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Northwood 1  Burnham 1

Saturday 21st August 2021

 

NORTHWOOD
     
     
   
1 Montel Joseph ©    
2 Ryan Avery    
3 Aaron Petch    
4 Leo Decabo    
5 Arthur Linturn (87m)    
6 Gradi Milenge    
7 Shakeel Morris (87m)    
8 Declan Nche (74m)    
9 Ismael Ehui    
10 Matt Ayres    
11 Matteo Esposito    
Substitutes  
12 Ezekiel Williams (74m)    
14 Matt Surmon (87m)    
15 Sam Coles (87m)    
16 Mo Sahnoun    
17 Tom Unsworth    
18 Tristan Noel    
       
 

Burnham: Carl Dennison, Naor Ben Ami, Alfie Branwhite, Harvey Pope, Ethan Light, Joey Gritt, Rashid Hamid , Dan Malloy (Aaron De Rama 41m V), Gavin James (Adam Davis 87m), Oliver Bishop (Trevor Mutero 46m)

   

Northwood had to settle for a replay after they were pegged back by their Combined Counties Premier opponents in an entertaining FA Cup tie at the Fenton Civil Engineering Stadium.

The clubs had met at the First Qualifying Round stage of last year’s competition when Burnham were the victors, but Woods were hoping for a different outcome with a completely revamped squad.

Manager Ben Murray tweaked his starting line-up following last week’s league opener at Thatcham Town with Arnold Linturn making his debut in central defence, fellow debutant Leo Decabo and Declan Nche coming into the midfield with Ismael Ehui leading the attack.

Northwood were quickly into their stride with Ehui forcing Burnham goalkeeper Carl Dennison into an early save before the Woods striker almost got on the end of a Ryan Avery cross following good work from Nche.

Woods continued to press with some neat, incisive approach play, Matteo Esposito releasing Decabo whose driving run culminated in a shot turned away by Dennison.

Having offered little in attack up to that stage, Burnham created a couple of openings with Jayden Moore testing Montel Joseph following a quick break before the Woods skipper was quickly off his line to deny the same player.

Northwood were quickly back on the front foot with Shakeel Morris firing narrowly over after a sweeping move before both Decabo and Ehui were denied by the legs of Dennison. And Woods finally reaped the reward for their impressive first half performance, Morris firing in a rocket from the edge of the box on 40 minutes after good work from Esposito.

The lively Moore threatened again for the visitors before halftime but Joseph was up to the task once more, while at the other end, Dennison was called upon to tip over a 25-yard Aaron Petch freekick after Ayres’ surging run was unceremoniously halted by a blue shirt. And there was still time for Morris to go close to adding a second as he ran into the box but he shot straight at Dennison.

Northwood continued in a similar vein after the break with Esposito a growing influence on proceedings, Dennison almost making a costly hash of his freekick before a jinking run and pullback from the by-line just evaded Ehui in the six-yard box. Woods kept up the tempo as they looked for a crucial second goal, Decabo finding Morris whose ball across the face of goal just evaded the stretching Ehui.


But it was perhaps inevitable after the number of chances that had been created by the hosts that the visitors delivered a sucker punch with an equaliser on 71 minutes, Moore’s deflected shot sitting up for Gavin James who bundled the ball home from close range.

Northwood looked to freshen things up with a substitution on 74 minutes as Ezekiel Williams replaced Nche, but the equaliser had given the blues extra impetus with Moore looking increasingly dangerous. However, Ehui had a great chance to put his team’s noses back in front but his shot cleared the bar after he had been beautifully teed up by Avery.

Burnham had to change things around on 82 minutes after Rashid Hamid received his marching orders for a second yellow card. But Northwood struggled to capitalise on their numerical advantage and they were grateful for the reflexes of Joseph as he produced stunning reflex save to keep out Ethan Light’s header.

With time running out for Northwood to avoid a replay, debutant Matt Coles and Matt Surman were introduced for Morris and Linturn. But despite Petch’s freekick in the final minute leading to a scramble in the Burnham box, there was to be no late drama with the honours remaining even and thoughts turned to a midweek rematch on the newly laid 3G pitch at the 1878 Stadium.

Report by ROBIN PIPER
Photos by JAMES BROWN