NORTHWOOD FC   Tuesday 2nd October 2012   CHALFONT ST PETER

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 1  Chalfont St Peter 3   

Bellotti 76

Fitzgerald 43, 53
Hughes 68

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 James Reading     1 Michael Power-Simpson
2 Scott Raper     2 Glenn Yala
3 Ryan Phillips (46m)     3 Jerome Okimo
4 Lee Grant (68m)     4 Gareth Paxton
5 Reece Yorke     5 John Carroll
6 John Christian     6 Alex Paine
7 Adamson Ajayi     7 Terrell Lewis (86m)
8 Craig White (57m)     8 Alan Hedley
9 Oliver Hawkins     9 Aaron McLeish
10 Jack Hutchinson     10 Scott Fitzgerald (80m)
11 Romaine Walker     11 Daniel Hughes
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Danny McDonnell     12 Ryan Welsh (86m)
14 James McCluskey (57m)     14 Anthony O'Connor
15 Dean Worman (68m)     15 Daniel Tomlin (80m)
16 Spencer Bellotti (46m)     16 Connor Spaans
17 Jack Middleton     17 Michael Lewis
      Referee: Ben Furneaux; Assistants: Nick Mackenzie &Sunny Gill      
  REPORT by Alan Evans      PHOTOS by James Brown  

These two sides with big FA Cup ties being staged at home in a few days time produced a competitive contest but without the real cut and thrust that perhaps they are saving for the weekend’s tests. The watching Boreham Wood management won’t have noted too many points to concern them ahead of their visit as the Woods home form again deserted them against a well-organised Chalfont side which included former Northwood striker Scott Fitzgerald.

After two solid away victories in the past week, the Woods looked full of confidence to start this game. A series of attacks saw John Christian have a good strike saved by goalkeeper Michael Power-Simpson and then get on the end of an Adamson Ajayi cross but shoot wide under the pressure of a heavy challenge which also saw penalty appeals waved away.

Chalfont looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Alex Paine had a shot blocked and cleared following a good attacking run from Jerome Okimo. Ajayi, playing against his former club, was next to test Power-Simpson and though he spilled his shot, he recovered quickly enough and held on to the loose ball.

After 18 minutes, Fitzgerald showed his old goalscoring prowess was still there as he got the run of the ball from a couple of half-hearted tackles but then saw his shot crash back off the post. The game quickly switched back up the other end and Romaine Walker’s cross from the right saw Craig White ghost in but he flicked his header wide of the target.

Just as suddenly though, Northwood began to be snuffed out in midfield, started giving the ball away too frequently and the Saints started to make progress. After 31 minutes a good run and cross from Aaron McLeish rebounded kindly to Daniel Hughes and his strike was kept out by James Reading who spread himself well and blocked with his foot. A corner to the near post had Paine flicking a header goalwards and the ball was scrambled away to safety but just before the break a through ball saw Fitzgerald cleverly flick the ball forward and when Reading hesitated in coming out to claim it, the experienced striker coolly poked the ball past him to give Chalfont a half-time lead.

Spencer Bellotti, who had bagged a hat-trick at Fleet on Saturday, replaced Ryan Phillips at the start of the second-half and an Ajayi ball gave him a golden opportunity almost immediately but he delayed a fraction too long and a timely tackle denied him.

The game swung on two decisions inside two minutes. After 53 minutes, Reece Yorke went to block a shot but saw the ball bounce up off his leg and onto his arm in the box. The referee pointed to the penalty-spot and it was perhaps a little harsh but Fitzgerald was happy to accept the chance of a second goal as he buried the spot-kick to increase the Saints' lead.

The Woods pushed forward immediately and a through-ball saw Power-Simpson out to meet Hawkins who looked to head a high ball over the oncoming ‘keeper but was clattered just a foot outside the penalty-area. Again the decision went against Northwood with a free-kick and just a yellow card being deemed sufficient punishment.

The free-kick came to nothing, James McCluskey was introduced for the disappointing White but it failed to have the desired affect and Chalfont then hit a killer third goal after 68 minutes. It was Okimo who caused the damage with a powerful run and cross which Reading could only push across goal and Hughes was there to fire home the loose ball.

The Woods never gave up though and when Power-Simpson could only parry a powerful strike from Walker, Bellotti followed up to convert and reduce the arrears with still a bit of time left for a late rally. But it was only in the final couple of minutes that they threatened again as Hawkins did well to dive in and get his head to a McCluskey cross but the ball flashed inches over the bar. Then Bellotti raced through onto a long ball down the middle and was clearly pushed over as he battled past his marker but again the claims for what looked a clear penalty fell on deaf ears.

The Saints had shaded the game overall and rise above Northwood in the table thanks to the three points but once again the Woods appeared to have failed to produce anywhere near their best form and they will need to be much improved if they are to provide an FA Cup shock on Saturday.