RUGBY TOWN   Tuesday 23rd October 2012   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Rugby Town 1  Northwood 2   

Lake-Gaskin 14

Christian 30, Hewitt 71

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 David Bevan     1 James Reading
2 Alex Austin     2 Ricky Rogers
3 Craig Kelly     3 Lee Grant
4 Mason Rowley     4 Brad Hewitt
5 Ed Booth     5 Reece Yorke
6 Robbie Banks     6 John Christian
7 Ellis Myles     7 Jack Hutchinson
8 Sam Youngs     8 Craig White
9 David Kolodynski     9 Oliver Hawkins
10 Seb Lake-Gaskin     10 Dean Worman (67m)
11 Fazel Koriya (79m)     11 Leon Osei (77m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Alex Gudger     12 Ryan Phillips
14 Stephen Palmer     14 James McCluskey
15 Nic Evangelinos (79m)     15 Romaine Walker (77m)
16 Jamel Wilson     16 Adamson Ajayi (67m)
17 Danny Hall     17 -
      Referee: x; Assistants: x & x      
  REPORT by Alan Evans      PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods bounced back from one of their worst performances of the season at Barton Rovers with one their best to win at Rugby Town just three days later as their roller-coaster campaign continued. Changes were made to the team, with Ricky Rogers coming in at right-back in place of Danny McDonnell and Lee Grant replacing Ryan Phillips at left-back. Elsewhere, attackers Romaine Walker and Adamson Ajayi plus midfielder James McCluskey were rested to the bench so in came Craig White, Leon Osei and Dean Worman.

The home side had scored six times against the league leaders Guildford City in their last home league game and they started this contest full of confidence and zipping the ball around on a surface made slick by the constant drizzle. Robbie Banks had already fired just over from distance in the opening minute before a Craig Kelly cross to the far post found David Kolodynski but his volley was blocked. A minute later a defensive lapse saw Fazel Koriya put through on goal but James Reading was out quickly and managed to block his effort with his legs.

There was still only seven minutes on the clock when Reading kept out another shot at his near-post and the Woods finally had an effort themselves soon after as Osei’s long-range strike was always going wide. Northwood were gradually getting a foothold in the game and after forcing a corner, Worman knocked in a good cross and Oliver Hawkins saw his header cleared off the line by Ellis Myles, with Osei unable to turn in the loose ball.

Yet, Rugby then took the lead on 14 minutes as Seb Lake–Gaskin shrugged off a half-hearted challenge from Worman and then let fly from 30 yards with a scorcher of a shot that swerved late and gave Reading no chance. It was a blow but one that never saw heads go down and within a minute another corner fell to Reece Yorke who shot low through a ruck of players but goalkeeper David Bevan saved comfortably.

Rugby were still looking to get forward though and Kelly cut in from the left to shoot for goal but Reading dived across to push the ball wide. Jack Hutchinson was next to turn provider with good approach work and a chip the far post which had Hawkins stretching just too much to guide his header anywhere but wide. It was on the half-hour that the Woods pulled level as Hutchinson found Rogers in space and his cross was flicked on by Hawkins, dummied by Osei and then converted by John Christian following a timely run into the box.

Suddenly the onus was with Northwood and they were almost in front after 37 minutes. Worman curled a free-kick over the wall and Bevan dived to keep it out but the ball ran loose and Osei was quick to fire for goal. The ball took a slight deflection which should have been enough to take the shot past Bevan but the keeper thrust up a strong hand and it was enough to push the ball over the bar. Just before the break, a quick break and a defence-splitting ball put Hawkins through on goal. He ran into the area but with just the ‘keeper to beat, he side-footed a shot just the wrong side of the post.

The second half started with a good run from Hutchinson to the edge of the box and he tumbled under the weight of a tackle but any claims of a penalty were waved away. Rugby were finding it difficult to get past a solid-looking Woods defence and were restricted to just a couple of long-range efforts, one from Sam Youngs never looking likely to worry Reading.

On the hour, the Woods began to make inroads once again and a quick break saw Christian feed Hutchinson and though his square ball found Osei, but he was unable to get a shot on target. Two minutes later Hawkins headed a White cross goalwards but Bevan gathered comfortably and then another good break has Hutchinson hampered on a run across the box with a shirt pull which went ignored.

Ajayi replaced the tiring Worman after 67 minutes and a minute later Bevan had to be on his toes to grab a long-range Christian free-kick as it dropped dangerously under the crossbar. The Woods continued to turn up the pressure with White and Grant starting to get forward well down the left and after 71 minutes they were in front. Christian played a free-kick into the box which was headed down towards goal by Hawkins. As it rose, Brad Hewitt dived in to head it on and Bevan was unable to keep the ball out.

Rugby’s Kolodynski was lucky to avoid a card after reacting to a decision that went against him when fouling Grant and the Woods replaced Osei with Walker for the final fifteen minutes. Some great work involving Ajayi, Walker and Hawkins put Ajayi into the box but his cut-back failed to pick out a Northwood player and the ball was cleared.

Rugby tried to respond in the closing stages. Kolodynski played a ball across to Banks and it sat up nicely for a strike at goal but he drove it well wide and the Woods stormed forward again, looking for the goal to ensure victory. Walker hit a free-kick over the bar and some further sustained pressure led to Christian volleying just wide of the target. After 86 minutes, Grant headed away a dangerous Kolodynski cross under pressure at the near-post and then made a great run towards goal at the other end, ending with a angled drive which flashed just over the bar.

The Woods were still holding on but there was just one flicker of hope for the home side in stoppage-time as a cross picked out substitute Nic Evangelinos in the area and as he teed up a strike at goal, Grant was there again with another timely interception.