a shot which hit the far post and Hawkins somehow put the rebound the wrong side of the upright.

Wealdstone rarely had a look-in during the second half, perhaps content to sit back on their lead but certainly put onto the back-foot as Northwood pressed, and the Woods went close again when Ajayi sped away and knocked in a cross which had Hawkins stretching but just failing to connect.

After 81 minutes a well-worked corner saw Hawkins head the ball down and Brad Hewitt set it up for Grant, who drove the ball wide of the target. It was their last chance and they remained goalless but the Woods can be pleased with their second half recovery, and Wealdstone look as if they may again challenge for the top places in the Ryman Premier.

REPORT by ALAN EVANS



PHOTOS by Ruth Finch