Saturday 6th April 2013


Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Burnham 2  Northwood 0   

T Willment 24, Driver 73


Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Michael Watkins     1 James Reading
2 Ashley Smith     2 Lee Grant
3 John Gray     3 Ryan Phillips
4 Tom Willment     4 Scott Raper
5 Tom Baddeley     5 Reece Yorke
6 Lee Togwell (46m)     6 Mark Burgess
7 Josh Webb (46m)     7 Jon-Jo Bates (88m)
8 Dan Willment     8 Craig White
9 Lewis Driver     9 Niko Muir
10 Ryan Bird     10 Juan Onieva (60m)
11 James Dobson (78m)     11 Hallelujah Basmel (75m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Staforde Palmer     12 Adil Salih
14 Leon Archer     14 Brad Hewitt
15 Nathan Jack (46m)     15 Reon Thomas (75m)
16 Dwane Lee (46m)     16 Lewis Davis (88m)
17 Nevin Saroya (78m)     17 Oliver Hawkins (60m)
      Referee: Shaun Barry; Assistants: Bob Trinder & Will Finnie      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  



League leaders Burnham maintained their long-unbeaten run with this narrow but comfortable victory over a Northwood side that lacked a cutting edge on the day. Brad Hewitt was left out with a slight hamstring strain, so Scott Raper returned after a rest to take an unfamiliar role in the centre of the defence while Lee Grant continued at right-back. Juan Onieva also kept his place up front with top scorer Oliver Hawkins left on the bench.

Within the first minute the Woods had a chance to take the lead as a forward ball bounced high on the dry pitch and Onieva stole in to chip the ball forward but his header dropped just wide of the post with goalkeeper Michael Watkins nowhere. Burnham’s early chances came after forcing a couple of corners. Both were knocked in to find an unmarked Tom Willment but he headed the first wide and the second over the top. The warning signs were there.

After 13 minutes, Hallelujah Basmel battled forward and into space but blasted a shot well over the bar while Niko Muir then latched onto a Craig White ball but he shot straight at Watkins who clutched at the ball and just held on.  But on 26 minutes, another corner was knocked in and this time Burnham skipper Willment met it on the volley and the ball bounced up and into the roof of the net to give Burnham the lead.

Having managed to get their noses in front, the Blues seemed content to see the rest of the half out and the Woods seemed lacking in ideas as to how to get into any dangerous positions so half-time arrived without any threat to either goal. Burnham were first to grasp the mettle after the break as they made a double-substitution immediately with experience paid Nathan Jack and Dwane Lee introduced for Lee Togwell and Josh Webb.

Northwood were first to go close from a set piece as Jon-Jo Bates curled a free-kick over the wall and down with Watkins moving across to push the ball over the bar. The Blues hit back and had the ball in the net through James Dobson, but it was ruled out for a clear offside and then Jack seized on a loose pass in midfield but blasted a shot well over.

There was more action in the second-half for sure and Bates broke through to shoot wide on 56 minutes before Hawkins was introduced as a replacement for Onieva on the hour. An inviting cross from Bates flashed untouched across the goal and then the presence of Hawkins caused a defensive error and another pass saw Scott Raper just unable to reach the ball.

As the Woods were enjoying their best spell, Burnham managed to double their advantage. A harsh free-kick was awarded just inside the Northwood half allowing a long punt from Ashley Smith into the danger-zone. It was met by the head of the league’s top scorer Ryan Bird, who beat James Reading and although the ball crashed back off the crossbar, Lewis Driver was quickest to the rebound and he headed into an empty net.

Again the goal led to a period of stalemate with the Woods only chance coming when Watkins reacted quickly to smother a ball as substitute Reon Thomas chased a Ryan Phillips free-kick into the area.

Burnham almost added a third when Jack let fly but his effort came back off the crossbar and was cleared to safety. It would have flattered the home side who ultimately will be happy to have picked up another three points in their quest for the title and automatic promotion.