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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 1st November 2014   GUERNSEY FC

FA Challenge Trophy First Qualifying Round

  Northwood 2 Guernsey 2
After extra time: Northwood win 5-3 on penalties

I Ehui 34, Dicker 113

McGrath 38, Heaume 103

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Chris Tardif
2 Omar Vassell     2 Jacques Isabelle
3 Andy Lomas     3 Tom Martin
4 Nick Turner     4 Sam Cochrane
5 Mark Burgess     5 Jamie Dodd
6 Jordan Lawal (112m)     6 Kieran Mahon
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Alex Le Prevost (89m)
8 Will Hudson (103m)     8 Ryan Zico-Black (87m)
9 Michael Murray     9 Dominic Heaume (84m)
10 Ismael Ehui     10 Marc McGrath
11 Sam Byfield (76m)     11 Angus Mackay
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Alex Nolan     12 Danny Hale (87m)
14 Perry Dicker (112m)     14 Liam Mahon (84m)
15 Nana Asamoah (103m)     15 Luke Winch (89m)
16 James Duncan     16 -
17 Rob Hastings (76m)     17 -
      Referee: Ernie Moore; Assistants: Lior Koskas & A Demetriades      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  

A terrific all-round team performance saw the Woods through to the next round of the FA Trophy at the expense of Guernsey who lost out in their first-ever penalty shoot-out. The squad returned to pretty much full-strength, with midfielder Will Hudson given a starting debut after his run-out as a substitute in midweek. Guernsey, as has been the case for most of the season, were without ace striker Ross Allen so had three changes from the starting line-up that had beaten Barton Rovers 4-0 in the last round.

The visitors looked bright from the start, showing plenty of early ambition but it was Northwood who recorded the first efforts on goal with veteran ex-Maidenhead United goalkeeper Chris Tardif doing well to snuff out a Sam Byfield cross after Ismael Ehui had played the winger in down the left. Then, a well-flighted Michael Murray free-kick saw Mark Burgess only a foot short of getting a touch.

It was recent recruit Ismael Ehui who was causing the most problems for Guernsey in the early stages but his radar was not quite on track when he fired well over after 13 minutes and three minutes later another effort was deflected wide for a corner. From that, Joakim Ehui put in a cross to the far post and Ismael Ehui volleyed well wide.

At this stage Guernsey had not used their possession well, but after 19 minutes they were almost in front as Marc McGrath combined well with Dominic Heaume to get in on goal and hit a low shot that Berkley Laurencin kept out with a swift dive to his left and a strong hand that pushed the ball wide.

Ryan Zico-Black then had two quick efforts within a minute, first taking a through-ball in his stride but shooting wide and then seeing a long-range effort saved comfortably by Laurencin. But the Woods took the lead after 34 minutes with a goal out of nothing as Ismael Ehui latched onto a simple pass and then turned on a sixpence to fire home at the far post.

Then, just as suddenly, Guernsey hit back with an equaliser four minutes later as they made one of the chief weapons pay when a long-throw was headed on by Heaume and Jacques Isabelle set up McGrath to fire in off a post to make it 1-1. The Woods looked to regain the lead before the break and good work from Byfield resulted in a cross to the far post and Ismael Ehui attempted an audacious bicycle kick that would have been a spectacular goal had it not climbed just too high.

And Northwood almost grabbed a second on the strike of half-time when Murray shocked goalkeeper Tardif by blocking an attempted pass with the ball cannoning across the face of the goal but staying out.

The game continued at a great pace in the second half and Byfield beat two defenders before flashing another ball across the face of goal but no-one got a touch and then Andy Lomas played a fine ball through for Ismael Ehui but his first touch was just too strong and Tardif was out to thwart the danger.

Joakim Ehui was becoming more influential against a tiring Tom Martin at left-back. One good run saw him cut the ball across to Hudson who was unable to get a shot off and then a second had him cutting in and going for goal himself but Tardif plucked the ball high from the air. The Woods wide player did even better on 66 minutes, beating two men but only finding space to stab a left-foot shot goalwards and the ball flew over the top.

Guernsey were given a brief respite a minute later when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box but Zico-Black’s attempt hit the wall and although he got a shot in from the rebound, it was at Laurencin and taken well. Northwood still looked the most likely to take the lead and an excellent tackle from the tireless Jordan Lawal released Byfield for another forward move. He slipped the ball on to Ismael Ehui and he hit a powerful shot but again Tardif was behind it. But the Green Lions were still battling and on 72 minutes another free-kick was played in by Alex Le Prevost and Heaume flicked a free header wide of the goal.

Rob Hastings replaced Byfield for some fresh legs and the Woods continued to attack down the flanks. Ismael Ehui fired wide but on 81 minutes must have thought he had netted his second when meeting a superb Omar Vassell cross with a diving header which Tardif did superbly well to keep out at his near post. There were another couple of half-hearted attempts as extra-time loomed but Ismael Ehui again shot over from a corner and, at the other end, McGrath’s attempt from distance was always curling the wrong way and wide of the far post.

Guernsey clearly enjoyed the short rest before the extra period kicked-in as they looked a lot fresher with substitute Luke Winch, who had netted twice against Barton Rovers, seeing two efforts saved by Laurencin. Then, after 103 minutes, the Woods suddenly found themselves outnumbered at the back, a couple of swift passes allowed Heaume a clear sight of goal and he fired home to put the visitors in front for the first time.

Northwood were able to bring on Nana Asamoah for the tiring Hudson just before the start of the second period of extra-time and he added more attacking options with one strike that flew into the side-netting, but it was the introduction of Perry Dicker for Lawal that had an instant effect. Within a minute, Asamoah played a quick ball through the middle and it was Dicker that raced through with a cool head to knock in his first-ever Northwood goal with his first touch.

Time was running out fast but Laurencin made a superb save to keep out a flashing strike from Winch while Murray’s strike from distance flashed only just over. The final whistle meant it would be penalties and the Woods fans probably expected the worst as their record from the spot hadn’t been the best in recent times. The last successful penalty shoot-out was when winning the Middlesex Senior Cup Final against Hayes way back in April 2007 with three more recent attempts all ending in defeat – all of them against Ashford Town (Middlesex).

But this was a determined Northwood side and Asamoah led the way by scoring the opening kick. McGrath levelled things for the Green Lions and the successes continued with Ismael Ehui and Joakim Ehui both scoring either side of a strike from Le Prevost. But it was the sixth penalty, fired over the bar by Winch, which gave the Woods the edge. Burgess then took responsibility to fire in the fourth and even though Heaume netted for Guernsey, it was Murray who kept his nerve to make it five out of five for Northwood and win the tie.