ASHFORD TOWN FC   Saturday 12th October 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Ashford Town 0  Northwood 3  


White 20, Sprague 45+4, Ehui 90

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Paul McCarthy      1 Jake Knight
2 Jim Mann (78m)     2 Ramil Sheriff
3 Qaseem Sotonwa     3 Oliver Sprague (75m)
4 Russell Canderton     4 Mark Burgess
5 Harry Driver     5 Steve Brown
6 Jamie Connor     6 George Nicholas (53m)
7 Joe Lynch     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Perry Luckins (68m)     8 Craig White
9 Mark Gallagher (45+3m)     9 Niko Muir
10 Joe Hughes     10 Dave Lawrence
11 Cyril Ocansey     11 Reece Grant (69m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Kofi Lockhart-Adams     12 Ryan Phillips (75m)
14 Tom Brunton (78m)     14 Rashaun Raphael
15 Robbie Sitch (68m)     15 Aaron McLeish (69m)
16 Harry Roberts     16 Jon-Jo Bates (53m)
17 Tyler Tobin (45+3m)     17 -
      Referee: Kieran Bailey; Assistants: Edward Turner & G Komnsiewicz      
  REPORT by Alan Evans      PHOTOS by James Brown  

Following their high-scoring midweek success, the pressure was on the Woods to maintain that form and notch back-to-back wins for the first time in their inconsistent campaign. Up against them was an Ashford Town side that have also seen many changes to their squad in recent weeks and are yet to settle into any sort of winning form. There was just one change to the starting line-up with Oliver Sprague coming in to play left-back ahead of Ryan Phillips who dropped to the bench.

The Woods had an early scare when new signing Mark Gallagher somehow avoided an offside flag to burst through down the right but he dallied too long and Steve Brown recovered well to clear his cross for a corner.

Then Northwood made inroads into the Ashford half with Joakim Ehui knocking in a cross that found Niko Muir but his shot on the turn was well over the bar. More good work from Ehui produced another dangerous cross and Jim Mann was happy to concede a corner with Reece Grant lurking just behind him. From the resulting corner, Dave Lawrence curled the ball in and goalkeeper Paul McCarthy had to react quickly to tip it over the bar as it looked like beating him; though the referee missed it completely and gave a goal-kick.

The Woods were dominating and both Grant and Ehui had notched off-target efforts before the opening goal arrived after 20 minutes. There was good approach work from the midfield and when Lawrence received it out wide he knocked in a delicious cross which saw Craig White fly in to score from close-range.

Ashford had little to offer in reply and Grant was denied ten minutes later when he was the victim of a doubtful offside flag before Lawrence saw his crisp strike to the near-post kept out by McCarthy. After George Nicholas was booked for an innocuous trip on 32 minutes, Joe Lynch curled the free-kick only just wide of the post but that was the nearest the home side got as Northwood continued to press.

Sprague went close with a free-kick that dipped and flashed only just over the bar but Ashford’s chance of a comeback were dealt a severe blow in the final minute of the first-half. Lawrence was put through down the middle and looked favourite to reach it before McCarthy blocked him just outside the box. The ball ran loose and the referee played advantage but when the chance to score quickly vanished he gave the free-kick. He consulted with his flagging assistant before dismissing the keeper with a red card and leaving the home side with ten men.

Sub keeper Tyler Tobin came on, with Gallagher being the unlucky player to be sacrificed, but his first action was to pick the ball out of the net as Sprague neatly floated the free-kick over the wall and into the unguarded half of the net.
It was a matter of damage limitation for the home side after the break having to play the full forty-five minutes with ten men and it started slowly before the Woods should have added a third on 55 minutes. Sprague knocked in a corner and after Grant saw his header blocked he was first to the loose ball only to slice his shot wide of the post.

Bates returned from his recent suspension to replace Nicholas who was running things close to a second booking and this raised the Northwood tempo once again. After 61 minutes a Sprague cross found Lawrence who hit a fine shot which had goal written all over it but was superbly blocked.  Almost immediately, Ehui got down the right again and pulled a ball back to Lawrence whose shot crashed back off the underside of the crossbar. Grant was again swift to get to the rebound but this time fired straight at Tobin who saved well.

After 69 minutes Grant turned provider for Ehui to cut in but he fired wide of the near post and then the on-loan striker was replaced by Aaron McLeish. An excellent move on 72 minutes saw McLeish knock on an Ehui cross and when Bates dummied the ball, it ran through to Muir who would have scored had Tobin not been alert to the danger and came out to save at his feet.

Phillips replaced the injured Sprague but Ashford were beginning to enjoy plenty of possession but without really threatening the goal of Jake Knight. Russell Canderton got his head to a corner but Brown headed away any danger and the Woods came forward again. After 89 minutes McLeish powered his way forward but delayed his shot too long and Tobin blocked. The ball ran loose and Sheriff, who had done well to support him, put the rebound wide of the target.

But Northwood were not to be denied a third and it was an excellent move that produced it as Lawrence slipped a great ball inside to Phillips who ran on and squared for Ehui to knock in his first goal for the club.
The Tangerines could have scored a minute later when Cyril Ocansey and Joe Hughes combined to set up Lynch but he swept the ball over the top and Knight’s first-ever clean sheet for the club was intact. Ehui might have added another in the final minute as he latched onto Lawrence’s ball but he fired straight at Tobin, who kept it out again.

The Woods return to Short Lane again on Tuesday night for the opening round of the Red Insure Southern League Cup and will be looking to extend their winning run before they have a break of just over a week without a fixture.