NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 22nd March 2014   BEACONSFIELD FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 0 Beaconsfield 1   


Bates 82

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Roberto Stocchi     1 James Reading
2 James Duncan     2 Lee Grant
3 Oliver Sprague     3 Craig Carby
4 Mark Burgess     4 Brad Hewitt
5 Steve Brown     5 Reece Yorke
6 Craig White     6 Jordan Ajanlekoko
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Tom O'Regan
8 James Burgess     8 Jon-Jo Bates (93m)
9 Niko Muir (64m)     9 Kofi Lockhart-Adams
10 Michael Murray     10 James McCluskey (64m)
11 Karl Oliyide     11 Zak Joseph (75m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Giles Townsend     12 Ryan Phillips (75m)
14 Tommy Walsh     14 Danny McDonnell
15 Jerome Federico (64m)     15 Tom McGarry (93m)
16 Dan Daggett     16 Shaun Owens (64m)
17 -     17 Aaron Morgan
      Referee: Stuart Cheek; Assistants: Chris Felton & Peter Nagy      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  

A late tap-in from Jon-Jo Bates stole all three points for the visitors after the Woods had dominated for most of the ninety minutes. Northwood gave a debut to their tenth different goalkeeper of the season with Sardinian-born Roberto Stocchi coming in for the suspended Berkley Laurencin. James Burgess returned for his first action for a while as George Nicholas also sat it out with suspension, and Michael Murray took the place of the unavailable Dave Lawrence. The Beaconsfield side of course contained a whole host of former Northwood players – seven of them in the starting line-up – which made of an interesting comparison.

The Woods made a bright start and Joakim Ehui was first to test James Reading in goal after just three minutes but the keeper saved comfortably. Two minutes later, Niko Muir set up Murray for a shot which flew well over but Sycob struggled to get a foothold in the game. After 18 minutes, Muir made inroads down the left and went for goal with a sharp angled drive to the top corner but Reading made an excellent save to push the ball away.

Two minutes later Steve Brown picked up an unnecessary booking for obstruction which will rule him out of two matches in April while James McCluskey was also yellow-carded for a foul on James Burgess soon after. After 39 minutes Murray worked some space and got in a good shot that a diving Reading kept out and also held onto with Karl Oliyide looking to pounce on any loose ball. Two minutes later Oliver Sprague played a neat ball into Murray but this time his shot drifted just wide of the target.

The half ended with another booking, this time for Jordan Ajanlekoko for the Rams, who had looked totally ineffective in a dull first half.

Things livened up in the second half as the Woods raised their tempo and on 53 minutes Ehui did well at the by-line to get ahead of Craig Carby before being clipped from behind for a clear penalty. Murray having scored with his last effort, took responsibility for the spot-kick and he hit it strongly enough but it was a nice height for Reading who dived the right way and pushed the ball over the bar with a strong hand.

Three minutes later, Sprague curled an inswinging corner that had Reading reacting late but still managing to stretch and tip the ball over the bar. The Woods continued to dominate but lost Muir to an ankle injury after a poor challenge from Brad Hewitt forced him out of the game. Hewitt was booked and Jerome Federico came on to replace Muir with Oliyide moving up to a forward role. Then, when Reading mistimed a punched clearance, the ball went straight up in the air and Brown got his head to it as it came down but his effort went the wrong side of the post.

After 73 minutes, there was another great opportunity for the Woods to take the lead as a quick break saw Oliyide flick the ball into the path of Federico who streaked down the middle. He had options either side but chose to go for goal himself with a left-footed effort that Reading saved again. This time the ball ran loose and Oliyide recovered it but he also went for goal with others waiting for a cut-back and it was blocked. Both decisions were arguably the wrong ones.

Finally, the visitors went close themselves as Bates got the better of James Duncan down the left and knocked in a cross with was flicked goalwards by Kofi Lockhart-Adams but Stocchi was down to save well. A minute later, Brown would have been relieved to see his wayward attempted clearance to be cleared away by Craig White but the Woods were still looking most likely to win the game. After 77 minutes a well-worked corner from Sprague saw Brown dummy the ball and Murray swept a shot that just cleared the crossbar.

Substitute Shaun Owens tested Stocchi with a direct shot that the debut keeper kept out with an effective though unorthodox double-punch, but Beaconsfield then grabbed an unlikely lead after 82 minutes. Tom O’Regan persisted with a run down the right and got a cross in despite the attentions of Duncan and Mark Burgess, with Bates arriving in space to poke the ball into an empty net.

Man of the Match Reading had the final say when he got across to make a secure save from a late Murray free-kick to ensure his side went home with all three improbable points.

There are two more home games coming up for Northwood, firstly against bottom club Ashford Town (Middlesex), who are in a real battle for survival, on Tuesday night and then next Saturday when leaders Rugby Town arrive at Chestnut Avenue.