NORTHWOOD FC   Wednesday 3rd April 2013   SLOUGH TOWN FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 2  Slough Town 1   

Muir 27, Grant 94

Martin 7

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 James Reading     1 Jamie Jackson
2 Lee Grant     2 Steve Perkins
3 Ryan Phillips     3 Joe Chandiram (83m)
4 Brad Hewitt     4 Adam Martin
5 Reece Yorke     5 Kyle Anthony
6 Mark Burgess     6 Dave Woozley
7 Jon-Jo Bates (83m)     7 Jake Parsons
8 James Burgess     8 Dave Deeney
9 Niko Muir     9 Ed Smith (70m)
10 Juan Onieva (70m)     10 Ryan O Toole
11 Hallelujah Basmel (94m)     11 Ollie Burgess (70m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Adil Salih     12 Danny Burnell (70m)
14 Craig White (83m)     14 Adam Logie (70m)
15 Travonn St Leonce     15 Sean Fraser
16 Reon Thomas (94m)     16 Danny Murphy (83m)
17 Oliver Hawkins (70m)     18 Ashley Deeney
      Referee: Ian Rathbone; Assistants: K Seckington & M Wetherall      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

The Woods came from behind to notch an excellent home win against a Slough Town side that will now have to target the play-offs as their main ambition for this season. Northwood were weakened by the absence of the rested Scott Raper and holidaying Jerome Federico while Oliver Hawkins and Craig White were both named on the bench carrying knocks from Monday. Lee Grant returned to cover an unaccustomed right-back role, while Mark Burgess was able to call upon twin brother James to play alongside him in central midfield. Niko Muir was back up front alongside recent signing Juan Onieva and youngster Hallelujah Basmel who kept his place in the starting line-up.

Like the Woods, Slough had played a series of games in quick succession and were also missing a couple of key players, but they had more to play for and, after surviving an early Basmel shot which flew over the bar, they took a seventh minute lead. A free-kick was headed on by Dave Woozley and Adam Martin drove an accurate shot across James Reading and inside the post.

It should have settled the visitors, but they found it tough to dominate a Northwood side who were clearly up for the battle and after a period where both defences looked in charge, the Woods were gifted an equaliser after 27 minutes. A corner was only half-cleared and when it was knocked back in, goalkeeper Jamie Jackson flapped and the loose ball cannoned over the line, probably off an unknown Slough defender, but with Niko Muir claiming a touch.

The Rebels tried to respond and a well-delivered free-kick was met by a firm header from Steve Parsons but Reading was well positioned to save comfortably. But as the half wore on, it was Northwood who looked more likely to score, with Muir driving a shot not far wide and then Onieva finding space but seeing his effort blocked by some good defending.

It was much the same at the start of the second half with Basmel causing problems with his pace and Jon Jo Bates running the midfield area. A ball from Bates to Onieva saw the Spaniard turn and seem to be brought down but penalty claims were waved away. After 51 minutes a Grant ball saw Jackson miss his clearance but the Woods were unable to take advantage, and then a great pass from Onieva put Bates through on goal but he fired his shot well over with just the keeper to beat.

Slough were pushing forward in numbers in an attempt to turn the game their way and they went very close on the hour to doing just that. Reading did well to block an Oliver Burgess shot with his legs and when Jake Parsons knocked the loose ball back into the danger area, Ed Smith’s effort was cleared off the line by Brad Hewitt.
Just a minute later, Smith was denied again, this time with Reading keeping out his header and then recovering to push away the follow-up shot from the rebound. The open football continued, with Bates seeing an effort blocked and then Basmel combined with Muir to set up James Burgess, who miskicked well wide.

Substitutions were made after 70 minutes, with both sides introducing their top scorers. For Northwood, Hawkins replaced Onieva while Danny Burnell and Adam Logie came on for Smith and Burgess for the Rebels.

The referee had let the game flow for much of the night with some interesting “tackles” going unpunished, but the industrious Bates finally saw the first and only yellow after 72 minutes. Then Basmel’s pacy run and curling shot flashed not far wide of the upright, before Slough hit back with Martin creating a chance for Burnell whose effort was well cleared by Ryan Phillips.

Slough were still pressing, and Kyle Anthony had a header safely gathered by Reading before White was introduced for Bates on 83 minutes, and it was the substitute who had the next chance when Hawkins knocked a Yorke free-kick to the edge of the box and White poked a shot which was straight at Jackson.

Into stoppage-time it went, with a draw looking most likely but then James Burgess played Basmel in on goal, only for the youngster to be denied by an excellent last-ditch tackle from Anthony. Slough were taking risks and they were punished four minutes into the added period when a corner was cleared and a quick break saw Mark Burgess release Grant down the middle. He had options to either side but chose to take responsibility himself to shoot for goal and despite Jackson getting a hand to it; the ball flew into the top corner.

The Woods were ahead, but still had to survive another three minutes of stoppage-time, and the Rebels did go close when Anthony latched onto a corner and hooked a shot not that far over the top. But in the end it was the Woods who held on to the three hard-earned points and take their tally to sixteen points from their last seven matches. The question is can they raise their game again for the visit to league leaders and title contenders Burnham on Saturday.