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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 27th September 2014   HANWELL TOWN FC

Southern League Division One Central

  Northwood 1  Hanwell Town 3   

Murray 68

Mills 15, 58,
Healey 82

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Alex Tokarczyk
2 Omar Vassell     2 Tom Kennedy
3 Andy Lomas     3 Kyle Watson
4 Mark Burgess     4 Anthony Rowlands
5 Perry Dicker     5 Oliver Duffy
6 Jordan Lawal     6 Chris Mills (68m)
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Connor Duffy
8 George Nicholas (3m)     8 Michael Buckley
9 Rob Hastings     9 Bill Healey
10 Nana Asamoah (62m)     10 Billy Adcock (79m)
11 Sam Byfield     11 Lewis Ochoa
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Tommy Walsh (3m)(62m)     12 Terry Smith (68m)
14 Michael Murray (62m)     14 Calum Duffy
15 Ismael Ehui (62m)     15 Harry Walker
16 James Duncan     16 Tom Inch (79m)
17 Nick Turner     17 Ricky Pither
      Referee: Sam Lewis; Assistants: John Wynne & Tom Colvin      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




The Woods failed to recover from losing midfield lynch-pin and top scorer George Nicholas to an early injury, producing their worst performance of the season to succumb to near-neighbours Hanwell Town. It was the first league meeting between the two sides for over twenty years and had the makings of a closely-fought battle with the visitors having made a very good start to life at the new level following a runaway promotion last season.

Manager Mark Burgess kept faith with an unchanged starting line-up following last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Daventry Town though defender Nick Turner was back on the bench after injury.

But the first twenty minutes was a disaster for Northwood. In just the third minute, Nicholas was scythed down from behind by Billy Adcock and picked up an ankle injury which required a stretcher plus a trip to Hospital. It was just a yellow card for the Hanwell midfielder and Tommy Walsh replaced Nicholas in the centre. The incident seemed to have a deflating effect on the side and after a period of pressure from Hanwell, they were gifted a fifteenth minute lead. Lewis Ochoa worked the ball across to former Woods midfielder Chris Mills who curled a hopeful shot towards the far post. Berkley Laurencin appeared to have it covered but misjudged it completely as he watched it bounce in off the post.

Five minutes later the Woods keeper almost had another shaky moment as Adcock tried his luck from distance. It appeared to lack power but Laurencin could only push at it and thankfully managed to divert the ball round the far post. Northwood had nothing to offer in return during the first half, passes went astray, attackers lost possession, strayed offside on several occasions and only a fairly solid defence stopped Hanwell from putting the game out of reach. The visitors still had one very good chance to add a third when Adcock helped on a long ball and Bill Healey was through on goal but Burgess put him under pressure and his shot was blocked by Laurencin for a corner.

No doubt there were a few choice words spoken at half-time but it made little immediate difference after the break. Laurencin came back to his brilliant best when saving in quick succession from Adcock and then Michael Buckley. He also kept out another effort from the busy Adcock but then, after 58 minutes, another attack from Adcock saw him taken down in the box by the Woods keeper and Mills tucked away his second of the match from the penalty-spot. The Woods had still not had a shot on target at this time, and it was time for change with Ismael Ehui replacing Nana Asamoah and Walsh being sacrificed for the introduction of Michael Murray on 62 minutes.

It did have a positive influence. Immediately Murray took a corner and Burgess’ header was well blocked by Oliver Duffy but after 67 minutes Murray latched onto a loose ball just outside the box and arrowed a shot into the bottom corner. It raised hopes and when Omar Vassell got forward and knocked in a dangerous cross, Hanwell would have been relived when Tom Kennedy cleared his lines for a corner. That came to nothing and neither did Northwood’s brief resurgence. A flurry of three yellow cards in three minutes – Burgess and Andy Lomas for the Woods plus one for Hanwell’s Kennedy – seemed to also curtail the increase in spirit.

It was Hanwell that finished strongly with their own substitutes making an impact. A good run and cross from Tom Inch picked out Terry Smith for a tap-in at the far post but Laurencin was there again to make a great save and deny him the third goal. But just three minutes later the visitors did get the killer goal as a near-post cross was neatly flicked in by Healey to wrap up the three points.

The Woods did go close to finding the net in the closing-stages as Vassell made inroads down the right and cut the ball back to Ismael Ehui but his goalbound strike was well blocked once again by Oliver Duffy.

Mark Burgess will be expecting a lot better things from his side next Saturday when the Woods play their first-ever competitive fixture on a 3G surface, facing the longest journey as well, away at Bedworth United. But with Nicholas joining Steve Brown on the long-term injury list, the squad is getting a little short in key areas, while Burgess will miss the game serving a one-match suspension.