NORTH GREENFORD   Tuesday 12th March 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  North Greenford 1   Northwood 3   

Joseph 53

Hawkins 32, Muir 56
Walker 91

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Andy Ceasar     1 James Reading
2 Sean Hillier     2 Scott Raper
3 Dan Carter     3 Lee Grant
4 David Taylor     4 Brad Hewitt
5 John Sonuga     5 Mark Burgess
6 Liam Hind     6 George Nicholas (58m)
7 Zak Joseph (86m)     7 Jerome Federico
8 Danny Bennell     8 Craig White
9 Aaron Morgan     9 Niko Muir (82m)
10 Mark Nicholls     10 Oliver Hawkins
11 Chris Drake     11 Adil Salih (78m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Denis Ridvan     12 Stefan Tomasevic (82m)
14 Anthony Obeng     14 Ricky Rogers
15 Anthony O'Connor (86m)     15 Ryan Phillips
16 -     16 Jon-Jo Bates (58m)
17 -     17 Romaine Walker (78m)
      Referee: Dave Sheldrake; Assistants: Damith Bandara & Philip Jones      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  



Northwood notched back-to-back league wins for the first time since mid-November following Saturday’s narrow win at Leighton Town with this hard-fought victory over neighbours North Greenford. With Reece Yorke still suspended, there was just one change made to the starting line-up as fit again Lee Grant came in for Ryan Phillips at left-back.

The home side have been struggling for points most of the season but had been improving recently; picking up seven points from their last five matches and started confidently. James Reading saved comfortably from a long-range David Taylor effort and Taylor then threaded a good ball through for Chris Drake to run the channel but the lively attacker fired over the top.

North Greenford continued to threaten and after 19 minutes George Nicholas appeared to trip Zak Joseph as he twisted on the edge of the box with the Referee awarding a penalty. Liam Hind is normally reliable from the spot but this time Reading dived the right way and was able to save low down.

Northwood began to slowly take more of an interest and after Reading had pulled off another good save to deny Joseph, the Woods started to threaten. After 32 minutes, Niko Muir cleverly flicked a ball through and Oliver Hawkins raced through on goal to slip a shot past goalkeeper Andy Caesar and give the Woods the lead against the run of play.

While lacking quality, the game had been played in good spirit up until this point but a bit of confusion over a simple throw-in decision seemed to trigger a change in the atmosphere and Taylor picked up the first booking of the game for dissent. Caesar made a fine save to deny a Brad Hewitt header soon after and then a Jerome Federico cross also picked out the Woods centre-half but this time he flicked an effort wide of the target.

The Blues regrouped at half-time and started quickly after the break with Dan Carter firing a shot across goal and wide of the far post. Hawkins picked up another booking for disputing another assistant’s flag too vociferously and then North Greenford levelled the scores after 54 minutes. The Woods missed a couple of chances to clear a free-kick that bounced around the box and Joseph’s shot took a wicked deflection that gave Reading no chance and crept inside the post.

Almost immediately, Northwood were back in front, this time with Muir racing clear of a square-looking defence and hitting a firm shot past Caesar for his fifth goal since the start of February; an excellent start for the young striker. Jon Jo Bates replaced the injured Nicholas and he was soon involved in the heat of the battle as the Woods looked to hold on to their slender lead.

After 73 minutes a neat flowing move saw Muir set up Adil Salih for a fine cross which was headed over by Hawkins. Mark Burgess picked up a booking for a rash tackle a minute later but Northwood were generally still on top and Grant made a rare foray into attack as he switched passes with Bates but fired well wide of the target.

Bates looped a shot which dropped only just over the bar on 79 minutes but a minute later came more controversy. The tricky Joseph drew another foul out of Burgess right on the edge of the box and the Referee immediately pointed to the spot again. But his assistant called him over and, on his advice, this was changed to a free-kick with the assumption that contact had been outside the area. While good news for the Woods, it proved bad news for Burgess as the Referee then decided it was a bad enough foul to warrant a second yellow, and his side were now down to ten men for the final ten minutes.

Former Woods striker Mark Nicholls also managed to get his name taken during this incident, but the free-kick came to nothing and young defender Stefan Tomasevic came on to bolster the defence at the expense of Muir. North Greenford were unable to find any way through a determined Woods defence in those closing stages though and the Woods were able to secure the points with another breakaway goal in stoppage-time. It was former North Greenford man Hawkins who raced clear again, and this time he unselfishly laid the ball across to an unmarked Romaine Walker, who gratefully swept the ball home.

It was Northwood’s eighth away win in the league this season but it is at home that they have struggled and they will be looking to improve on that this coming Saturday when Fleet Town visit Chestnut Avenue.