DUNSTABLE TOWN FC   Saturday 21st December 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Dunstable Town 3  Northwood 2  

Scorers: Watkins 24,
Christie 39, Marsh 56

Muir 9, Brown 38

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Jamie Head     1 Jake Knight
2 Joe Bruce     2 Jack Pattison
3 Danny Murphy (94m)     3 Oliver Sprague
4 Leon Cashman     4 Mark Burgess
5 Danny Ryan     5 Steve Brown
6 Moses Olalaye     6 Tommy Walsh (74m)
7 Adam Watkins (85m)     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Tony Burnett     8 Craig White
9 Lee Roache     9 Niko Muir
10 Bernard Christie     10 James Burgess
11 Chris Marsh     11 Karl Oliyide
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Nathan Frater     12 Tom Pegrum (74m)
14 Tony Fontanelle     14 Charlie Parker
15 Taishan Griffith (90m)     15 Giles Townsend
16 Harrison Carr (85m)     16 -
17       17 -
      Referee: Kevin Seckington; Assistants: Paul Cooper & A Humphries      
  REPORT by Alan Evans      PHOTOS by James Brown  



The Woods twice took the lead in this tough away fixture at league leaders Dunstable Town but the home side battled back and notched a narrow victory to record their twelfth successive league win.

Mark Burgess faced several selection problems, with Dave Lawrence, James Duncan and Michael Murray all playing Futsal in Sweden, adding to Ramil Sheriff and George Nicholas’s injury problems, while goalkeeper Tomer Sherman cried off on the morning of the match. Our opponents only added to that shortage of players by preventing the valid transfer of former Wood Jerome Federico from Dunstable by wilfully refusing to sign the transfer form in good time; a particularly unsporting and calculated gesture that will long be remembered.

It meant Jake Knight had to take his place in goal despite still carrying a hamstring injury, while there were starting debuts for Jack Pattison at right-back and Tommy Walsh, the son of former Northwood manager John Walsh, in midfield. Pattison is a former Exeter City and Hayes & Yeading youth defender who has been playing for Kings Langley while Walsh was promoted from the reserves. James Burgess was pushed up into a rare forward role, while three other reserve players were named on the bench; none of them with any first team experience, so it really was a scratch side that the Woods were taking to the league leaders, who were missing a couple of regulars themselves through suspensions.

Yet, in difficult wet and windy conditions, it was Northwood who started the better and Niko Muir had already gone close twice before Karl Oliyide’s jinking run into the box ended with Leon Cashman’s trip and the Referee pointing to the spot. Top scorer Muir had no problems putting the Woods ahead from the penalty for a seventh minute lead.

Three minutes later, Knight was brought into his first action, diving to push a good strike from Bernard Christie wide though Northwood were still looking for goals and James Burgess combined well with Muir to put Craig White in on goal but he shot straight at goalkeeper Jamie Head.

Dunstable gradually started to press forward, with Chris Marsh making inroads down the left but Knight was equal to a couple of efforts on goal from Marsh and then Adam Watkins. But after 25 minutes another run from Marsh into the box was ended by a mistimed Mark Burgess challenge and another correct penalty decision. Watkins levelled from the spot-kick and it was back to all to play for.

The Woods dug deep and responded well again, counter-attacking with pace and determination and ten minutes later they won a free-kick twenty yards from goal. Oliver Sprague hit a clever angled ball which caught out the home defence and Oliyide looked certain to score only to see his effort come back off the crossbar. The bounce was kind but he also headed the rebound back against the bar yet there was still no Dunstable defender reacting and Steve Brown stole in to head home past the helpless keeper.

Once again, Northwood were unable to hold on to their lead, and this time it was just two minutes later that a corner from Marsh was helped on, and an unmarked Christie helped himself by sliding the ball home to make it 2-2.

There was still plenty to play for in the second half, and the Woods should have regained the lead in the very first minute as James Burgess was played in following a defensive error but he lofted his shot wide of the target.

But Marsh was still causing a threat on the left and he looked likely to score when he got into the box after 52 minutes, only to be robbed of the ball by some good defending by Pattison. Five minutes later, Dunstable were awarded a free-kick wide on the left and Marsh curled the ball in to devastating effect as defenders failed to clear and the ball crept in at the far post.

The Woods rarely threatened after finding themselves a goal behind and the home side looked for more goals as Danny Ryan headed over from a corner taken by former Woods defender Danny Murphy, while Knight saved well to deny the hard-working Lee Roache.

Pattison blocked a goalbound effort from Christie in the closing stages as Northwood threw caution to the wind and Brown up front in an effort to find an equaliser. They went close from a corner which dropped in the danger-zone but neither Brown nor Oliyide could get the needed touch.

Substitute Harrison Carr did well late on to find space for a shot that curled and Knight was across to push his effort wide but it was Dunstable that held on to the narrow victory.

The Woods now hope that the bad weather will improve for them to stage the Boxing Day fixture against local rivals North Greenford United. This is the first of four matches scheduled for a ten-day period which also sees them play play-off contenders Daventry Town and Slough Town along with the improving Potters Bar Town.