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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 6th September 2014   MARLOW FC

Southern League Division One Central

  Northwood 3  Marlow 0   

Murray 33, Nicholas 42,
Asamoah 80


Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Danny McNicholas     1 Simon Grant
2 Alex Nolan     2 Chris Ovenden
3 Andy Lomas (88m)     3 Tom Baddeley
4 Nick Turner     4 Kurtney Brooks
5 Perry Dicker     5 Adam Richards (46m)
6 Jordan Lawal     6 Dan Bailey
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Devontae Romeo
8 George Nicholas     8 Marcus Mealing (57m)
9 Rob Hastings     9 Lee Barney (79m)
10 Michael Murray (77m)     10 Jordan Holder-Spooner
11 Omar Vassell     11 Jake Simpson
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Mark Burgess     12 Paul Massaquoi (46m)
14 James Duncan     14 Richie Whittingham
15 Tommy Walsh     15 Corey King (57m)
16 Nana Asamoah (77m)     16 Liam Ferdinand (79m)
17 Mason Yorke (88m)     17 Oneal Garnes
      Referee: Oli Dolton; Assistants: Darren Fenner & Newton Gordon      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods climbed into the top half of the table for the first time this season with this solid victory over a sluggish Marlow side who failed to recover from their FA Cup exit the previous week.

Goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin rested the leg injury he had been carrying for the past week so in came youngster Danny McNicholas for his first appearance of the season, while Omar Vassell was restored to the starting line-up alongside recent signing Rob Hastings, to replace injured pair Dave Lawrence and Sam Byfield. Alex Nolan and Perry Dicker also continued in defence in the absence of James Duncan, Mark Burgess and Steve Brown, who remains side-lined with his ankle problems.

Marlow had smashed seven goals past the Woods on their last visit to Northwood Park back in April with striker Jon Bennett having netted four times, so it was a boost to know that he was also ruled out with injury for the Blues.

There was a slow start to game with both sides failing to create much in front of goal. Marcus Mealing fired wide from distance for the visitors while Northwood did have the ball in the net when Nick Turner turned in a corner but a whistle ruled it out for a foul on goalkeeper Simon Grant. After 17 minutes, an attempted clearance from Jordan Lawal hit an opponent and rebounded to Lee Barney, who hit a quick first-time shot but it flashed the wrong side of the post.

But the Woods gradually managed to start to control things and Hastings’ cross saw Dan Bailey slice an attempted clearance not far wide of his own post for a corner. From that, Michael Murray knocked the ball long, Turner headed it back across and George Nicholas perhaps should have scored but only managed to head just over the bar. Yet, Northwood didn’t have to wait much longer for the opening goal as a ball from the right saw Hastings have an effort blocked but the rebound fell to Murray who had plenty of time to stroke home his first goal of the season.

McNicholas had to be alert to keep out a header from Barney after the lively striker got his head to a Chris Ovenden cross and another curling effort from Mealing wasn’t far wide but the Woods countered well with a second goal before the break. Joakim Ehui had just skied one effort on goal when an excellent through-ball put Nicholas in on the right and he rifled a shot across Grant to make it 2-0.

The visitors made a couple of early changes in the second half as they looked to turn things around, but in fact Northwood dominated proceedings. Ehui had another strike well over before a well-flighted free-kick from Andy Lomas saw Turner flick a header wide of the post. Vassell was close to heading in a Murray free-kick but was denied by some good defending, while some impressive skills from Hastings led to a volley that Grant did well to anticipate and make a fine save from.

McNicholas made a confidence-building low save to deny Barney, but ultimately it was still Northwood who looked more likely to add to scoring, and after 80 minutes a free-kick saw Ehui pull the ball back for substitute Nana Asamoah to squeeze a shot just inside the post.

Hastings continued to look for a goal on his starting debut he and went close with a fierce drive in stoppage-time but it flew just wide, and it was Marlow who recorded the last effort on goal as substitute Corey King got in from the left and hit a near-post shot that McNicholas had to turn wide. The youngster can be pleased with his clean-sheet and the Woods will take new confidence into their midweek trip to Egham Town.