NORTHWOOD FC   Tuesday 9th October 2012   BIGGLESWADE TOWN

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 1  Biggleswade Town 1   

Yorke 47

Mason 9

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 James Reading     1 Michael McEntegart
2 Scott Raper     2 Peter Gatti
3 Ryan Phillips     3 Andrew Iwediuno
4 Brad Hewitt     4 Matthew McEntegart (15m)
5 Reece Yorke     5 Steven Gentle
6 John Christian     6 Alex O'Brien
7 Jack Hutchinson (72m)     7 Craig Daniel
8 James McCluskey     8 Luke Knight (93m)
9 Oliver Hawkins (86m)     9 Joel Mason
10 Adamson Ajayi     10 Brett Donnelly (61m)
11 Romaine Walker     11 Jonathan Woolf
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Lee Grant     12 Joe Reynolds (93m)
14 Dean Worman     14 Kevin Kilroy
15 Jack Ward (72m)     15 Jamie Arlick (61m)
16 Spencer Bellotti (86m)     16 Max York (15m)
17 Jack Middleton     17 Scott Field
      Referee: Simon Leaf; Assistants: Neil Morrison & Jack Ohene      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

The Woods returned to league action on Tuesday night with a visit from Biggleswade Town, a side expected to mount a title challenge this season and another missed penalty cost them victory. James Reading returned in goal and skipper Reece Yorke from suspension while the two speed merchants, Adamson Ajayi and Romaine Walker were also restored to the side that had crashed out of the FA Cup against Boreham Wood. Craig White remained sidelined through injury.

The visitors had been without a game at the weekend and they started very keenly and very brightly, penning Northwood back for the opening twenty minutes. After six minutes a loose ball out of the Woods defence fell kindly to Alex O’Brien twenty yards out and he smacked a good shot which flashed only just wide of the target. Just three minutes later Joel Mason started an attacking, diagonal forward move after getting past Ryan Phillips and he was then in place to receive the ball back to fire across Reading and in for the opening goal.

The Waders lost defender Matthew McEntegart to a back injury after 16 minutes so were forced to reshuffle their back-line but it had no immediate detrimental effect as a free-kick was pumped in and Steven Gentle volleyed over from close-range. Yorke started a bit of a Northwood rally after 22 minutes as he strode forward after winning a tackle and trying his luck from long-range but although his shot was well wide, it lifted the spirits of a beleaguered Woods side at that stage.

After 33 minutes the home side should have been level as Jack Hutchinson came to life down the right flank, beating his marker and knocking in a near-post cross. Goalkeeper Michael McEntegart caught the ball but then spilled it straight at the feet of Oliver Hawkins who stretched out a leg and somehow lifted the ball over the bar from six yards.  Northwood had made things a bit more even by now but it was the visitors who went closest to adding a second goal of the game before the break when Gentle met a corner with a firm header and Reading tipped the ball over the bar to be sure of clearing the danger.

Just over a minute into the second-half, the Woods had pulled level. Phillips put in a good cross which saw McEntegart attempt a punched clearance under pressure from Oliver Hawkins. The ball dropped to Yorke and he controlled it well before slotting in a shot from a tight angle. The goal clearly lifted the Northwood spirits but Biggleswade came close to regaining the lead soon after as a free-kick was pumped in and, with a possible foul on Hawkins ignored, Brett Donnelly hit a good shot on the turn which Reading did well to block and push round the post.

When Hawkins set up Hutchinson on 57 minutes, the youngster did well to steady himself and take aim but still managed to fire his shot over the bar. After 68 minutes, Adamson Ajayi, who was becoming more influential as the half wore on, made a jinking run into the box and after riding a couple of challenges, he was caught by an O’Brien tackle. After recent missed spot-kicks by Walker and John Christian, it was Ajayi himself who was designated to take this penalty but he never looked confident in his run up and his shot hit the post and went wide.

A chance lost and the Woods did try to up their game to find a winner another way. Hutchinson had an effort saved by the ‘keeper before being substituted by Jack Ward who was making his first home appearance. The visitors had been unable to maintain their early form in the second-half and were restricted to counter-attacks but from one of those a ball was whipped in dangerously and Jonathan Woolf was inches away from getting on the end of it.

Ajayi had another run and effort on goal which flashed over the bar while a low drive from Mason saw Reading save comfortably but clear-cut chances were few and far between as the second-half drew to a close. Yorke made a superb tackle to stop an attacking run down the right from Biggleswade who also saw Mason volley over after a free-kick was half-cleared.

In the end, both sides seemed happy to settle for a point.