NORTHWOOD FC   Tuesday 25th March 2014   ASHFORD TOWN FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 1 Ashford Town 1   

Murray 83

Awofisan 78

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Tyler Tobin
2 James Duncan (84m)     2 Ryan Dearden
3 Oliver Sprague     3 Ben Ewing
4 Mark Burgess     4 Russell Canderton
5 Steve Brown     5 Jack Mullan
6 Craig White     6 Scott Weight
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Samad Kazi (61m)
8 James Burgess (61m)     8 Elliott Jones
9 Karl Oliyide     9 James Awofisan (90m)
10 Michael Murray     10 Conor Moody
11 Jerome Federico     11 Tom Brunton (46m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Dave Lawrence (61m)     12 Jack Beadle (90m)
14 Giles Townsend (84m)     14 Dan Hughes (61m)
15 Tommy Walsh     15 Rhys Price (46m)
16 Niko Muir     16 Jim Mann
17 Dan Daggett     17 Jacob Fuller
      Referee: James Whittaker; Assistants: D Bandara & J Amadori      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  


The Woods dropped more home points after playing out a highly-entertaining 1-1 draw with an improving Ashford Town side that climbed off the bottom by virtue of their point. Berkley Laurencin returned in goal after serving his one-game suspension, but the Woods were missing top scorer Niko Muir once again with an ankle injury that will keep him out for a while. Jerome Federico was restored to the starting line-up with Karl Oliyide switching to the forward line, while Dave Lawrence returned to bolster the substitute’s bench.

The visitors had made steady progress towards safety over the past few weeks and they started with plenty of confidence to provide plenty of competition for the Woods in the first half. Ashford goalkeeper Tyler Tobin was first into the action to keep out an early effort from Oliyide while Tom Brunton headed wide for Ashford. James Owofisan worked a little bit of space despite being put under pressure by the presence of Mark Burgess, which was enough as his shot lacked power and was comfortably taken by Laurencin.

It was after 22 minutes that Northwood went close to taking the lead but defender Jack Mullen was well-placed to block on the line and then Michael Murray swept a shot which flashed just wide of the far post. Five minutes later James Duncan got on the end of an Oliver Sprague cross with a diving header which was wide as the Woods continued to shade the game.

Ashford made the occasional forward move and when a free-kick was knocked down to Conor Moody, he fired well over when he should have hit the target but the Woods still finished the half the better. Murray headed wide and then Tobin saved well before Mark Burgess had a shot blocked.

Both sides upped the tempo after the break with Ehui going close on a couple of early occasions, Murray firing over from a good position and then Federico denied by a good save from Tobin. Northwood were playing some delightful football at times, but having played well and failed to score in the previous two home games, it was getting frustrating and Ashford almost went ahead on the hour as Moody hit a crisp shot that rose and only just cleared the crossbar with Laurencin beaten.

Lawrence replaced James Burgess as the Woods increased their attacking options further, and Federico burst through the Ashford rearguard on 66 minutes only to see his shot blocked by the legs of Tobin.

Having been beaten late on by Beaconsfield Sycob at the weekend, there was definitely a feeling of déjà-vu when Ashford took a shock lead after 78 minutes. Awofisan broke down the left with claims of offside waved away and though a combination of Burgess and Laurencin saw his close-range shot blocked, it was the Ashford player who recovered quickest and knocked the loose ball into an unguarded net.

The lead lasted only five minutes. After Oliyide had seen another effort comfortably saved by Tobin, Russell Canderton was penalised for a foul a few yards outside the penalty box and dead-ball specialist Murray took full advantage to spear his shot past the wall and inside the post.

Northwood took a gamble, throwing defender Steve Brown up front and leaving them short at the back. It gave both sides a real chance of grabbing all three points in the closing stages but all were spurned. The first opportunity came for the visitors as Burgess lost possession and Elliott Jones raced towards goal. He did everything right in taking the ball past Laurencin but with the whole goal to aim at, perhaps with a bit of a bobble, he shinned his effort wide.

Almost immediately Burgess got on the end of a Sprague corner but saw his shot cleared off the line. In stoppage time, Lawrence shot just over after Ehui had cut the ball back to him and in the final minute some great work on the right from Oliyide saw his centre pick out Murray but he was unable to knock the ball in from just a few yards.