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Uxbridge U18 4  Northwood U18 0 

Monday 7th December 2015

 

NORTHWOOD UNDER 18 Middlesex Senior Youth Cup QF
 
 
   
Team line-up

 

1 Phil Daniels
2 Ben Spires
3 Matt Parsons (67m)
4 Will Holland (15m)
5 Charlie Carroll
6 Dylan Noble
7 Dylan Louis
8 Jack McDonnell ©
9 Freddie Buckley
10 Emmanuel  
11 Louis Moriarty (46m)  
Substitutes  
12 Rowland Smith (15m)  
14 Michael Brown (46m)  
15 Jamie Roche (67m)  
16 Charley McInerney  
17 Jordan Williams  
     

Firstly congratulations to Uxbridge, we wish them well in the semi-final, genuinely, at the end of the day they were the better side on the night...

Secondly, it was not a 4-0 game, our back four were superb, as was Ben Spires and Dylan Louis (MOTM) ….. for 83 minutes, and as you read this report, all will be revealed.

What could have gone wrong did go wrong.  A 5:45pm meet: we did not leave Northwood until 6:25pm due to players arriving late, or not at all, in one player’s case. We arrived at Uxbridge quite quickly, which was a bonus. The starting 11 changed twice already in an hour on the way to the ground and was just about to change again during the warm up, even before we put pen to paper, we were banking on a player arriving at 7:25pm. Finally we put on the bench two players for lateness that should have started this game, and another who admitted he had already played that afternoon!!

Will Holland moved from centre midfield to right back just before kick-off, among several other players started out of position due to enforced late changes, which I do believe affected the way we played in the first half. Finally we kicked off, and the first 10 minutes were reasonably equal, Ben Spires started well in the holding role, his first ever time in that position, due to Will moving to right back, with Louis Moriarty starting on the left of midfield and Myles Martin being injured.

In the early stages there were no real goal threats from either side, though Uxbridge looked the more fluent outfit. On 15 minutes was the big turning point of the game. Will Holland nipped in front of the Uxbridge attacker, and what can only be described as a wild kick which completely missed the ball and caught Will Holland smack on the ankle, left the player writhing in agony on the floor. It was obviously a genuine attempt to play the ball, that was approimately three feet away at the time of the challenge. Will was carried off on a stretcher and taken straight to hospital. I will not comment any further save that Rowland Smith came on for Will.

The game restarted and continued with Uxbridge playing the better football, Northwood struggled for any real quality possession, I don’t know if Will Holland’s injury affected our play, or the late arrivals, but it was not until about 30 minute mark that Northwood got any real fluency to their play, resulting in a succession of corners which in the main were defended well by Uxbridge.  With 35 minutes on the clock Uxbridge were definitely the team that looked like scoring, but for a solid Northwood defensive display, with changes by Rowland Smith, Dylan Noble, Charlie Carroll and Matt Parsons, none of whom deserved to be on the losing side.

The half was playing itself out, with no real scoring opportunities….“how long ref”: four more minutes came the reply - eight minutes later Uxbridge scored after a period of pressure on the Northwood goal, we are told on 58 minutes, which to be fair was a good finish. At half time the boys were in a sombre mood, morale was low; they were extremely disappointed with the first half, most complained about the tackle that had seen Will carried off, but we cannot blame that for our poor performance.

We had several changes planned, but again another enforced substitution at half time as an injured, Louis Moriarty came off. So again we changed our planning; Michael Brown came on for Louis, and instead of going to centre forward, he started on the left in midfield. We took Jack McDonnell out of the midfield back to his normal number 10 role, pushed Youel out wide, brought Dylan Louis in from the right to control things in the holding role and pushed Ben Spires back up to the number 8 role.

Immediately this had an impact, better quality possession, passing seemed to be more fluent, but we still lacked that final pass to penetrate the Uxbridge defensive wall, or the final shot to really trouble the Uxbridge keeper. On 60 minutes Northwood finally got going, looked dangerous on the ball, passing was slicker, there was better co-ordination between players and a determination not seen in the first half. Dylan Louis was quick and decisive, Ben had more space to create and Jack’s movement off the ball was what we are used to. Woods looked more comfortable on the ball and were starting to create better opportunities. It was a proper cup game now, as Uxbridge also played good quality football and always looked dangerous with a good front three, of 7, 9, and 11 but without really troubling Phil Daniels in the Northwood goal.

Defences were on top, though if anything Uxbridge still creating clearer opportunities. Another turning point for Northwood was possibly on 67 minutes, and another enforced change – Matt Parsons had pulled a muscle in his thigh, and with no full backs on the bench Ben Spires was pushed to left back, Jamie Roche, a right winger, came on and so we had to switch Youel back into the centre, Jack back to 8, Michael Brown went to 9, Freddie Buckley went to the left side of midfield, almost a complete reversal to what had just got us back into the game. However, Jamie Roche did make an immediate impact off the bench after good work from Rowland Smith, who broke down the right, Jamie cut inside and fired the first real Northwood shot from outside the box, which was well saved by the Uxbridge keeper. Northwood had a sustained period of pressure, with Jack McDonnell shooting just wide and had a succession of corners. A Dylan Louis volley cannoned off an Uxbridge defender, and could have gone anywhere but ended up bouncing just wide of the goal, carefully watched by the Uxbridge keeper. Neither side looked like scoring against two solid defensive displays, as the game was still lacking a clinical finish from both teams.

I take the blame for what happened in the final seven minutes, possibly the main turning point of the game. It is the Cup, we were disappointing in front of goal all night, failed to create chanced until 65 minutes so I decided to get more numbers in midfield to control possession, and push another player up front. We had to try something different when all else had failed all evening, and to stay in the competition we needed to score. So I changed formation to a 3-5-2 - it did not work!

Uxbridge broke after a period of Northwood pressure, and from a promising Northwood attack, the home number 11 beat Charlie Carroll on his inside,  Dylan Noble just missed the blocking challenge and he curled the shot in at the far post, for a pretty polished finish … that was it for Northwood !!

I could feel any fight for the last few minutes drain away from the faces of our players, as the ball hit the net. The final five minutes were played out with absolutely no enthusiasm from Northwood and it was a very quiet dressing room afterwards. Northwood knew they had not performed well, for as good as they were against Bedfont in the last round, they were equally poor against Uxbridge.

A very disappointing night, in more ways than one. Get well soon Will.

Report by GARRY MORIARTY