Clevedon Town 0  Northwood 2

Saturday 11th August 2012


NORTHWOOD FC Pre-season friendly

Hand Stadium, Davis Lane,

Team line-up

Northwood scorers

Marsh-Brown, Hawkins

1 James Reading
2 Romaine Walker
3 Ronayne Marsh-Brown
4 Lee Grant
5 Scott Raper
6 Brad Hewitt
7 James Fraser
8 John Christian
9 Kyle Matthews
10 Oliver Hawkins  
11 Dean Worman  
12 Craig White  
14 Danny McDonnell  
15 Reece Yorke  
16 Sam Sharples  
17 Adam Pepera  
18 Harry Wright  
19 Ryan Phillips  
20 Ricky Rogers  

Northwood’s ten game pre-season campaign came to a successful end down in Somerset on Saturday as they notched a neat 2-0 victory at Clevedon Town. They have remained unbeaten in eight matches on their travels and can go into their tough opening league fixture away at title favourites Slough Town with plenty of confidence and hopes for a good showing.

Clevedon struggled in the Evo-Stik League South & West Division last season but they did have a terrific run to win the Red Insure League Cup and they had plenty of success in their own pre-season campaign including a midweek draw with Conference South side Bath City. They have recruited several new players for the forthcoming campaign, and had also bolstered their squad with the acquisition of vastly experienced 39-year-old midfielder Alex Russell, who lists Rochdale, Cambridge United, Torquay United, Bristol City and Exeter City amongst his former clubs.

A quartet of players didn’t make the weekend jaunt for the Woods, with Garry Senior, Adamson Ajayi, James McCluskey and Spencer Bellotti missing but the side had a well-balanced look from the start and they settled very quickly.

After just three minutes Kyle Matthews chased down a ball to Clevedon goalkeeper Lee Matthews and the ball ran loose for Oliver Hawkins to hit a goalbound shot which was only prevented from being the opening goal by a diving save from defender Ben Murray. Only a friendly so no red card was delivered, but it was a penalty and skipper Ronayne Marsh-Brown sent Matthews the wrong way to give the Woods a fourth minute lead.

The home side looked to hit back quickly and a quick free-kick saw Sam King find enough space to cut across Marsh-Brown but his strike only found the side-netting. After 13 minutes Dean Worman found space for a good strike from distance but the ball deflected wide and from the resulting corner Hawkins flicked a shot which flashed only just the wrong side of the post.

PHOTOS by Tony Merrett

Goalkeeper James Reading was called into action for the first time after 18 minutes when he had to get down low to push a Jack McKenna shot wide, and then Joe Flurry robbed John Christian of the ball and raced forward but also saw his effort saved by Reading. The Woods continued to shade the game though as a lively Matthews forced keeper Matthews into a low save and then a sustained piece of attacking play involving James Fraser saw both Worman and Romaine Walker shoot just wide.

Hawkins just got on the end of another Matthews cross soon after, flicking a shot goalwards under pressure but Matthews was equal to that one and then a super ball from Marsh-Brown picked out a run from Worman but his shot was well-blocked by some desperate defending. Russell miskicked for the home side when a quick break gave him a half-chance at the far post but half-time arrived with the Woods good value for their lead. The only downside was an injury to Lee Grant, who limped after shortly after a poor challenge from Adam Mahdi.

After the break Sam Sharples came on for Worman and there was a welcome return for Craig White, who had missed pre-season due to work and family commitments. Northwood continued to threaten with Hawkins hitting a shot which was always just too high and then Matthews flashed a strike across the face of goal but inches wide of the far post. There was a blow when White limped off just twelve minutes in but it turned out to be just an impact injury and he was soon recovered sufficiently to return to the action.

After 62 minutes another dangerous cross from Matthews was cut out by a defensive header by Aaron Robbins which bounced in front of his own keeper and had to be clawed away for a corner. Just three minutes later Walker, now playing as a forward, raced onto a good through-ball and cut past his marker only to shoot inches wide of the target. Hawkins was unlucky again soon after as he got on the end of another good cross but his effort hit the post and substitute Ricky Rogers somehow missed out on touching in the rebound.

The game continued to entertain the meagre crowd, and when defensive errors allowed Russell in on goal but his shot lacked the power to beat an in-form Reading. Rogers had a similar chance for the Woods when he raced onto a neat ball slipped in by Worman, and he hit a crisp first-time shot which flashed just wide. A flurry of late substitutions immediately preceded Clevedon’s final chance of the game as Cameron Ricketts rolled a shot across the face of Reading’s goal but just wide of the far post, and the Woods keeper was about to record his first-ever clean sheet for the club.

There was still time, though, to wrap up a more convincing victory though as an 89th minute Ryan Phillips chip perfectly picked out Hawkins at the far post and he firmly headed back across Matthews and into the far corner to make it 2-0.

REPORT by Alan Evans