NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 26th October 2013   LEIGHTON TOWN FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 4  Leighton Town 2   

Nicholas 10, Oliyide 39,
Muir 45, Bates 93

Bush 76, Gallant 83

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Jake Knight     1 Bradley Kirkwood
2 Ramil Sheriff     2 Grant Fryer (46m)
3 Oliver Sprague     3 Jake Bewley
4 Mark Burgess     4 Charlie Cunningham
5 Steve Brown     5 Sam Chapman
6 George Nicholas     6 Ryan Plowright
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Keiron Doughty
8 Craig White (60m)     8 Jamie O'Grady
9 Niko Muir     9 Ben Gallant
10 Dave Lawrence (63m)     10 Shane Bush
11 Karl Oliyide     11 Jerry Lyons (46m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Ryan Phillips     12 Craig Maisiri (46m)
14 Rashaun Raphael     14 Brendan Mailey
15 Jon Jo Bates (60m)     15 -
16 Aaron McLeish (63m)     16 Enzo Silvestri (46m)
17 -     17 -
      Referee: Chris Bodell; Assistants: Dan Cohen & Keith Kennett      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  


The Woods notched their fourth successive victory with another high-scoring victory over struggling Leighton but they were made to battle through to the end by a spirited second-half fightback from the visitors.After 11 days without a game, Northwood named a side unchanged from the previous league game at Ashford apart from a debut for recent recruit Karl Oliyide who took over from Reece Grant, returned to Wealdstone after his short loan spell.

Oliyide, a former Oxhey Jets youngster, was released by the Reading Academy in the summer has just returned from a short spell playing for Icelandic side Leiknir Reykjavik and looked particularly impressive in the first half.
It was Leighton who struck the first blow as Ryan Plowright latched onto a loose ball and an excellent strike crashed back off the crossbar with goalkeeper Jake Knight well beaten after just four minutes. But the Woods soon settled and six minutes later good work from Niko Muir saw him find George Nicholas on the edge of the box, and he swept the ball just inside the post to put Northwood in front.

Two minutes later, Muir’s shot on the turn was well saved by goalkeeper Brad Kirkwood and then Oliyide made his mark with shot that was deflected up and onto the crossbar before being scrambled away. Leighton had a chance again on 15 minutes as Shane Bush helped on a free-kick and Ben Gallant was in on goal but his attempted chip was taken high by Knight.

The Woods pushed forward again and took control with Oliyide setting up Nicholas for another chance which again struck the bar and then Oliver Sprague tried his luck from a free-kick but the ball cleared the target. After 25 minutes, the hard-working Dave Lawrence was given the next free-kick and his blistering shot was pushed over the top by Kirkwood and from the resulting corner Steve Brown headed back across goal, Muir knocked in towards Nicholas but he was unable to get a strike in on goal.

The Woods notched a second goal on 39minutes when Oliyide received the ball on the left and sped past his marker before cutting in and firing home across the keeper to open his Northwood account. Knight made a fine save to deny Keiran Doughty after 41 minutes but there was still time for things to get worse for Leighton before the break. It was Oliyide who caused the damage again with a more direct run down the middle being ended by a rash tackle from Sam Chapman and a penalty was awarded. Muir stepped up to tuck away his spot-kick and make the half-time score a comfortable 3-0.

The visitors showed that they were in no mood for simply sitting back and taking the defeat in the second-half though making a half-time substitution by replacing the ineffective Jerry Lyons with Craig Maisiri and they looked more balanced from the restart. An early free-kick from Jake Bewley was pushed out by Knight and Doughty fired the loose ball wide under pressure. Then a Gallant header was cleared off the line by Sprague as Leighton began to make an impression up front.

Lawrence has a low shot that fizzed goalwards and was well-saved by Kirkwood, before the influential Craig White was replaced by Jon-Jo Bates in midfield. Lawrence then set-up Muir for an effort which was fired over, but he then succumbed to injury with Aaron McLeish coming on up front.

With 25 minutes left it still looked as if the Woods were going to hold on comfortable but they were struggling to get any control of the game and when Doughty set up Gallant for a good strike, Knight had to be at his best to keep it out. However, on 76 minutes Leighton had a lifeline as a long ball saw Knight hesitate as he came out to clear and Shane Bush poked the ball under him to reduce the arrears.

The visitors continued to dominate the closing stages and when Nicholas was caught in possession, Leighton countered quickly and racing down the middle, Gallant showed his prowess in front of goal to slot home a second. Suddenly it was game on for Leighton, who had their tails up and Gallant had a half-chance to equalise, latching onto a loose ball in the box but he fired the wrong side of the post.

Time was ticking away, and in the fourth minute of stoppage-time, Jon-Jo Bates received a throw-on some thirty-five yards from goal and struck a sweet half-volley that arrowed into the top corner to give Kirkwood no chance and secure all three points.

The win takes the Woods into the top half of the table and continues their recovery from a poor start to the season. They will be looking to continue their form when they visit former manager Gary Meakin’s Beaconsfield Sycob side next Saturday. Sycob’s side could include a number of ex-Northwood players in James Reading, Brad Hewitt, Yiadom Yeboah, Craig Carby (Vargas), John Christian, Jack Hutchinson, Aaron Lansiquot, James McCluskey, Wayne O’Sullivan, Garry Malone or even Kyle Matthews. With another current Woods player the latest in a long-line of unwelcome and somewhat destructive seven-day approaches from the Buckinghamshire club, it could be an interesting contest a short journey up the M40.