LEIGHTON TOWN FC   Saturday 15th February 2014   NORTHWOOD FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Leighton Town 1  Northwood 3  

Scorer: Chapman 43

Oliyide 34, 45,
J Burgess 38

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Matt Griggs     1 Dave Lawrence
2 Grant Fryer     2 James Duncan
3 Grant Bewley     3 Oliver Sprague
4 Kristian Stephen     4 Mark Burgess
5 Sam Chapman     5 Steve Brown
6 Sean Bishop     6 George Nicholas (84m)
7 Ben Gallant     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Warren Plowright     8 James Burgess
9 Gareth Chendlik (46m)     9 Niko Muir
10 Shane Bush     10 Karl Oliyide
11 Jack Downes (79m)     11 Jerome Federico (82m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Enzo Silvestri (46m)     12 Tommy Walsh (84m)
14 Dom Marsala     14 Giles Townsend
15 Craig Maisiri (79m)     15 Craig White (82m)
16 -     16 Simon Huggett
17 -     17 -
      Referee: John Steel; Assistants: Daniel Hanna & Paul McVey      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  


It proved quite a strange day for Woods’ striker Dave Lawrence who celebrated his 29th birthday not with a goal, but by playing as an emergency goalkeeper after a string of late problems left Northwood without a recognised keeper for the match. It was quite a surprise that the overnight wind had dried out the pitch at Bell Close so a planned friendly against Boreham Wood was cancelled and the Woods made the journey up to Bedfordshire in search of more league points.

The home side had found a bit of form in recent matches and they started with a bit of confidence but the Woods defence worked hard and succeeded in protecting their stand-in keeper. A quick yellow card apiece showed that the referee was keen to rule by punishment rather than talk and a string of free-kicks meant that neither side was able to create much in front of goal.

It was after 27 minutes that the first real effort on goal arrived, with Jerome Federico cutting in from the left and across goal before his shot had goalkeeper Matt Griggs going down slowly to save and then recover the loose ball. It was the start of a good spell of pressure from the Woods. Oliver Sprague’s cross forced Griggs into palming the ball off for a corner and from that, the ‘keeper missed his attempted punch and Steve Brown almost converted at the far post.

It was after 33 minutes that Northwood opened the scoring as Karl Oliyide showed some clever footwork from wide on the left and squeezed a shot past the keeper despite a gallant attempt to clear off the line from Grant Bewley. Four minutes later Niko Muir made a fine run and measured pass to put Federico into the box and he was caught from behind by Sam Chapman as he shaped to play the ball. A penalty was the result, but leading scorer Muir smacked his spot-kick against the crossbar. Thankfully, James Burgess was quickest to react and the ball bounced nicely for him to head the ball back past Griggs and double the lead. It was only his second-ever Northwood goal with the other coming almost fifteen years ago in April 1999 at Abingdon Town!

The home side battled back, though, and scored with their first effort on target after 43 minutes as some good approach work from Sean Bishop saw Jack Downes knock a ball down and Chapman fired home to give Lawrence no chance.

If Leighton had managed to maintain the scoreline to the half-time break, it may have given them plenty of hope for the second half, but the Woods stormed straight back with a ball releasing Oliyide, played onside according to the assistant referee by a red shirt on the far side. The young attacker raced on, with two touches and then a firm strike past Griggs for his second goal of the game and his tenth of the season.

After Griggs stretched and tipped over a deflected free-kick from Oliver Sprague soon after the restart, Leighton attempted to rally with Downes chipping a shot well wide and then Fryer firing a free-kick that clipped the crossbar.

The Woods still looked dangerous on the break and a poor ball from Bishop saw Oliyide feed Federico whose good strike was well saved by Griggs. After 62 minutes Muir slipped an excellent ball for the speedy Oliyide to run onto again but he missed out on a hat-trick when blasting his shot well over.

Northwood were dominating but lacking a finish as Federico shot wide of the near post and then George Nicholas fired over but the game was becoming more fractious as it progressed.

Leighton substitute Craig Maisiri was introduced after 79 minutes, but he was only on the field for three minutes as he was sent-off for what was deemed as an attempted stamp on Sprague who seemed to have been targeted by the home side for some rough treatment.

Against ten men, there was never any chance of the Woods letting the three points slip as the defence continued to perform well and restrict any real test of Lawrence’s goalkeeping abilities.