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LEIGHTON TOWN FC   Saturday 9th August 2014   NORTHWOOD FC

Southern League Central Division

  Leighton Town 1  Northwood 1  

Scorer: Watson 50

Turner 8

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Dan Child     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Mark Bunker     2 Alex Nolan
3 Alvin Rajaram     3 Mason Yorke
4 Chris Crook     4 Nick Turner
5 David Murphy     5 Steve Brown
6 Paul Lyon (68m)     6 George Nicholas
7 Aaron Morgan     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Jamie Nicholls (87m)     8 Jordan Lawal
9 Tyrone Taylor     9 Javonne Molloy (51m)
10 Danny Watson     10 Dave Lawrence
11 Phil Draycott     11 Omar Vassell (82m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Stephen Kemongoa (87m)     12 James Duncan
14 Jerry Lyons     14 Andy Lomas
15 Danny Mullins     15 Tommy Walsh
16 Kyle Durcan     16 Jack Smith (51m)
17 Christian Lester (68m)     17 Sam Byfield (82m)
      Referee: Shaun Barry; Assistants: Bob Trinder & Ian Stewart      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  


The Woods had to settle for just the one point from their opening-day fixture away at Bell Close against a new-look Leighton Town side that had recruited virtually a whole new side from Spartan South Midlands side Ampthill Town. Northwood had six players making their League debuts for the club in the starting line-up plus two others that came on as substitutes, so it was pretty much a new team for both clubs. Manager Mark Burgess was unavailable so James Duncan took charge of the side on the day.

It was the home side that started strongly, with Phil Draycott seeing a long-range effort comfortably saved by Berkley Laurencin in goal before the same player skied another strike, while also had a free-kick that flashed the wrong side of the post. Yet, it was the Woods who took a eighth minute lead when Dave Lawrence knocked in a well-worked corner and debut centre-back Nick Turner found plenty of room to slot home at the near-post.

Mark Bunker curled a ball towards goal that Laurencin had to push over to be sure of safety and after a spell of even play, Leighton went close to equalising on 22 minutes. It was a long-ball from Bunker that found Danny Watson out wide and Aaron Morgan turned his way past Turner in the box only to see his effort saved at close-range by the Woods goalkeeper.

Two minutes later Alex Nolan knocked in an excellent curling cross which picked out Javonne Molloy but the Woods’ debut striker could only float a header over the bar. This sparked Northwood’s best spell, with Joakim Ehui seeing a good shot saved and then Lawrence having his accurate free-kick topped over by goalkeeper Dan Child. After 40 minutes Lawrence threaded a good ball through to George Nicholas, whose shot was deflected to take the power off and Child collected easily.

Just two minutes into the second half, a ball from the right saw Molloy cleverly dummy and allow Nicholas to come in behind him with a powerful strike that only just missed the target but soon after this, Leighton were back on level terms.

Watson had just chipped an effort over the top and from Northwood’s next attack, the ball was lost and the home side countered quickly. Drayton made the decisive run, taking out two defenders as he raced towards goal from the left and he then squared the ball for Watson to fire home the equaliser.

The Woods made an immediate change, with recent signing Jack Smith replacing Molloy up front and the game got a little feisty with Bunker booked for Leighton soon after another set of foul tackles had caused the Referee to speak to the respective captains. Thankfully this calmed things down a little and the next action was to see Laurencin again save comfortably from a Draycott free-kick.

To their credit, the home side were very accurate with their shooting from distance and the Woods keeper was kept busy to keep out strikes from Draycott once again while Ehui had a header that failed to find the target at the other end. Substitute Christian Lester drove a shot high but just wide of the far post and on 82 minutes a real chance for Draycott was blocked by a combination of the diving Laurencin and Nolan.

Having kept that out, Smith then had his opportunity to score on his debut as he beat his marker and got in a shot but Child managed to keep it out at the near post and push it wide of the post. Both sides were still going for the win and both went close to getting it. Lester had a low shot saved by Laurencin before Draycott played in Watson but he was crowded out by some excellent defending.

The ball broke upfield, and Lawrence was put through on goal with a chance to grab all three points but Child spread himself well and just managed to block his goalbound shot with an extended foot to earn his side a deserved draw.

The Woods’ tough start to the season continues on Tuesday night with a visit to title-favourites Kettering Town before two consecutive home games against two other fancied clubs in Royston Town and Rugby Town.