Tring Athletic 2  Northwood 3

Saturday 28th July 2012


James Reading
Danny McDonnell
Ronanye Marsh-Brown
Lee Grant
Brad Hewitt
Reece Yorke
Sam Sharples
James Fraser
Garry Senior
Romaine Walker
John Christian
Substitutes (all used)
Scott Raper
Dean Worman
Adamson Ajayi
Kyle Matthews

The Woods just managed to extend their unbeaten pre-season record to six games with this narrow victory at Spartan South Midlands League side Tring Athletic. They went into the match missing strike-force Spencer Bellotti, out with injury, and Oliver Hawkins who was on a week’s holiday, while Greg Phillips took charge of the side as manager Gary Meakin had also slipped away for a short break.

Northwood should have taken the lead after just seven minutes when Lee Grant started a move in his own half before slipping the ball through to James Fraser and running into the area to receive the return. It was an open goal but the ball was slightly behind him and he could only hook it wide. The side was never able to produce the same flowing football that they had the previous weekend at AFC Dunstable, but after 18 minutes Garry Senior laid a neat ball off to John Christian, who saw his stabbed effort blocked by the goalkeeper and then put the loose ball wide of the target.

Romaine Walker went close on a couple of occasions and then the Tring keeper cut out a Ronayne Marsh-Brown cross just before it reached Senior who was waiting to pounce. The opening goal finally came after 32 minutes as Senior chipped the ball across and Fraser rose to head goalwards with the home defender only able to help the ball over the line.

Senior missed out with a flicked header on a Marsh-Brown cross five minutes later and then Tring had their first real effort on goal just before the break with a free-kick that drifted only just wide of the goal. The half finished with Senior setting-up Christian for a low drive which crept inches wide of the post.

Dean Worman was one of several substitutes introduced at half-time, and he almost extended the Woods lead just two minutes later as his header was well blocked by the home keeper. Danny McDonnell also had a shot deflected just over the top but then Tring levelled the scores with the goal of the game after 52 minutes. Left-back Rob Duncan let fly from some 35 yards with a drive that was always beating James Reading and crept in the far top corner of the goal.

Northwood regained the lead just five minutes later, though, as Adamson Ajayi out sped the home defence, marshalled by former Wood Matt Jarvis, and then intelligently cut the ball back to Christian who slotted home from just inside the area. Worman went close again after 69 minutes, getting past two defenders but then seeing the keeper deny him again by pushing his shot onto the post and the ball was cleared.

A clever ball played through the defence by Walker put Ajayi in on goal after 73 minutes but his first touch let him down and the ball rolled through to a grateful ‘keeper. Having dominated for much of the game, the Woods then found themselves only level again a minute later. Reading appeared to have palmed the ball off for a corner when coming out side to meet a long ball and diving at the feet of a Tring forward who then fell over him but the referee gifted the home side a surprise penalty, which George House tucked away to make it 2-2.

Again Northwood responded well, and when Fraser made a quick break through the defence and squared to Ajayi, they should have led again but he rolled the ball past the keeper but also the wrong side of the post. It was after 86 minutes that the Woods finally got their noses in front again and came as a result of a solo run from Walker. He beat two defenders before losing control in the box but Tring failed to clear, and he pounced again to slot past the keeper and secure a 3-2 victory.