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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 18th October 2014   WALTHAM ABBEY FC

FA Trophy Preliminary Round

  Northwood 3  Waltham Abbey 1   

Hastings 45, I Ehui 45+2,
Murray 68

Docker 61

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Ronnie Yates
2 Omar Vassell     2 Matt Bedford
3 Andy Lomas     3 Tom Spillane
4 Nick Turner     4 Matt Attard
5 Mark Burgess     5 Darren Williams
6 Jordan Lawal     6 Jack Daveney
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Ben Hart
8 Nana Asamoah (72m)     8 Tom Bruno
9 Michael Murray (81m)     9 Harry Elmes
10 Ismael Ehui     10 Jon Docker
11 Rob Hastings     11 Joe Kizzi (79m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Alex Nolan     12 Ryan Kirby
14 Tommy Walsh     14 Stef Szwarski
15 Perry Dicker (72m)     15 James Peagram
16 James Duncan     16 Miguel Lopez (79m)
17 Dave Lawrence (81m)     17 Jason Hallett
      Referee: Dele Sotimirin; Assistants: Thomas Bishop & Scott Williams      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods notched their first FA Trophy success for five years as two quick goals on the stroke of half-time gave them the advantage against Ryman North side Waltham Abbey. Eight Trophy games and five defeats had followed since a third qualifying round victory over Basingstoke Town back in 2009 so it was good to finally get a win in the competition and of course the sponsorship winnings that comes with victory in an FA game.

Manager Mark Burgess restored himself to the starting line-up at the expense of Perry Dicker while Jordan Lawal and Michael Murray also returned. Rob Hastings kept his place in the absence of injured Sam Byfield but took up a place on the right flank. Waltham Abbey were without former Canvey Island and Concord Rangers striker Jason Hallett and midfielder James Elmes and had seen their long run in the FA Cup come to an end the previous weekend at Harrow Borough.

Referee Dele Sotimirin was forced into a yellow card just thirty seconds into the game when Jack Davaney made a rash challenge but it was still the visitors who made the better start to the tie. A cross from Joe Kizzi picked out Harry Elmes, who had a flicked header at the near post but the ball flashed across goal and wide of the far post. Just a minute later, some good work from Ben Hart on the opposite wing led to a free header for Kizzi but he nodded it wide of the far post.

There was a brief respite for the Woods as Hastings made inroads down the right and knocked in a good ball that fell to Joakim Ehui but his shot was too direct at goalkeeper Ronnie Yates who held it comfortably. It didn’t stop the Abbey from continuing to press, with Berkley Laurencin saving from Kizzi soon after and then Elmes chipping a cross that ran out without the required touch. After 22 minutes, a well-flighted free-kick from Tom Bruno saw Matt Attard just get his head to the ball at the far post but he was stretching and it flew over the bar.

Yet it was Northwood who went closest to scoring three minutes later as Hastings’ ball across saw Michael Murray work enough space to hit a drive that was bound for the top corner until Yates got across to push the ball away. The visitors failed to clear and Ismael Ehui went for goal with Yates again forced into a save. Waltham Abbey rallied again with Kizzi bringing Laurencin into action again but he saved that one easily and then also kept out a much better chance from Daveney after the midfielder burst through the centre.

The game seemed to heading for a goalless first half, but in the last minute of normal time, Laurencin knocked a ball wide to Hastings on the right. He showed a great turn of pace and a bit of tricky footwork that got him past his marker, into the box and he finished with a fine strike across the keeper. It was an ideal time to score but it got even better less than two minutes later as the visitors defence were caught square by a simple through-ball and Ismael Ehui raced through to chip on the oncoming ‘keeper for a second goal.

The Woods started the second -half brightly and a good run by Asamoah saw him skip past two defenders before playing Hastings in from wide but his strike was tipped over the bar by Yates. Five minutes later, a similar move and a ball from Murray put Hastings in more direct but the result was the same with the keeper again pushing it over but he also picked up a knock from a late challenge from behind, which was missed by the officials.

Waltham Abbey were not creating as much since the break but after 61 minutes, Asamoah was penalised for handball as he went to clear and was cautioned for delaying the restart. That was to no avail though as John Docker stepped up to take the free-kick and rifled a shot into the top corner to reduce the arrears.

Back came Northwood with Omar Vassell knocking in a good cross and Ismael Ehui doing well to set up his brother Joakim but he fired over from a good position. Another Docker free-kick conceded almost caused a panic in the Woods defence as Hart helped the ball on but Attard headed wide again.

And the Woods made the Abbey pay on 69 minutes as they were awarded a free-kick of their own in a central position and Murray put recent failures behind him to beat Yates with a strike to rival Docker’s earlier success. It was almost a fourth goal three minutes later as a sustained attack eventually saw Murray centre and Ismael Ehui met it with what would have been a clever flick had it gone in but in fact the ball looped up from six yards and Yates was across to gather it safely.

On 80 minutes, the Northwood defence looked in vain for an offside flag as Elmes raced through on goal but they were able to rely on Laurencin who spread himself well and made a great save one-on-one. There was still work to be done as the ball ran loose but Vassell was on hand to clear the loose ball.

That probably signalled the end of Waltham Abbey’s hopes of forcing extra-time and Ismael Ehui went close to wrapping it up with a good strike that went just wide on 88 minutes but in fact substitute James Peagram should have scored a minute later when he hit the post from close-range.

In stoppage-time, another substitute, Dave Lawrence broke through the Abbey defence with just the keeper to beat and he appeared to be clipped as he went past him and came down but both quickly recovered without a decision from the Referee. By the time, Lawrence had set up Joakim Ehui for a shot on goal, Yates was also repositioned to save well. But Northwood had done enough and could celebrate a 3-1 win that now earns them a home tie against Guernsey in the first qualifying round in two weeks’ time.