Bedfont Sports 2 Northwood 3

Saturday 21st July 2012


Mitch Swain
Danny McDonnell
Ryan Phillips
Adam Pepera
Reece Yorke
James McCluskey
Kyle Matthews
Gary Meakin
Garry Senior
Victor Asombang
Adamson Ajayi
Ricky Rogers (7, 77m)
Massih Mirzai
Jamal Mattan
Aaron Silcott

With two games scheduled for the Woods first-team in successive days over the weekend, the squad was split for the first of these, a first-ever visit to Bedfont Sports, newly promoted to the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League. Manager Gary Meakin gave himself a rare run-out in midfield while there was a first appearance for trialling defender Adam Pepera who slotted in alongside Reece Yorke who took the skipper’s armband.

After two weeks of pre-season games already behind some of the Northwood side, the idea was to get a ninety minute spell into as many of the players as possible and that was pretty much how it worked out.

After an even start to the match, it was the home side who grabbed an early lead when confusion in the Woods defence allowed George Baldock to get in between and lift a shot into the top corner to give Mitch Swain no chance. It took a while for Northwood to settle but after 15 minutes, they should have been level when the experienced striker Victor Asombang did well to get a cross in from the right but Garry Senior steered his header wide of the gaping goal.

Just two minutes later a corner fell to Yorke in the box and after his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Jake Saville, the ball was knocked back in and Senior steered it home from six yards. Bedfont were looking sharp in attack and they bounced back from this setback in fine fashion when Nduka Azagba was given too much space down the left and he used it well with a neat exchange of passes before crashing a shot inside the near post.

A long ball from Danny McDonnell put Senior through on goal after 26 minutes and he had just the ‘keeper to beat but saw his shot well smothered by the Sports custodian who then also produced a good stop to deny Kyle Matthews a few minutes later. It remained a quite open game to half-time, with the home side going closest with a shot that clipped a post while Swain made one good save.

The Woods looked better after the break and they levelled the scores after 55 minutes when Senior played an excellent reverse pass through to Asombang and his square ball was met by Matthews who slid in to score. It was his first goal since his comeback from injury with the last coming in pre-season some two years ago.

It was the start of a long spell of domination by the Woods with Ryan Phillips driving in a shot which was pushed wide by the ‘keeper and then Yorke heading a James McCluskey cross just over the bar. Senior had a shot deflected wide and then met another good cross with a header which crashed back off the post. Matthews went close with another drive before Northwood finally grabbed the lead after 71 minutes when Senior again ran onto a through ball, this time from Yorke, and finished tidily for his second of the game.

The Woods only substitution followed as Matthews left the field, perhaps giddy from his goalscoring exploits, and was replaced by Ricky Rogers. Northwood generally closed the game down from there as things got a bit fractious from time to time but in fact Bedfont went close to levelling five minutes from time when Swain produced a double save to keep his side ahead at the final whistle.

REPORT by Alan Evans

PHOTOS by Ruth Finch