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Ashford Town U18 0  Northwood U18 3 

Wednesday 21st October 2015

 

NORTHWOOD UNDER 18 Ryman Youth League
 
 
   
Team line-up

 

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There were excellent Northwood debuts in this game for Rowland Smith and Dylan Noble, whilst Matt Parsons made only his second appearance, and his first start of the season, out of position at left back, with Will Holland available again after a month away with his college team, after a good run in the FA Cup. Louis Moriarty was also back and available, and Issouf Coulibaly also made his Northwood debut, as a sub on 70 minutes. All added the much needed quality and strength that was missing in the previous couple of games.

Northwood made a very good start, Will, Myles and Jack McDonnell winning good possession in the centre of the pitch, creating early opportunities for both Michael Brown and Freddie Buckley. The all round quality of passing, movement, composure and possession was far better than seen previously, with a real zip and pace about the team. If there is a criticism to be levelled, it was that Woods held onto the ball far too long at times. The defence, playing together for the first time this season, were strong and confident with Myles and Will in front, giving the team the platform to go on and play, which they did. Jack McDonnell was superb in the space they created for him. One of the best moves of the game saw Rowland Smith chip the ball up to Louis Moriarty, who chested the ball and then back heeled to meet the run of Rowland, Jack’s run off the ball took away defenders and Rowland, who then beat two players was just about to shoot when he got caught from behind on 20 minutes; it was superb football!

The Woods opened the scoring from the resulting free kick which was initially headed goalbound by Michael Brown, Aiden Bishop made a good save in the Ashford Town goal, pushing the ball back out, only for it to find the head of Charlie Carroll who followed in, and headed home from 8 yards. Northwood created good scoring opportunities and with better finishing, could well have increased their lead.

It was Ashford who went the closest in the last 20 minutes of the half, when a superb ball over to Mason Roseboom on the left, his mazy run cut across the Northwood defence, but his shot was just wide of the post. Apart from that opportunity the Northwood defence were solid, dealing with the pace and danger of Isaac Mdlani and the skilful Harry Herdman. Woods competed extremely well against a well organised Ashford team.

At half-time we pushed home the message in the changing room that there was not much in the game and that the maximum effort was required, as one goal either way could decide the eventual outcome. Woods needed to release the ball faster, possession had to be far better and they needed to be more clinical in front of goal. Several other tactical messages were relayed…

Within 4 minutes of the restart Jack found Louis on the right whose one touch pass met the run of the hard working Freddie Buckley, who cut wide, and his low driven cross aimed at Michael Brown, but was met by an Ashford defender, who deflected into his own net: it was exactly the start Northwood needed.

Ashford worked extremely hard to get back into the game, and after a good through ball found Isaac Mdlani, Charlie Carroll matched the run and forced the ball out for a corner. Dylan Noble was first to the ball from two consecutive corner, and from the third corner Ilia Perovic beat Charlie Carroll but only headed over the bar. Northwood were dangerous on the break, and after Will Holland fed Jack McDonnell, his run and pass found Michael Brown, whose clever turn beat his defender, dummied the second, and calmly and confidentally tucked the ball into the far corner, 3-0 on 56 minutes.

Northwood made their first change, bringing on Jamie Roche for Louis Moriarty on 62 minutes, then Ben Spires replaced Rowland Smith six minutes later. Woods continued to play good football, retained the ball well, and pressed Ashford high up the field. On 70 minutes, a well earned rest for Freddie Buckley gave Issouf Coulibaly his Northwood debut.

This was a deserved Northwood victory with a solid performance for 90 minutes, and the Woods have a stronger, more confident squad now.

Report by GARRY MORIARTY