ASHFORD TOWN   Tuesday 26th February 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final

  Ashford Town 0(5) Northwood 0(4)  



Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Paul McCarthy     1 James Reading
2 Bairoh Conteh (102m)     2 Adil Salih
3 Alex Duffy     3 Lee Grant
4 Russell Canderton     4 Brad Hewitt
5 Jim Mann     5 Stefan Tomasevic (28m)
6 Scott Weight     6 George Nicholas
7 Mark Bitmead (66m)     7 Craig White
8 Jacob Mingle     8 James Burgess (117m)
9 Kofi Lockhart-Adams     9 Niko Muir (106m)
10 Perry Luckins (74m)     10 Oliver Hawkins
11 Jack Mullan     11 Romaine Walker
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Samad Kazi (66m)     12 Reece Yorke (28m)
14 Mario Quiassacai (74m)     14 Ryan Phillips (117m)
15 Ed Thomas     15 Mark Burgess
16 Rob Curtis (102m)     16 Travonn St Leonce
17 George Armstrong     17 Bradley Wilkinson (106m)
      Referee: Jason Richardson; Assistants: Chris Potter & Chris Felton      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

The Woods bid to reach the Middlesex Senior Cup Final floundered in another hard-fought contest and a close penalty shoot-out which in many ways replicated last season’s Middlesex Charity Cup Final, though without the goals.

Ashford made the early running with some neat crosses flashing across the Northwood goal area but the Woods soon settled and Romaine Walker had an early effort saved while another flashed wide of the post. Oliver Hawkins then saw a header well saved by home goalkeeper Paul McCarthy before Ashford hit back with Perry Luckins failing to hit the target from a good position.

George Nicholas threaded a couple of good balls through from midfield, the latter putting Niko Muir in on goal but McCarthy did well to race out of goal and smother his shot.

At the other end, James Reading was brought into his first action when getting down low to keep out a Scott Weight effort and then the Woods were forced into an early substitution, with Reece Yorke replacing Stefan Tomasevic. The Woods also had the better chances as the half drew to a close with Hawkins heading a James Burgess corner wide and then Walker also hooking a shot off target.

Northwood started the second half well, with Muir unable to steer a Hawkins cross goalwards and then Hawkins heading an Adil Salih cross wide before a flowing move saw White exchange passes with Hawkins but sweep the ball over the top. The Woods needed to start to hit the target and they went closer twice in quick succession but McCarthy blocked another White effort and then also from Muir’s close-range strike.

Hawkins volleyed over when well-placed and then Walker hit a cracking strike from thirty yards that McCarthy only just managed to push onto the crossbar and the ball was cleared.  Time was running out and it was Ashford who went closest in the final ten minutes of normal time as Reading saved from lively substitute Mario Quiassaca and then an excellent clearing header from Brad Hewitt denied Weight.

In the Charity Cup Final last May, it had been 4-4 at the end of ninety minutes and it then went straight to penalties, but this time there was thirty minutes extra-time to get through.  It was the home side that most likely to secure the win, with Reading making a couple of important stops while Quiassaca shot over from a good position but chances were few and far between and it was another penalty shoot-out that would decide the finalists.

The Woods have missed a hatful of spot-kicks during the season so confidence would have been far from high, and Ashford were first up as Kofi Lockhart-Adams fired past Reading. Yorke levelled for the Woods and then Quiassaca and Lee Grant both scored to make it 2-2.

First to miss was the home side’s Alex Duffy and it was advantage Northwood when Ryan Phillips scored. The respective number elevens – Jack Mullan and then Walker, were both successful so with just one kick each left, the Woods led 4-3.

Samad Kazi had to score to keep his side in the tie and he did, but it left Salih with the chance to put Northwood into the final. McCarthy threw his big frame across goal to keep his shot out, though, and after Jim Mann converted penalty number six for Ashford, McCarthy became the home side’s hero when he plunged low again to save from George Nicholas and it was the Ash Trees who went through to their first-ever Senior Cup Final.