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Saturday 15th April 1972

What a fizzer! Billed as the Match of the Year, this Middlesex League Premier Division decider at Hayes Stadium on Saturday night went completely flat after the interval, writes Peter Bidwell.

Two superlative goals by Yeading in the first 34 minutes and Northwood’s lucky reply a minute later appeared to have provided the ingredients for a memorable second half.
it never eventuated. Playing into the wind, Yeading seemed content to sit back on their one-goal lead, and against a very solid defence Northwood’s attacks largely floundered.

The result, certainly affected to some extent by the stiff breeze, was a muddled midfield battle that must have been very frustrating for all but the highly vocal Yeading supporters.

The match meant everything to Northwood, who needed to win to keep their title-winning prospects alive. Instead, this deserved victory for Yeading now makes them virtually certain of winning the championship in their first year in the league.

After Saturday they were two points behind Northwood, but with four games in hand and well clear of the others.

Yeading quickly emerged as the main aggressor. In the fifth minute Glen Campbell, brought into the team as a replacement for the injured striker Sid Frape shot wide at an open goal. Frape was out with a bruised leg.

Then three minutes later, Dave Burt missed a sitter. However, all was forgotten with the magnificence of Norman Frape’s goal from 30 yards after 25 minutes. Against the wind the Northwood keeper Ray Byrne failed to get any length with a clearance. The ever eager Frape seized his opportunity and volleyed home a great shot.

Yeading continued to hold the initiative and it was no surprise when they went further  ahead in the 34th minute. Steve Barnes sprinted down the right flank before firing a great cross to Roger Hawes, whose volley completed a splendid move.

A bad clearance by goalkeeper Burksfield allowed Northwood back into the match a minute later. From the restart Burksfield's clearance hit one of his own team-mates on the back, and Barry Wanless swooped in on the loose ball to score before  most of the Yeading players realised what had happened.

The match became pretty tense for a while before the interval and Frape and Byrne were fortunate not to receive a booking when they exchanged blows after Frape had charged down a Byrne clearance.

Not even the spirited choruses of the Yeading supporters could inject much enthusiasm into the second spell.

Territorially, Northwood enjoyed a handsome advantage, but it counted for little, because apart from a free-kick which went just over the crossbar from 35 yards in the 73rd minute, they rarely looked dangerous.

Northwood: R. Byrne, G. Harding, D. Dibbens, B. Gould, J. Myers, W. Burt, S. Pearce, B. Wanless, I. Harvey, S. Senior, P. Coburn. Sub. B. Taylor.