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NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 9th April 2016   LEIGHTON TOWN FC

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Northwood 2  Leighton Town 4   

Stephenson 48, Hastings 76

Brown 8, 12, 30, Gallant 86

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Bradley Kirkwood
2 Alex Nolan     2 Matt Hewitt
3 Andy Lomas     3 Maxwell Ibeto
4 Mark Burgess ©     4 Ibrahim Kallon
5 James Budden     5 Jordan Jenkins
6 Georges Ehui (46m)     6 Andrew Fagan
7 Joakim Ehui (46m)     7 David Brown
8 Louis Stead     8 Joe Nyama
9 Niko Muir     9 James Hatch
10 Myles Stephenson     10 Ben Gallant ©
11 Martin Netzer (78m)     11 Lewis McBride
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Steve Brown     12 Alkali Darboe
14 Bayley Brown     14 Kerran Birch
15 Max Holland (46m)     15 Adam Moussi
16 Rob Hastings (46m)     16 Oscar Brooks
17 Jermaine Heron (78m)     17 Lorenzo Green
      Referee: Ray Wells; Assistants: Val Anekwe & Tom Fell      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




Any lingering hopes that the Woods had of still making it to the end of season play-off party virtually ended with this poor home defeat at the hands of Leighton Town who have given themselves realistic chances of avoiding a relegation spot. It was the second season running that a struggling Leighton side have banged in four goals at Chestnut Avenue, which must be fast becoming one of their favourite away venues of the season.

With George Nicholas joining James Burgess on the suspended list, Georges Ehui was given the chance to impress in central midfield while Mark Burgess replaced the injured skipper Steve Brown in defence. That defence was all at sea in the opening thirty minutes where the game was won for the visitors, taking the lead after only eight minutes when a mistake from Alex Nolan let in David Brown and flicked a neat finish past goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin.

Three minutes later Laurencin’s quick distribution was at fault as he gifted the ball to Brown outside the box and he steered his shot inside the post to double Leighton’s lead. The Woods tried to rally. Joakim Ehui won a free-kick on the edge of the box but Louis Stead played it straight at the defensive wall and then Martin Netzer, making his home debut, found Niko Muir after a good run but the Woods top scorer got no power in his shot straight at goalkeeper Bradley Kirkwood.

After 32 minutes a quick break released Brown again and he completed an excellent hat-trick to put Leighton a very much unexpected three goals to the good and the Woods had a mountain to climb. They did begin to make inroads. Myles Stephenson had a good strike palmed round the post by a diving Kirkwood, Muir shot wide and Joakim Ehui got something onto a long ball but not enough to test the ‘keeper. In fact Leighton still came closest to netting a fourth before the break as Lewis McBride robbed Nolan of the ball and was through on goal but Laurencin was out quickly and did well to block his effort.

Mark Burgess made half-time changes with Rob Hastings and Max Holland both introduced and the Woods made a blistering start to the second-half. Stephenson saw a shot come back off the crossbar and then Stead’s cut back was met by Hastings whose strike was deflected wide. Muir shot straight at Kirkwood but on 48 minutes Stephenson drilled a shot past the ‘keeper and the Woods were back in the game.

Northwood were unable to maintain the pace of that start but on 63 minutes a free-kick on the edge of the box dropped kindly to Burgess who was clearly tripped as he went to shoot but it went unsighted by the officials. As the Woods began to take more risks, Leighton were given a couple of chances but Laurencin held McBride’s free-kick and James Hatch steered a shot across goal and wide after Burgess had lost possession.

On 70 minutes Netzer got on the end of a Holland cross and set up Stephenson for s shot on the turn which was blocked and then Hastings volleyed over a loose ball after James Budden had headed down a free-kick. It was after 78 minutes that Hastings broke clear down the middle and lifted a shot over Kirkwood to reduce the arrears further so the Woods had twelve minutes plus stoppage-time to try and rescue a point.

But the best they got was Budden volleying over the top from a corner and after 85 minutes Leighton secured the points. McBride raced down the left, chased by substitute Jermaine Heron who clumsily made contact and gave away a penalty. Ben Gallant stepped up but Laurencin made an excellent save only for substitute Oscar Brooks to play the ball back across goal where Gallant knocked in a fourth. Claims of Brooks already being well in the area when the kick was taken and Gallant being offside were waved away and the game was done.