LEIGHTON TOWN   Saturday 9th March 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Leighton Town 2   Northwood 3   

Burfoot 35, 63

Hewitt 4, Muir 32
Nicholas 68

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Matt Griggs     1 James Reading
2 Dan Hutchings     2 Scott Raper (52m)
3 Carl Harrison     3 Ryan Phillips
4 Jamie Taylor     4 Brad Hewitt
5 Dan Hewitt     5 Mark Burgess
6 Sean Bishop (80m)     6 George Nicholas
7 Jack Downes     7 Jerome Federico
8 Nick Burtinshaw (60m)     8 Craig White
9 Mark Burfoot     9 Niko Muir (62m)
10 Jerry Nash     10 Oliver Hawkins
11 Jack Copson (60m)     11 Adil Salih (84m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Enzo Silvestri (60m)     12 Stefan Tomasevic
14 Russell Clarke (80m)     14 Romaine Walker (62m)
15 Jakk Pursey (60m)     15 Ricky Rogers (84m)
16 Mark Boyce     16 Jon-Jo Bates (52m)
17 Brad Kirkwood     17 -
      Referee: Rob Hodges; Assistants: Will Finnie & Mark Sage      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  



Northwood returned to winning ways with this narrow victory over struggling Leighton Town but they were made to battle all the way by a spirited home side. The side was boosted by the return of full-back Scott Raper after several months on the injured list, while manager Mark Burgess filled in at the back for the suspended Reece Yorke.

The Woods had failed to score in their last two matches but took just four minutes to take the lead at Bell Close as goalkeeper Matt Griggs failed to keep hold of an inswinging corner and Brad Hewitt headed home the loose ball.

Jerome Federico was causing the home side problems down the right and knocked in a couple of early crosses which flashed across the goal before cutting in and having a shot himself but Griggs was well behind it.
Oliver Hawkins shot wide from a good position soon after this but then Leighton began to settle and the veteran target man Mark Burfoot was causing the Woods defence a few problems with his style of play. Three times in quick succession he managed to get a shot in from inside the box but without troubling James Reading in goal.

Oliver Hawkins went close with a low, long-range strike after 25 minutes and then Griggs made a good stop after Hawkins had taken an Adil Salih cross down into his stride but perhaps should have got more power into his shot. After 32 minutes the Woods doubled their lead as Federico showed a devastating turn of pace to race past his marker and crossed to Niko Muir who neatly flicked the ball inside the near post.

George Nicholas fired just over the top soon after this but Leighton pulled a goal back after 35 minutes to give them renewed hope. Jack Downes battled past Raper down the left flank and cut the ball back from the bye-line and when Burgess blocked his cross, Burfoot reacted quickest to force the ball over the line. The same two players combined again five minutes later with Burfoot curling a shot not far over the bar, but Northwood almost scored again before the break when Hawkins rose high to meet a Ryan Phillips cross and Griggs dived to push the ball wide of the post.

The Woods tried to push home their advantage after the break and they had a succession of shots on goal. Nicholas had an effort comfortably saved, Federico one blocked and then Hawkins swept another one over the top after Federico had been upended and the ball had run loose. Northwood introduced Jon Jo Bates as substitute for a tiring Raper. The former Dagenham & Redbridge youngster has joined the club on dual registration from Harrow Borough to get some game time, and he certainly gave Northwood an extra attacking edge as the game progressed.

However, they conceded an equaliser after 64 minutes when Downes again found some joy down the left and cut in to shoot for goal. Reading was across to push the ball away but Burfoot showed a real striker’s prowess again to convert from close range and make it 2-2.

Romaine Walker replaced Muir and after 69 minutes he was part of a sweeping move that also involved Craig White and Bates with Walker feeding the ball to Nicholas, who slotted past Griggs for a neat goal that saw the Woods back in front.

Behind once again, Leighton really went for it in the final fifteen minutes and Reading made a good save to deny substitute Jakk Pursey. But that was nothing compared to a triple save that followed as he flung himself across goal to save from Pursey again, Downes and Enzo Silvestri.

On 78 minutes, it could have been all over as Federico burst into the area only to be taken down by Dan Hutchinson yet the Referee opted against awarding the clear penalty and giving a free-kick on the very edge of the area. Walker’s free-kick forced a corner and from that Federico’s cross dropped kindly for Hawkins, who then knocked a shot across the face of the open goal and wide.

The Woods might have rued that missed chance as Leighton were awarded a couple of dangerous free-kicks late on. Reading saved the first one comfortably from Burfoot but the second was closer with the Woods keeper pushing Dan Hewitt’s well-struck effort onto the bar and over.