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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 20th December 2014   KETTERING TOWN FC

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Northwood 3 Kettering Town 1

Hasting 9, 68, Muir 86

Ogbonna 22

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Richard Knight
2 Omar Vassell     2 James Clifton
3 Andy Lomas     3 Steve Kinniburgh
4 Mark Burgess     4 Tommy Hull
5 Nick Turner     5 Brett Solkhon
6 Perry Dicker     6 Jason Lee
7 Joakim Ehui (90m)     7 Claudiu Hoban
8 James Burgess     8 Andy Gooding
9 Niko Muir (88m)     9 Dubi Ogbonna¬†
10 Michael Murray (73m)     10 David Kolodynski
11 Rob Hastings     11 Andy Hall (81m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Will Hudson (90m)     12 Andrew Watts
14 Dave Lawrence (73m)     14 Jon Bukasa
15 Ismael Ehui (88m)     15 James Jepson
16 George Nicholas     16 Ashley Robinson (81m)
17 -     17 Nathan Marsh
      Referee: Michael Taylor; Assistants: Andy Connor & Steve Hawkes      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  


After five games without success, the Woods produced the shock result of the day with a clear-cut first-ever victory over league leaders Kettering Town thanks to a really determined performance by the whole team. Mark Burgess named another unchanged starting line-up, though with a slight tinkering to the formation, while Will Hudson and Ismael Ehui returned from injury and suspension respectively to strengthen a bench that has been lacking in numbers in recent weeks.

The visitors were without key striker Elliott Sandy, which meant a recall for Dubi Ogbonna who had hit a hat-trick against the Woods in the opening week of the season when the Poppies stormed to a 5-0 success. Much-travelled Romanian winger Claudiu Hoban also returned to the starting line-up after re-joining the club from Conference North side Oxford City.

Northwood made the ideal start as there were less than nine minutes on the clock when a quick break saw Michael Murray slip the perfect ball through and Rob Hastings came in from the right to leave the defence flat-footed and slip the ball past goalkeeper Richard Knight. It was no surprise that Kettering quickly set about trying to get back into the match quickly and recent acquisition from rivals Rugby Town David Kolodynski went for goal within a minute with an angled shot that clipped the top of the crossbar.

The pressure continued and when Mark Burgess and Nick Turner got in each other’s way on 17 minutes, it allowed the nippy Ogbonna a clear sight of goal but Berkley Laurencin was out quickly and managed to block his effort well. Two minutes later, Andy Gooding hit a hopeful cross which drifted across the face of goal and ended up not far wide of the far post and then Tommy Hull had an effort blocked with Kolodynski then swept the loose ball over the bar.

It seemed inevitable that the wave of attacks would get a result eventually and so it proved on 22 minutes. Kolodynski cleverly got the better of a tussle with Turner just inside the Northwood half and it meant the ball was flicked on for Ogbonna to run through, and this time he made no mistake by firing in the equaliser.

Just two minutes later, Andy Lomas picked up the first booking of the game as he clipped Kolodynski wide on the right, just outside the box but the free-kick came to nothing and then the Woods defence began to show that they beginning to get to grips with the opposition. After 36 minutes, Ogbonna burst into the box again and went down under a challenge from Turner but an offside flag from an assistant referee meant that any penalty decision was not required. However, the visiting striker reacted badly and ran several yards to clip Turner around the head. He was lucky to only see a yellow card produced while Turner received the same.

An excellent sweeping move led by Lomas saw him exchange a series of passes as he moved towards goal but eventually hit his volley wide of the post and will have been disappointed not to have hit the target. On 44 minutes Kettering were aggrieved again as Kolodynski went down easily in the box after a challenge from Burgess as the Referee pulled out a yellow for simulation.

And the Woods almost grabbed the lead again in the final stages of the half. Firstly Burgess stole in unmarked to a well-flighted cross but his flicked header came back off the crossbar and was cleared to safety. Then, Northwood were awarded a free-kick in Michael Murray territory and Knight had to dive across goal to push his effort round the post. It had been a pulsating, feisty half and Kettering’s bench both picked up misconduct charges for remarks made to the Referee after the half-time whistle.

Northwood will have been expected to have more defending to do after the break but though Kettering had more of the ball, their creative flair seemed to be lacking and the Woods defence was growing in confidence, superbly marshalled by Burgess. The Poppies did have the ball in the net again when Ogbonna fired home, but another offside flag had long since indicated it would be no goal.

After 66 minutes, the impressive Lomas got forward again down the left and his ball inside to Murray still found its target despite a deflection off the Referee. Murray went for goal but the ball flee wide. But two minutes later, the Woods were back in front, and a cracking solo goal it was too! Hastings picked the ball up on the halfway line, jinked past a couple of defenders and then hit a curling, dipping shot that found the far top corner despite Knight getting his fingers to it.

The expected onslaught from the Poppies never materialised and the goal seemed to deflate them to the extent that Laurencin was never required to do more than just collect a few aimless long balls. Then, on 86 minutes, Hastings attacked again down the right and even though his ball across to Muir was behind him, the Woods striker turned and saw his deflected shot beat Knight to make it 3-1.

A couple of late substitutions slowed things down a bit and then in stoppage-time, Northwood went close to adding a fourth as Knight made a good block at the near-post after a good run and shot from Omar Vassell.