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Northwood U18 0  St Albans City U18 4

Thursday 8th October 2015


Team line-up


Northwood’s pre match preparation for this FA Youth Cup tie was good; they kicked off and had the better of the early opening minutes, which was played at a frenetic pace. Jack McDonnell slipped past two defenders but his shot was wide of the goal.

St. Albans, we knew, had a very good passing game, which Woods countered with a 4-3-3 formation, which in the early encounters worked well, and much of St Albans’ playing out from the back was stifled. On 10 minutes Oran Swales received the ball out wide for St Albans, swerved past Pearse White and crossed a dangerous ball into Mayowa Ayankoya, whose shot was well saved by Phil Daniels; the ball was parried wide and Akim Akinbinu returned it immediately only for Charlie Carroll to clear off the Northwood line.

This should have been a wake up call: Northwood struggled for good quality possession, but the passing lacked composure. St Albans to their credit were pressing the ball in every part of the pitch. Eventually the ball broke out on the left, a cross was headed out by Charlie Carroll, only for it to fall on the D to Callum Clifford. who shot passed Phil Daniels; 1-0 St Albans.

Northwood got back into the game, with a Michael Brown shot going over the bar, then a Louis Moriarty shot forced St. Albans keeper Will Moroney to make a save high up to his right. But on 23 minutes Northwood failed to press the ball, St Albans were allowed too much time, and the move culminated in Akim Akimbinu having too much space, and his shot into the corner gave Daniels no chance. Half time 0-2.

At half time, the team knew they had not performed well, defensively being too slow pick up runners and generally not getting any fizz into their own game. Phil Daniels was unwell and was replaced in goal by Charley McInenerney, whilst Jamie Roche was substituted by Dylan Louis, making his Northwood debut.

Northwood were forced to chase the game, but although their football was better, they were leaving gaping holes, on which St Albans capitalised. On 64 minutes St Albans were awarded a free-kick just inside the Northwood half. As the kick was taken, the referee blew his whistle, there was some confusion, just outside the Northwood area. Another free kick was awarded and St Albans players started retreating back to their half, only to find the ref had actually awarded the kick to them. Akinbinu took it, the ball took a deflection off the wall, and beat Daniels at his far post. 3-0 St. Albans.

Woods’ management instructed the full-backs to get forward at every opportunity, and after some great work by Jordan Gargani on the right, Michael Brown was one-on-one, only to be ruled just offside. Minutes later Freddie Buckley shot was well saved by Will Moroney in the St Albans goal.

On 71 minutes after a well worked move, Mayowa Ayankoya shot low and hard past Charley McInerney to make it 4-0. St Albans then made several defensive changes and the game was played out mainly in their half. It was Northwood who controlled possession and created the better scoring chances, but with Moroney making a string of good saves, the tie ended in  a disappointing 4-0 loss.

Good luck to Sam Mardle and his St Albans team when they play against a strong Hayes & Yeading outfit in the next round.