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BARTON ROVERS FC   Saturday 13th September 2014   NORTHWOOD FC

FA Cup First Qualifying Round

  Barton Rovers 1  Northwood 1  

Burnett 80

Nicholas 86

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Kyle Forster     1 Danny McNicholas
2 Alex Condon (46m)     2 Omar Vassell
3 Liam McDevitt     3 Andy Lomas (22m)
4 Peter Gatti     4 Mark Burgess
5 Paul Andrews     5 Perry Dicker
6 Kev Kilroy     6 Jordan Lawal
7 Connor Vincent (59m)     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Louis Lee     8 George Nicholas
9 Nat Peacock     9 Dave Lawrence 
10 Keshi Anderson     10 Rob Hastings
11 Bilal Hassan (67m)     11 Sam Byfield (73m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Tony Burnett (67m)     12 Karim Aissaoui
14 Niran Vaughan (46m)     14 Mason Yorke (22m)
15 Josh Terry     15 Tommy Walsh
16 Billy Lannon     16 Nana Asamoah (73m)
17 Anthony Ottaway     17 Nick Turner
18 James Peters (59m)     18 -
19 Aaron Foulton     19 Berkley Laurencin
      Referee: Graham Kinnear; Assistants: Matthew Lake & D Glazewski      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  



An opportunistic goal from George Nicholas rescued a valuable draw for the Woods in this all-Southern League FA Cup clash and they will now enjoy home advantage for Tuesday night’s replay. Manager Mark Burgess was forced to return from injury to patch up a defence that was missing Steve Brown, Nick Turner, James Duncan and Alex Nolan while young goalkeeper Danny McNicholas continued to stand-in for the injured Berkley Laurencin between the sticks.

Frontman Michael Murray was also unavailable but there was some good news as Joakim Ehui passed a fitness test to take his place on the right, Sam Byfield returned from his own injury problems and this allowed Omar Vassell to drop back and cover at right-back.

The home side had managed to score eight goals at Staines Lammas in the previous round while the Woods were looking to recover from their midweek thrashing at Egham Town and were expecting a really tough test but there was a slow start to the game. Barton had players with a long-throw weapon on both sides of the pitch and one hurled in from the right saw Nat Peacock flick a backward header towards goal but McNicholas saved low down and it was Northwood who enjoyed the better possession.

And after 14 minutes they almost grabbed the lead when a free-kick was worked wide to Ehui and he knocked in a perfect cross that Nicholas met with a firm downward header that bounced up but also just over the bar with goalkeeper Kyle Forster well beaten. The Woods’ injury problems increased further on 23 minutes when Andy Lomas limped off with a tight groin to be replaced by Mason Yorke.

Barton tried to take advantage of the disruption with a long-range effort from Keshi Anderson well wide and then another long throw was headed on by Liam McDevitt and McNicholas kept out another header from Peacock. At the other end Dave Lawrence picked up another good ball from Ehui and found space to shoot for goal but it lacked the power to beat Forster who saved comfortably.

It was on 37 minutes that the match should have turned Northwood’s way. An excellent move saw Nicholas play a neat exchange of passes with Ehui and then cut the ball back. Rob Hastings dummied with Byfield coming in behind him and when his shot was blocked by the arm of Paul Andrews a penalty was the result. Lawrence stepped up to take it but with Forster moving one way, the Woods striker put his shot the other but also a distance wide of the post as well.

It did lead to a flurry of activity up to the half-time whistle. A cross from the recently yellow-carded Kevin Kilroy – for a foul on Hastings – saw Peacock head across goal and wide but then Northwood hit back with Hastings battling to win the ball and then hitting a first-time shot from distance which Forster did well to save cleanly. Forster then denied Hastings again after a cross from Vassell had picked out the ex-Rovers forward who was looking to score against his former club, and the break arrived just after a long-range strike had almost caught McNicholas off his line but the keeper back-peddled and pushed the ball just over.

Barton continued on the front-foot at the start of the second half as they switched to playing their preferred uphill football. Bilal Hassan crashed a shot over after getting onto a ball helped on in midfield and then McDevitt’s hooked effort was saved by McNicholas. The Woods keeper also got behind Kilroy’s long-range free-kick well and then Peacock fired over after a couple of efforts had been blocked by some dogged defending.

Phil Dicker picked up a booking after a series of fouls in an otherwise impressive performance as the Blues continued to press and the Woods struggled to make any inroads. It was from a Northwood corner that Barton broke quickly on 66 minutes but Yorke managed to hold up Hassan out wide long enough for defenders to get back and eventually Anderson fired well wide when he finally got the ball.

Nana Asamoah was introduced as fresh legs for a tiring Byfield but it was still the home side who looked most likely to break the deadlock and when McNicholas failed to hold a long ball pumped into the box, it needed a block and a good clearance from Vassell to save the day. The Woods keeper then held an Anderson free-kick as time began to tick on but after 80 minutes the tricky Anderson managed to get past Dicker on the right and knock in a centre which was well finished from close-range by substitute Tony Burnett.

As the Woods had not got close to the Rovers goal in the second-half, an equaliser seemed unlikely but they rallied and when a ball was chipped forward for Nicholas to chase, Forster made the mistake of not smothering the ball and the Northwood midfielder nicked it away from him before running on to knock it into the empty net. Once level, Northwood finished the game on top and had two close chances which would have snatched the win. After 88 minutes a good run and cross from Vassell saw Asamoah slide a shot just wide of the target. Then, just a minute later, Hastings broke through on goal and his effort also went wide with no-one there to add a finishing touch.

Both sides, who could also meet in the FA Trophy and will have to play twice more in the League this season, will go again in Tuesday night’s replay and the Woods will need to patch up their walking wounded once more.