ASHFORD TOWN FC   Tuesday 15th October 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Red Insure League Cup First Round

  Ashford Town 1  Northwood 3  

Lynch 78

Muir 46, 66, 88

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Tyler Tobin     1 Jake Knight
2 Jim Mann (71m)     2 Ramil Sheriff
3 Perry Luckins     3 Rashaun Raphael (64m)
4 Russell Canderton     4 Mark Burgess
5 Harry Roberts     5 Steve Brown
6 Harry Driver     6 Craig White
7 Joe Lynch     7 Joakim Ehui (40m)
8 Adam Willis (75m)     8 Jon-Jo Bates
9 Mark Gallagher     9 Niko Muir
10 Joe Hughes (71m)     10 Dave Lawrence
11 Tom Brunton     11 Reece Grant (71m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Kofi Lockhart-Adams (71m)     12 Ryan Phillips (40m)
14 Cyril Ocansey (71m)     14 George Nicholas
15 Robbie Sitch     15 Michael Murray (64m)
16 Qaseem Sotonwa (75m)     16 Aaron McLeish (71m)
17 Paul McCarthy     17 James Duncan
      Referee: Paul Johnson; Assistants: Sunny Gill & Dan Simpson      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

Having won comfortably at Short Lane in the league just a few days earlier, this Red Insure League Cup game at the same venue was expected to be much tighter, and in fact it produced a really entertaining game which could have gone either way. Rashaun Raphael came in for his starting debut at left-back after Oliver Sprague was injured at the weekend and Jon-Jo Bates returned, originally in place of the rested Craig White but in fact George Nicholas pulled up before the game so White started alongside Bates.

The home side started really well with Joe Lynch causing problems down the right. He forced Jake Knight into an early save with Ramil Sheriff clearing the loose ball, and then seeing another effort clip the post. A poor Northwood free-kick and a quick counter from Ashford saw Joe Hughes in loads of space. He cut it and hit a good strike but the ball flew just over the bar. Knight was back in action a couple of minutes later to save another Lynch effort after he latched onto a headed clearance from Sheriff.

Reece Grant, playing his last game of a loan spell, beat his man but shot wide for Northwood’s first effort on goal and Niko Muir latched onto a good ball from Dave Lawrence but saw his chance blocked by some solid defending.

The Tangerines hit back again with Hughes getting the better of Raphael and Lynch turned on his ball to fire towards goal again but Knight was again on hand to save. After 23 minutes, the home side made their dominance count as Tom Brunton showed good pace down the left and was tripped by Grant for a clear penalty. Hughes stepped up for the spot-kick but Knight got down to keep it out and the ball was scrambled away to keep the scores level.

The Woods began to get more into the game in the next twenty minutes with Ryan Phillips coming on for the injured Joakim Ehui and after Knight had denied Lynch yet again, it was Northwood who had the better chances towards the break. Phillips floated a free-kick just wide of the target and then Bates showed good skill to get into the box but Tyler Tobin saved his shot.

Just twenty seconds into the second period, the Woods crept in front as Raphael provided a good cross from the left and Muir was on hand to convert from close-range. Ashford looked to get back into the game quickly but Knight was on hand to save yet again from a Lynch free-kick.

There was generally less pace in the second half and the Woods gave a debut to Michael Murray as a substitute after 64 minutes to try to add a bit of height to their attack. The home side continued to push though, gambling by leaving some space at the back but Knight made a double-save to keep out two close-range efforts from Mark Gallagher.

But they were then caught out as Knight’s goal-kick was helped on by Murray and Muir raced down the middle to notch his second of the game. Grant should have added a third two minutes later after Murray headed a Muir cross back across goal but he steered his effort wide of the post and was then replaced by Aaron McLeish.

Muir was next to go close with a shot on the turn after Murray had picked him out with a free-kick but it flew just over and then McLeish got through on goal only to have his shot well-saved by Tobin out at his feet.

Ashford had deserved a goal for their efforts and it came after 78 minutes when a corner was headed back across goal and Lynch pounced to sweep the ball in from close-range. Their chance to equalise came after 86 minutes. Firstly, Adam Willis’s free-kick was flicked goalwards by the head of Russell Canderton but Knight was across to push the ball wide for a corner. From that, it resulted in an almighty scramble on the goalmouth with Gallagher and Hughes but seeing efforts blocked but eventually he put the ball wide of the post.

It was all over a minute later as Lawrence played a neat ball into the box and McLeish was sandwiched between Harry Driver and Brunton with the referee pointing to the spot. Muir was given the chance of a second hat-trick inside a week from the penalty but Tobin guessed right and kept out his effort, only for Muir to follow-up and score from the loose ball. The Woods top scorer had two more efforts on goal in the closing-stages, one following an excellent ball from Phillips, but both were blocked.

Ashford will declare themselves unlucky not to have got more from this cup-tie but it is Northwood that move into the next round.