DAVENTRY TOWN   Tuesday 4th September 2012   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Daventry Town 1  Northwood 0   

N King 41


Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Richard Morris     1 James Reading
2 Marcel Simpson     2 Scott Raper
3 Jamie Gould     3 Ryan Phillips
4 Guy Sanders     4 Brad Hewitt
5 Kyle Cartwright     5 Reece Yorke
6 Ross Oulton     6 John Christian
7 Aaron King  (86m)     7 Jack Hutchinson (69m)
8 Neil King     8 Craig White (86m)
9 Mykel Beckley  (80m)     9 Oliver Hawkins
10 Josh Blake  (69m)     10 Spencer Bellotti (65m)
11 Nat Liburd     11 Adamson Ajayi
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Joss Holford     12 Danny McDonnell
14 Scott Cross (80m)     14 Dean Worman (69m)
15 Trevor McCredie (69m)     15 James Fraser (86m)
16 Matt Gearing (86m)     16 Kyle Matthews (65m)
17 Ben Thackeray     17 Romaine Walker
      Referee: Geoff Russell; Assistants: Chris Goode & David Jarrett      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

The Woods will have been kicking themselves after missing numerous chances in the first-half of this tough midweek away game which should have seen them comfortably out of sight. Oliver Hawkins returned to the starting line-up in place of Romaine Walker in an otherwise unchanged side from the Saturday victory over Aylesbury.

They started superbly well with plenty of good fast-flowing attacking football and from an early short corner, John Christian centred and Brad Hewitt had a free header but the ball flashed over the crossbar. After eight minutes Jack Hutchinson slipped a great ball through to Spencer Bellotti, who spurned a great opportunity by firing well over the bar as the ‘keeper narrowed the angle.

The pressure continued and good work by Ryan Phillips down the left led to a fine cross and Bellotti rose to flick a neat header across goal but it was wide of the far post. The home side, who had begun the season with a similar record to the Woods, couldn’t get a hold in the game at all at this stage and after 17 minutes Hutchinson drove forward again and found Phillips in space but goalkeeper Richard Morris got well behind his effort to save well. Adamson Ajayi was also threatening with his pace and he broke through the defence after 22 minutes only to drive his shot wide of the upright.

Daventry picked up their first booking shortly afterwards when Ross Oulton bundled over the ever-busy Hutchinson. From that free-kick Hawkins flicked the ball on, Craig White touched it to Bellotti but the usually sharp striker could only stab the ball wide. The home side finally notched their first real attack after 32 minutes when they won a free-kick out wide on their right and Neil King hit a low drive which James Reading had to push wide. From the resulting corner Guy Sanders put a header over the top.

Ajayi then made inroads down the right and sent over an inviting cross but it was just out of the reach for Bellotti’s head and the danger was cleared. On 38 minutes it seemed as if the Woods had finally made the breakthrough as Bellotti beat the ‘keeper to a forward ball. Though he couldn’t get a shot in himself, he held it up well and laid it off to Christian, who chipped it over Morris towards the empty net but saw it hit the crossbar.
Out of the blue, Daventry then took the lead as Neil King let fly from thirty yards with a thunderbolt of a shot which crashed into the top corner with Reading appearing to be just a spectator. After Hutchinson had seen a good strike well saved by Morris, half-time arrived with the Woods knowing that they would need to improve their finishing if they were to get back into the game.

There was a slower start to the second-half but after 55 minutes Hutchinson latched onto a Hawkins lay-off and saw his powerful effort blocked, possibly by an arm, but the ball ricocheted off for a corner. From that, delivered well by Christian, Hawkins hit a shot into the ground but it bounced up into the ‘keeper’s hands without really testing him. Play was more even but the game was developing into more of a midfield battle with neither side creating much. After 64 minutes Christian knocked in another good cross to the far post and Bellotti met it with a firm header but it was at Morris who again saved comfortably.

Substitutions started to disrupt the flow of the game but one of them, Dean Worman, worked his way forward after 72 minutes, exchanging passes with White but then poking his shot wide. Another of them, Kyle Matthews made room for an accurate shot from distance on 82 minutes but again Morris looked solid behind it and time was beginning to run out for the Woods. Two minutes later Worman played in Ajayi down the left and he outpaced his marker before cutting the ball back. It reached Christian but he would have been disappointed with his weak shot. The side was trying hard to force something in the closing stages but it needed someone to take responsibility as Hawkins centred and both Ajayi and Matthews were reluctant to pull the trigger.

Finally, in the last minute of normal time, Ajayi played a neat channel ball which put substitute James Fraser into the box and he smashed a near post shot which Morris did well to block and knock round the post. From the resulting corner the ball dropped to Scott Raper lurking on the edge of the box, and he got plenty of power into his strike but the ball was always rising and flew over the bar.

So, Northwood’s inconsistency in front of goal continued and cost them dear as they fell to their third defeat in five league games. An FA Cup win at Premier side Chesham United at the weekend and all will be forgiven and forgotten!