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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 31st January 2015   DAVENTRY TOWN FC
   

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

   
  Northwood 2 Daventry Town 1
 
   

Scorers:
Turner 16, Asamoah 88

Scorer:
Howell 45+2

   
Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Ben Heath
2 Omar Vassell     2 Ashley Deeney
3 Andy Lomas     3 Ricky Hill (58m)
4 Nick Turner     4 Craig McKay
5 Steve Brown     5 Jamal Clarke
6 Dave Lawrence     6 Arron Parkinson
7 Nana Asamoah     7 Andrew Musungu
8 James Burgess (82m)     8 Ryan Howells
9 Niko Muir     9 James Tricks (75m)
10 Michael Murray     10 Miles Welch-Hayes (75m)
11 Rob Hastings (93m)     11 Anthony O'Connor
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Liam Baker (93m)     12 Harry Southern
14 Jordan Lawal (82m)     14 Harlan Barker (75m)
15 Joakim Ehui     15 James Weale (58m)
16 James Duncan     16 James Hancocks (75m)
17       17  
           
      Referee: Wayne Cartmel; Assistants: John Wynne & Jon Panconi      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  
     


Nana Asamoah went from villain to late hero with the winning strike on 88 minutes having missed a series of great opportunities to secure the points earlier in the game. The Woods attacker was making his first appearance in the starting line-up for three months and came in for Joakim Ehui, who was ruled out with illness on the day. Mark Burgess and Perry Dicker were both serving the final match of their respective suspensions so it was a reduced squad that took to the field with only two fit substitutes on the bench.

An overnight sprinkling of snow had melted away early morning but an hour or so of heavy rain left the pitch quite boggy in several areas but Referee Wayne Cartmel decided it was safe enough and the rain then thankfully held off as it dried throughout the game. Daventry Town have has a season of change and new Manager, the former Watford striker Allan Smart, has made many alterations to his side as he looks for a winning formula to revive the fortunes of the Northamptonshire club.

Both sides took a while to settle on the sticky surface, but it was the visitors Andrew Musungu, a former Chelsea and Stoke City trainee, who looked the most threatening in the early stages, with pacy runs down the right causing a few problems. But it came to nothing in front of goal and the best early chance came the way of the Woods on 12 minutes as Rob Hastings did well down the right and his cross was swept over the bar by Niko Muir. But just four minutes later Northwood were in front as Muir latched onto a good ball into the box and when goalkeeper Ben Heath failed to hold his shot, it was Nick Turner who reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.

Daventry responded well with Jamal Clarke heading on a long throw and Ryan Howell saw his close-range effort well blocked. The ball ran loose to skipper Ashley Deeney but his effort was claimed safely by Berkley Laurencin in goal. Both sides were trying hard to play good football despite the conditions and after 29 minutes a good ball from the hard-working Dave Lawrence put Asamoah through on goal for his first chance of the match but he poked his shot straight at Heath who gratefully held on.

Two minutes later Musungu did well again with a run and cross down the right which picked out Miles Welch-Hayes but Lawrence had tracked back and put in an excellent block tackle to deny him a shot on goal. The next time Musungu attacked he cut in and went for goal himself but Laurencin kept it out at the near post and the Woods goalkeeper continued to show a safe pair of hands as he saved a low shot from James Tricks on 42 minutes.

Northwood had two half-chances to extend their lead before the break. Firstly, Asamoah exchanged passes with Muir but then again shot straight at Heath with most of the goal to aim at. Then Lawrence got forward and also linked with Muir before firing a powerful effort that flashed just the wrong side of the post.
Into stoppage-time and it seemed that the Woods were going to have a narrow lead but the ball was lost in midfield and Musungu was able to run and pick out Howell in the box. He did well with an angled shot that flew across Laurencin and inside the far post where the ball found a previously unseen hole in the net. It looked a clear goal but the nearest assistant referee seemed certain that the ball had gone wide of the post and gave a goal-kick but after much deliberation from the officials, the goal was correctly given and the scores were level at the break.

It should have given the visitors plenty of hope for the second half, but apart from an early Howell long-range effort that flew over the bar, they hardly got a look in as the Woods dominated. An error from Heath presented Asamoah with his next opportunity but as he looked for room to shoot, Deeney did well to get in a tackle to save the day. Asamoah turned supplier next, setting up Hastings for a shot which lacked the power to beat Heath and the keeper held on comfortably.

After 57 minutes, the tireless Muir slipped an excellent ball through a square defence, which allowed Michael Murray a sight of goal and his crisp strike needed a good diving save from Heath, who pushed the ball round the post. Murray was then brought down in a good position for a free-kick on 65 minutes but it was a rare disappointment from the set-piece as the ball sailed up and kept rising. Northwood continued to threaten and Muir robbed a defender out wide before crossing to Asamoah who looked likely to score but saw his strike blocked by Welch-Hayes, and then a deep cross from Hastings was only just too long for Murray, who almost hooked it back goalwards.

The crucial goal was still proving elusive, though, and after 73 minutes Steve Brown headed a free-kick back across goal where Asamoah stole in, but again his effort was blocked by some desperate defending. Two minutes later Murray’s neat pass put Asamoah in one-on-one again with Heath but this time he sliced his shot well wide.

It continued to be the Asamoah show as time ticked on. A great run from Andy Lomas saw substitute James Hancocks fail to clear his cross and it fell again towards Asamoah but despite twisting and turning, he was crowded out without a shot. But he did get one on target on 81 minutes with a good shot on the turn but this time Heath was across to it and touched the ball wide. Muir had a similar effort blocked three minutes later and, with time running out, a rare attack from Daventry saw substitute Harlan Basker attack and send a ball across the face of goal that flashed wide of the far post.

But the goal appeared to have finally arrived on 87 minutes as Muir attacked and squared a fine ball across to Asamoah who beat Heath but not Hancocks who cleared his shot off the line. Frustrations were there for all to see but the Woods kept going and a minute later, another chance fell to Asamoah and though his first shot was pushed away by Heath, he was first to the loose ball and then hit an excellent shot across the keeper and inside the far post.

Daventry had one late chance to salvage a point with a Deeney free-kick from wide on the left but Laurencin safely tipped the ball over the bar and then claimed the corner to ensure all three points stayed at home.

It was the Woods ninth home league win of the season and after just one defeat in nine games, they have risen to joint eighth place, their highest position of the campaign. With a third of the league season to go, they need to improve their away record, though, with just two wins on their travels – one of them at new leader Bedworth United – and next Saturday they make the short trip to play-off seeking Hanwell Town. It should be a cracker!