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Northwood 2  Sutton Common Rovers 3

Saturday 16th October 2021

 

NORTHWOOD
     
     
   
1 Dan Purdue    
2 Adam Cash ©    
3 Pablo Velasco (69m)    
4 Declan Nche (61m)    
5 James Gurteen    
6 Ryan Avery    
7 Shakeel Morris    
8 Matt Ayres (90m)    
9 Ismael Ehui    
10 Leo Decabo    
11 Gio Palmer    
Substitutes  
12 Sam Jenkins (69m)    
14 Aaron Petch (90m)    
15 Matt Surmon    
16 Matteo Esposito (61m)    
17 Arnold Linturn    
 


SCR: Craig Bradshaw, Aaron Bogle, Matthew Tanton, Ryan Dacres-Smith, Aaron Goode, Jake Hill, Malachi Robinson (Ryan Healy 66m), Adam Allen, Danny Fernandez (Naseem James 79m), Brendan Murphy-McVey, Tyrell Butler

   

Northwood’s disappointing league season continued as they slipped to a sixth defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Sutton Common Rovers in the first ever meeting between the two sides.

Woods came into the game on the back of an encouraging FA Trophy performance while Rovers, who shared an identical playing record, had suffered a midweek drubbing at the hands of South Park. But the visitors were buoyed by the return of several players following injuries and suspensions while there was one change to the Northwood line-up with central defender James Gurteen, returning to the club on a dual registration arrangement with Kings Langley, replacing Arnie Linturn.

Woods made a positive with Pablo Velasco finding room down the right flank and sending over a couple of early crosses with Shakeel Morris getting on the end of one but having his shot charged down by the Sutton defence. At the other end, Tyrell Butler had a shot deflected behind with the resulting corner finding the head of Aaron Goode whose effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.

There was an open feel to the game from the early stages and Woods threatened again as Velasco combined with Matt Ayres before sending over a deep cross which found its way to Morris via the head of Declan Nche but Woods’ leading scorer was crowded out once again.

Rovers responded by creating a couple of useful openings as Malachi Robinson shot over from a good position while Northwood keeper Dan Purdue saved bravely at the feet of Butler. However, the visitors managed to find a way through on 13 minutes, despite a suspicion of offside in the build-up, as Danny Fernandez executed a close-range finish after being teed up by Butler.

Woods reacted well to the setback with Morris having a shot deflected over, Gurteen trying his luck from distance while the former almost capitalised on a mishit goal kick from Craig Bradshaw with the Rovers stopper recovering to gather the attempted lob. But Morris was not to be denied as parity was restored in the 25th minute with a shot across Bradshaw from the edge of the box which nestled in the far corner following a jinking run.

Northwood kept up the pressure and Rovers were indebted to Bradshaw who pulled off a couple of smart saves in quick succession to deny Adam Cash, who ran from deep in his own half before firing in a low shot, and Morris. And the latter wasn’t far away again as he headed over from another Velasco cross.

Photos by JAMES BROWN

But having managed to keep on level terms, Rovers put their noses back in front on 42 minutes as Brendan Murphy-McVey despatched a free-kick beyond the reach of Purdue in the Northwood goal. However, the topsy turvy nature of the opening half continued as Woods delivered an immediate riposte as within a minute, Leo Decabo deceived Bradshaw with a low strike from 30 yards to put the hosts back on level terms. And there was still time for Northwood to threaten a third goal before the break as Nche got behind the Rovers back line before having a couple of near post shots blocked by Bradshaw and his defence.

Northwood fans were hoping for more of the same after the break and things looked good as there was an early opportunity for Morris, but his hooked volley flew wide after Gio Palmer had created the opening. Unfortunately, proceedings began to follow a familiar pattern where Woods seem to lose their attacking impetus after a bright opening half and it was Rovers who began to dictate the play with Matt Tanton stinging the palms of Purdue with a rasping shot from distance, Palmer doing well to crowd out Adam Allen as he looked to convert the loose ball. And Rovers threatened again as Purdue kept out a snapshot from Murphy-McVey.

Northwood made a change just after the hour as they looked to regain some attacking momentum with Matteo Esposito replacing Nche. And there was a further change as Velasco made way for Sam Jenkins, the Chesham loanee returning for a third spell at the club. However, the substitutions failed to ignite Woods and it was the visitors who regained the lead on 71 minutes as Ryan Healy, assisted by a smart dummy from Murphy-McVey, played in Butler who calmly slotted the ball past Purdue.

Northwood switched to a flat back four with Gurteen at left back and Palmer moving into a central attacking role. And Woods began to find some attacking cohesion as Decabo picked out Morris, but his shot failed to trouble Bradshaw while Esposito put up a hanging, far post but Palmer failed to connect properly with his header.

Aaron Petch replaced Ayres as the contest moved into added time and after Purdue had done well to keep out an effort from Naseem James, Woods came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser as Palmer raced clear and rounded Bradshaw, but his effort from a tight angle struck the near post with no red shirt on hand to convert the rebound.

And Palmer threatened again with the last kick of the game as he got to the by-line, but his low cross was frantically cleared by the Rovers defence to ensure that the visitors were taking three precious points back to south London.

Report by ROBIN PIPER