NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 9th February 2013   BARTON ROVERS FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 2   Barton Rovers 2   

Muir 56, Nicholas 86

Hassan 3, 47

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 James Reading     1 Kyle Forster
2 Stefan Tomasevic     2 Niran Vaughan
3 Ryan Phillips (87m)     3 Phil Smeaton (73m)
4 Brad Hewitt     4 Tommy Hull
5 Reece Yorke     5 Paul Andrews
6 George Nicholas     6 Andre Maltay
7 Jerome Federico     7 Rhys Hoenes
8 Craig White     8 James Bent
9 Niko Muir     9 Bilal Hassan (76m)
10 Oliver Hawkins     10 Johnny MacNamara
11 Romaine Walker (73m)     11 Jermaine Hall (76m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Lee Grant (87m)     12 Aaron Lansiquot (76m)
14 Ricky Rogers     14 Nick Leach
15 Samuel Labinjo (73m)     15 George Brinkman (76m)
16 Travonn St Leonce     16 Sam James
17 Bradley Wilkinson     17 James Edgerley (73m)
      Referee: Daniel Robathan; Assistants: Bob Trinder & Mark Stevens      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods stormed back from going two goals behind but had to settle for a draw after visiting goalkeeper Ryan Frater produced a string of saves, including a penalty. With top scorer Spencer Bellotti having become the latest player to have been lured to join Wingate & Finchley’s battle for Ryman Premier survival under former manager Gary Meakin, youngster Niko Muir returned to the starting line-up. George Nicholas also came in after missing Tuesday cup-tie with injury as manager Mark Burgess was unavailable through work commitments. With James Fraser ruled out with illness another teenager, Stefan Tomasevic moved right-back while skipper Brad Hewitt returned in the centre of defence.

The Woods could not have made a worse start to the game as Nicholas lost possession and a series of quick, incisive passes led to Bilal Hassan stroking the ball past James Reading to give Barton a third minute lead. The opening twenty minutes belonged to the visitors as they continued to work hard and press the ball, stopping and forward moves from Northwood in their tracks and forcing a series of corners.

However, they failed to create any clear-cut chances and the Woods eventually started to push forward, mainly through Jerome Federico down the right. His first effort was well over the bar but after 28 minutes he burst through on goal with only Frater to beat and the keeper made the first of several fine saves to push the ball wide. Five minutes later another good move saw Muir and Oliver Hawkins combine to set up Federico but this time he sliced his shot well wide of the target and Rovers held onto their advantage up to half-time.

Barton came on strongly once again at the start of the second half and after Jermaine Hall had seen one effort saved by Reading, they notched a second goal when former Leighton Town striker Hassan latched onto a long ball from Niran Vaughan, swept past the keeper and slotted home again. The Woods had a hard task on their hands if they were going to recover but they battled back quickly. After 52 minutes Tomasevic got forward well and knocked a neat ball to Federico. His cross to the far post was perfect for Hawkins but his header was well held just inside the post by Frater.

A run and shot from Muir was deflected just wide and on 56 minutes Northwood reduced the arrears as Tomasevic headed on and Muir stole in to lift his header over Frater and under the crossbar. Just six minutes later another Federico cross looked to find Hawkins at the back post but, not for the first time, Hawkins was clearly pushed by Tommy Hull and this time the referee pointed to the spot. The Woods’ success rate from penalties this season hasn’t been too good but new taker Reece Yorke had scored from his first one a couple of weeks earlier and he hit this one reasonably well too. But Frater dived the right way and got down to keep it out and keep his side in front.

It seemed to deflate the Woods’ efforts for a short while but Reading tipped a Hall header over the bar and they rallied again. Hassan almost netted an own goal as an attempted clearance was kept out by Frater and then Federico combined with Muir for a dangerous cross which eluded everyone. Substitutions were made, with Samuel Labinjo getting his first run-out in place of the ineffective Romaine Walker while Barton changed both of their forwards with former Woods striker Aaron Lansiquot coming on. Northwood kept pushing and finally levelled the scores on 86 minutes when Muir worked the ball across to Nicholas in space and he let fly from over 25 yards with a classy strike that beat Forster all the way.

Two minutes later, they were almost in front as Hawkins headed the ball into the danger zone and Muir got to the ball just ahead of Forster to poke a shot goalwards but Hull was there to head away for a corner. Yorke was next to go close with a powerful long-range effort that took a deflection and could have gone anywhere but the ball flashed just wide of the post. From the resulting corner, taken in the last minute of normal time, Hewitt met Federico’s ball in but steered his header wide.

Stoppage time brought incident at both ends. Lansiquot latched onto a loose ball in the box to beat Reading but the ball was cleared off the line and the Woods broke quickly. A great cross from substitute Lee Grant put Hawkins in on goal, but needing just a little chip to beat Forster, he hit the ball low and the keeper kept it out again to leave the home side frustrated.

Northwood now have a tough away Red Insure League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night against promotion contenders Slough Town with the winners of that facing a long trip to Premier Division side Frome Town in the semi-final. The fact that the semi is scheduled for Wednesday 6th March does mean that our scheduled home league game against Slough Town will need rearranging again anyway with our opponents only left with Thursdays to play the game.