Gloucester City 3  Northwood 3

23rd September 2006


Rob Bullivant
Max Howell 2
Danny Murphy 3
Aaron Coldman 4
James Shipperley 5
Wayne Carter (Capt.) 6
Mark Nicholls 7
Dean Clark 8
Lee Tunnell 9
Peter Dean 10
Gavin Hart 11
Elliott Buchanan (3) 12
David Warner (8) 14
Leon Callender 15
Dave Nolan (11) 16
David Jones 17
British Gas Business Southern League Premier Division
Meadow Park,
Kick Off
3.00 p.m.
Shipperley 3, Nicholls 81,90
Whittington 8, Tomkins 25, Noakes 69
Sent Off

Gloucester City

1 Matt Bath
2 Jonny Miller
3 Jamie Reid
4 Neil Mustoe
5 Chris Thompson (Capt.)
6 Lyndon Tomkins
7 Aaron Wilson
8 Tom Webb
9 Jody Bevan
10 Michael Whittington
11 Alex Sykes
12 Tom Hamblin
14 Michael Noakes
15 Joe Tustain
16 Lee Randall
17 David Mehew



Match Report
by Alan Evans

Mark Nicholls inspired a magnificent late rally for ten-man Northwood as the side showed great character to battle back from an almost certain defeat.

With injuries and suspension still causing manager Colin Payne serious problems, the Woods went into this tough away fixture lacking Liam Watson, Steve Walters, Perry Norman, Mark Dennison, Ricky Alexander, Danny Julienne, James Hamsher, Kyle Matthews, and also Dean Powles, who had been unable to shake off the neck injury suffered at Harrow Borough the previous week.

So Aaron Coldman came in for his starting debut in the centre of defence, and recent recruit Mark Nicholls partnered Dean Clark in midfield for the first time.

It gave Northwood plenty of attacking options and they soon made their mark with an opening goal as early as the fourth minute. A short-corner from Danny Murphy saw Nicholls whip in a cross to the back stick and James Shipperley outjumped his marker to steer a header across goal and inside the far post.

Just two minutes later a quickly taken free-kick got Gavin Hart into the box on the left, and he sent in a low cross which goalkeeper Matt Bath did well to take and hold onto under imminent pressure.

After this early spell, the Woods were soon back on their heels and looking decidedly exposed at the back.

The equaliser came from the Tigers first real attack after ten minutes. Tom Webb was played in down the left as Max Howell was caught out pushing up and his cross was met with a classy finish at the near post by on-loan striker Michael Whittington.

The goal lifted the home side and they pushed on with some swift passing and excellent running off the ball. Alex Sykes went closest with a powerful volley which was deflected wide by Murphy.

After 19 minutes, the Woods won a corner on the counter-attack and tried a carbon copy of the move that produced the goal. This time Shipperley headed wide of the near post, but it was only a brief respite for the visitors.

A minute later, another quick break saw Jodie Bevan volley over from a tight angle and then a free-kick flashed across Rob Bullivant’s goal but was cleared as the Woods survived again.

Clark finally got his sights on goal after 23 minutes, making space for a 25-yard drive which flashed only just wide of the post with Bath nowhere.

Again, Gloucester hit back and a well-worked free-kick saw Sykes curl a shot to the near-post, and Bullivant had top dive across to push the ball wide. From the resulting corner, it was the Tigers’ turn to play it short and whip it in and it proved beneficial once more with Lyndon Tompkins powering home a header.

It remained that way at half-time, and Gloucester continued on top early in the second-half. Five minutes in, Hart was in the right place to knock a near-post flick off the line, and then Bullivant made a comfortable save to deny Webb.

But on the hour, the Woods began to look effective again. Another corner, taken by Nicholls, presented Shipperley with another chance and this time his on-target header was cleared off the line by Webb.

Recent signing David Warner was then introduced for the ineffective Clark, and he went close to scoring with his first touch. Howell did well on the right and drilled in a cross which Warner was just beaten to by a desperate defender on the six-yard box.

Two minutes later, Murphy was taken out by a rough challenge which somehow didn’t even warrant a free-kick in the eyes of the referee and was replaced by Elliott Buchanan as the already novice Woods defence had to be reshuffled yet again. That got even worse for Northwood just two minutes later.

Shipperley, up for a challenge with Tompkins, was climbed on by the Gloucester man who, in turn, was then caught in the face as the Woods defender tried to stop himself falling. It was a clear accident for most of those around, but not so clear for the referee who immediately showed a red card for “use of an elbow”.

The teeth marks on Shipperley’s wrist would seem to prove otherwise, and the match continued with a free-kick to Northwood which Buchanan curled only inches over the bar. An altogether bizarre incident.

The defence needed bolstering, so Dave Nolan came on in place of Hart to add his much-needed experience and the Woods switched to an improbable back three of Howell, Nolan and Coldman. Just five minutes after being reduced to ten men, the Woods conceded a third goal as youngster Buchanan showed his inexperience by dithering over clearing a ball and substitute Michael Noakes nipped in to tap past Bullivant.

The Tigers continued to dominate, with Joe Tustain missing a good chances and Wilson drilling another effort well wide, while Buchanan appeared to be the Woods main weapon on the counter-attack, though his shot failed to really test Bath.

With seven minutes to go Gloucester took off the hard-working Whittington and brought on Lee Randall, a move which clearly left the home side less mobile.

Almost immediately, the Woods got themselves back in the game as Nicholls controlled the ball just outside the box and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Suddenly the spirited Woods side saw there was something to play for, and Nicholls went close again from another free-kick, curling a shot which was always going just wide. The match was a couple of minutes into stoppage-time when a scramble in the goalmouth saw Warner show some excellent close-control, ended by a mistimed challenge and a clear penalty. It needed a cool head with the baying Gloucester fans in full-frenzied voice behind the goal, and Nicholls provided just that by sending Bath the wrong way and tucking home the spot-kick.

PHOTO GALLERY (Click thumbnail to enlarge)


James Shipperley heads Northwood in front


Photos: Paul Evans