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POTTERS BAR FC   Saturday 27th December 2014   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Potters Bar 1  Northwood 3  

Brown 78

Dicker 24, Murray 34
Muir 53

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Mike Underwood     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Laurence Rispoli     2 Steve Brown (63m)
3 Sonny Feltwell (35m)     3 Andy Lomas
4 Jack Friend     4 Mark Burgess
5 Leigh Wooldridge     5 Nick Turner
6 Chris Doyle     6 Perry Dicker (77m)
7 Alex Shepherd     7 Omar Vassell
8 Joe Bennett     8 James Burgess
9 Josh Hutchinson     9 Niko Muir
10 James Ewington     10 Michael Murray (70m)
11 Cole Penny (69m)     11 Rob Hastings
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Mark Brown (69m)     12 Will Hudson (77m)
14 Frankie Lane (78m)     14 George Nicholas (63m)
15 Tyler Hatherly(35m)(78m)     15 Liam Baker
16 -     16 Dave Lawrence (70m)
17 -     17 -
      Referee: Dave Bushell; Assistants: Chris McGovern & John Sandlin      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




Northwood completed their first “double” of the season with this comfortable holiday victory at Potters Bar, notching only their second away win the league this season.  With the Ehui brothers both missing, it meant a call-up for last season’s Player of the Year Steve Brown, who filled in at right-back in his first appearance since picking up an ankle ligament injury in the very first week of the season. Omar Vassell pushed forward into a more attacking role on the left of midfield in an otherwise unchanged side from that which had beaten leaders Kettering Town a week earlier.

The Scholars were without a couple of key players, missing Matt Clifford in defence and Ben Bowditch in midfield and following a poor run which has seen them win just once in the League since mid-October they were looking to get back to form.

However, the Woods were in no mood to allow them to settle early on a heavy surface with Niko Muir going for goal within ten seconds of the start but the ball flew over the bar. There was still less than a minute on the clock when Michel Murray found Rob Hastings on the right and his cut back to Muir brought goalkeeper Mike Underwood into his first action, saving low down.

Three minutes later the influential Murray knocked another excellent ball inside to Hastings but the Woods attacker, who had netted twice against Kettering, poked a first-time shot well wide of the target.

Potters Bar recorded their first effort on goal when the ball was worked across the pitch and Chris Doyle tried his luck from distance but that was miles wide but it allowed the home side to settle a little. Ten minutes later, an attempted channel ball was unintentionally flicked on by Andy Lomas, keeping top scorer Josh Hutchinson onside as he went through but he went for an early shot that crept over the bar.

Northwood were still looking the more dangerous and they took the lead after 24 minutes. Muir played a defence-splitting pass which again allowed the pacy Hastings a run at goal from the right. He squared the ball to Perry Dicker who had burst from midfield and although his effort was blocked by a defender on each side of him, he reacted quickest to reach the loose ball and turned to fire into the top corner and put the Woods ahead.

Three minutes later, Potters Bar had to defend well to block a header from a corner and then also Dicker’s effort from the rebound while Vassell skewed his shot well wide. On the half-hour Vassell made good progress from the left to get into a shooting positon but missed his chance and although Lomas followed through, Underwood saved comfortably at the near post.

But the Woods were not to be denied for long and after 34 minutes Lomas played a free-kick towards the near post, where Murray met it with a skilful strike that made it 2-0. The Scholars had been outplayed and made a change with Tyler Hatherly replacing Sonny Feltwell at left-back and this steadied things a little with no more goalmouth action before the half-time whistle.

Two minutes after the restart, the home side had a great chance to get themselves back in the game as Joe Bennett did well on the right before knocking in a far post cross which picked out Hutchinson but he steered his header wide of the post. It was to prove a costly miss as on 53 minutes Muir played another neat ball wide to Hastings and after he raced past Hatherly, he returned the pass to Muir who squeezed in between two defenders to poke a first-time shot past the wrong-footed Underwood adding the third goal; his fourth in five matches since returning to the club.

Hutchinson was captain for the day but having a bad time in front of goal as shown by his next effort, slicing a shot well wide and then Doyle slotted wide from 20 yards as the Scholars tried to rally. Underwood saved well from Muir on 62 minutes before Brown, who had performed well in his first start in over four months was replaced by another player making a return in George Nicholas; his first action since the last game in September.

Just four minutes Muir found Hastings who left Leigh Wooldridge flailing and his near post shot was pushed wide by Underwood. From Murray’s corner, Nick Turner’s volley was cleared off the line by Laurence Rispoli and then the home keeper made another good stop to deny Muir after another ball from Hastings. Dave Lawrence replaced the impressive Murray for the final twenty minutes and he was played in down the right by Hastings to put in the perfect cross for Nicholas but the Woods midfielder chance of a triumphant return was denied by Underwood who pushed his close-range shot wide.

Berkley Laurencin had been allowed a quiet game up until now, but after he was forced into saving low down from Alex Shepherd, he could do nothing to prevent the Scholars from puling a goal back on 78 minutes. A forward ball from Hatherly had the Woods defence appealing in vain for offside as Shepherd ran through and his pass allowed substitute Mark Brown to convert easily.

It raised the spirits of the home side and Hutchinson had a low shot flash not far wide of the post before Laurencin saved comfortably from Rispoli and substitute Frankie Lane had a deflected effort fly wide. Nicholas had another great opportunity to score on his return when a quick break saw Muir run and cross to the far post but his shot climbed up and over the bar.

It was back-to-back wins for the Woods and Mark Burgess would have been delighted by the return to the squad of both Brown and Nicholas who will certainly boost the squad ahead of next week’s run of three home matches in six days, starting with the derby match against North Greenford United on New Years’ Day.