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NORTHWOOD FC   Tuesday 19th August 2014   RUGBY TOWN FC

Southern League Division One Central

  Northwood 2  Rugby Town 0   

Lawrence 6, 68


Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Joe Mellings
2 James Duncan     2 Will Grocutt
3 Andy Lomas     3 Craig Kelly
4 Nick Turner     4 Mason Rowley
5 Mark Burgess     5 Alex Gudger
6 Jordan Lawal     6 Sam Youngs
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Lewis McBride
8 George Nicholas     8 James Jepson
9 Nana Asamoah (76m)     9 David Kolodynski
10 Dave Lawrence     10 Seb Lake Gaskin
11 Sam Byfield (87m)     11 Nathan Fox
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Mason Yorke     12 Kyle Bishop
14 Tommy Walsh     14 Lewis Bishop
15 Perry Dicker     15 James Weale
16 Javonne Molloy (76m)     16  
17 Omar Vassell (87m)     17  
      Referee: Chris Wicks; Assistants: Jack Ohene & Mark Roberts      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

The Woods will be hoping that their first victory of the season, over play-off hopefuls Rugby Town, will kick-start their campaign and see them begin to climb the table. Their opening two weeks were packed full of tough-looking matches and after just one point from three games, the three points were very welcome. Nana Asamoah made his first start of the season in place of young striker Jack Smith, who was given a rest while Sam Byfield was preferred to Omar Vassell on the left flank.

Northwood made a fine start to the match and took a confidence-boosting lead after just six minutes as Dave Lawrence latched onto a cut back from Joakim Ehui and found space to drive home from the edge of the box. Rugby, who have maintained the strike-pairing that plundered over 60 league goals between them last season and Seb Lake-Gaskin tried his luck with a good strike that saw goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin spring across goal to push the ball round a post.

The response continued and after a Sam Youngs drive crashed back off the crossbar, David Kolodynski was first to the rebound and he was fouled inside the box with the penalty given after a slight delay for advantage from which Rugby failed to take. It was Lake-Gaskin who was given the responsibility from the spot but he blasted his shot high into the trees behind the goal and the Woods remained in the lead.

Lawrence turned creator on 27 minutes as he made ground down the right and then sent over the perfect cross but though Byfield had made ground and looked certain to increase the lead it somehow eluded him.

It was a very open game with chances coming at both ends. Lake-Gaskin made a fine run down the right but knocked his intended cross to Kolodynski too long and then a long-range strike from Youngs was well-taken low down by Laurencin. A crisp strike from Kolodynski was then pushed wide by the in-form Woods ‘keeper. Rugby threatened again from a corner which was headed back across goal but Lake-Gaskin then saw his close-range header again plucked out of the air by Laurencin.

Then it was Northwood’s turn to go close as a well-worked corner saw Mark Burgess set up Asamoah for a powerful strike which crashed back off the crossbar. It led to a scramble in the box but George Nicholas managed to make room for another shot and that too found the bar and a third opportunity ended over the top.

After 39 minutes, Burgess put an intended back-pass to the keeper well short and Lake-Gaskin looked favourite to knock it past Laurencin as he got there first but again the Northwood stopper was equal to it and did just enough to force him wide and the chance was missed once again. The half ended with Byfield cutting in dangerously from the left and his near-post shot was well-saved by visiting goalkeeper Joe Mellings.

Lawrence latched onto a good ball from Byfield and then whipped in a neat cross after 50 minutes that no-one had gambled on reaching while Lake-Gaskin did get past James Duncan down the left but then touched the ball wide of the near-post. Six minutes later, Nicholas was played a ball out wide on the right and, spotting Mellings off his line, hit a dipping shot towards goal but he was unlucky again to see the ball hit the bar with the keeper nowhere.

The Woods had taken the initiative at this stage and Ehui had an effort blocked on the edge of the box before Byfield’s run and cut back found Nicholas who was on target this time with a slick shot but Mellings made a fine save. This period of dominance was then rewarded on 68 minutes when an excellent interchange between Ehui and Lawrence saw the latter let fly with a strike that arrowed into the top corner for his second of the game.

Javonne Molloy was introduced for the tiring Asamoah just at the time that the Referee showed three yellow cards in a three minute spell – the only ones of the game – as the visitors grew frustrated with their situation but it had the desired effect. Rugby’s final rally came after 82 minutes but Nick Turner made an excellent block to a Lake-Gaskin shot after a knock-down by Kolodynski and then Burgess did likewise to another effort from Youngs.

Lawrence had a chance of a hat-trick when he did well after receiving a ball from Ehui in the box but his effort hit the side-netting but the Woods had done enough and their first clean-sheet of the season kept a 2-0 victory.