NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 15th December 2012   GODALMING TOWN FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 1  Godalming Town 2   

Hewitt 14

S Harris 46, McClurg 81

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 James Reading     1 Asen Agou
2 Adil Salih     2 Jack Broome
3 Lee Grant     3 Ryan Lake
4 Brad Hewitt     4 Antonio Simeone
5 Mark Burgess     5 Adam Foulser
6 Tyrell Miller-Rodney     6 Ben Edwards (85m)
7 Sam Beale (77m)     7 Dan Read
8 Craig White     8 Jamie McClurg
9 Spencer Bellotti (83m)     9 Scott Harris (70m)
10 Oliver Hawkins     10 George Short (83m)
11 Romaine Walker (57m)     11 Warren Harris
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Ryan Phillips     12 Wes Harrison (85m)
14 James Fraser     14 Jon Palmer
15 Bradley Wilkinson (83m)     15 Johnnie Dyer (70m)
16 Dean Worman (77m)     16 Neil Baker (83m)
17 Adamson Ajayi (57m)     17 Jon Underwood
      Referee: Robert Hodges; Assistants: P Wilkinson & T Ratheram      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods were left frustrated once again as they slipped to their fourth successive home league defeat, all by the odd goal against teams in the top five play-off positions. Reece Yorke and John Christian were both missing through suspension and Ricky Rogers was ruled out with injury. Manager Mark Burgess played himself at the back while Brentford loanees Sam Beale and Tyrell Miller-Rodney made their home debuts, and Adil Salih was promoted from the reserves for his first-ever first-team appearance.

Godalming arrived at Chestnut Avenue having lost just twice all season and had conceded the least goals – just 15 in 17 games - of all the sides in the division so another tough game was expected. The heavy rain that had arrived the preceding day, on top of the earlier frozen pitch, meant a difficult surface for both teams but both adapted well and provided plenty of commitment if not skills.

It was Northwood who settled quickest and after just two minutes, a corner saw the visitors Bulgarian debut keeper Asen Agov push the ball out and when Miller-Rodney steered the loose ball goalwards, the keeper managed to recover and throw out a hand that kept it out. But it was another set-piece, after 13 minutes, that saw the Woods take the lead. A free-kick was headed down by Oliver Hawkins and Spencer Bellotti saw his effort blocked but the rebound allowed Brad Hewitt to neatly slot the ball home from twelve yards.

The visitors worked hard to get into the game and with Scott Harris and Dan Read both threatening and the crossbar coming to Northwood’s rescue but just before the break the Woods were given a great opportunity to increase their lead. A quick break and excellent ball from Salih put Hawkins into the box and Antonio Simeone went to ground in a risky tackle in the box which resulted in a penalty. Romaine Walker took the responsibility but produced a poor spot-kick which Agov saved easily, only slightly to his left.

Northwood’s penalty conversion rate is getting a little embarrassing lately, having now failed to score five of the past six awarded and they paid the ultimate price when the match restarted after the break. There was just fourteen seconds on the clock when Godalming levelled. From the kick-off, Warren Harris knocked in a cross which elder brother Scott Harris headed towards goal and the ball looped over James Reading and under the bar. The Woods keeper, who has been in fine form recently, will have been disappointed with his effort. Adamson Ajayi replaced the ineffective Walker on 56 minutes in a bid to inject a bit of extra pace for the Northwood attack and it did open up the game a little more.

Warren Harris wasn’t far away with a low drive that flashed just wide for the visitors while Ajayi then got forward down the right and knocked in an inviting cross which no-one was able to turn goalwards. After 66 minutes, Scott Harris headed a cross on and George Short drove a shot across the face of goal that was touched wide. It was end-to-end stuff at this stage and Lee Grant curled a shot just the wrong side of the upright before Ajayi raced through despite being obstructed but smacked his angled shot inches wide of the far post.

After 79 minutes, the G’s were suddenly presented with a great opportunity themselves as a flicked header hit Hawkins on an arm in the box as he looked to clear and the referee again decided that was worthy of a penalty. Jack Broome stepped up with the hope of putting his side in front for the first time but he smashed his effort into orbit. But the Woods survived for just one minute more as a defensive slip allowed Jamie McClurg some space and he blasted a shot that Reading got a hand to but was unable to keep out and Godalming were in front.

It would need a stirring response if Northwood were going to salvage something and they did raise their game in the closing stage but they were restricted to just one effort on goal. That came after 88 minutes with a loose ball looping up and onto the crossbar off a Northwood shin. The ball bounced down and Miller-Rodney threw himself forwards to seemingly head home an equaliser only for it to be ruled out for claims of a handball. With the celebrations cut short, tempers frayed and in amongst several confrontations that followed, a couple of yellow cards and a totally futile straight red for Burgess followed to leave the Woods with ten men for the final minutes as the points slipped away.

It doesn’t get any easier for Northwood as highly-rated Slough Town are their opponents next Saturday at Chestnut Avenue.