NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 10th August 2013   MAIDENHEAD UTD FC

Pre-season friendly

  Northwood 1  Maidenhead United 2   

Sprague 56

Pritchard 32, Mendy 85

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 James Reading     1 Billy Lumley
2 Danny McDonnell (72m)     2 Bobby Behzadi
3 Ryan Phillips (72m)     3 Leon Solomon
4 Brad Hewitt (53m)     4 Wada Ahmidi
5 Steve Brown     5 Curtis Ujah
6 Craig White (79m)     6 Matt Ruby
7 James McCluskey     7 Danny Green
8 Jon-Jo Bates     8 Danny Brown
9 Garry Senior (53m)     9 Richard Pacquette
10 Niko Muir (72m)     10 Adrian Clifton
11 Sonny Bailey Aird (53m)     11 Harry Pritchard
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Oliver Sprague (53m)     12 Michael Malcolm
14 Jokim Ehui (53m)     14 Tony Mendy
15 Luke Wells (72m)     15 Michael Pook
16 Rahaun Raphael (72m)     16 Reece Tilson-Lascaris
17 Lee Close (72m)     17 Jonathan Hippolyte
18 James Burgess (53m)     18 Tom Gilbey
19 Mark Burgess (79m)     19 Elvijs Putnins
20 Garry Malone     20 -
      Referee: Chris Williams; Assistants: Mark Sennett & Ian Skull      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods brought the curtain down on their pre-season campaign with this competitive contest against Conference South side Maidenhead United, who are a well-established club some two levels above Northwood in the non-League Pyramid. That showed for much of the first half in this game as the Magpies used their power and size, combined with some slick passing, to put the Woods on the back-foot for much of the opening stages.

Steve Brown returned to the back-line after missing a couple of weeks through injury to work on the important partnership with skipper Brad Hewitt at the back, and the duo had plenty of work to do alongside full-backs Danny McDonnell and Ryan Phillips, who were also fully tested.

Maidenhead probed forward through the width and pace of Danny Green and Harry Pritchard, both linking up well with the powerful former QPR striker Richard Pacquette, son of former Woods favourite Henry. Green had an early chance but lacked a finishing touch and then, after Hewitt had blocked one effort, the ball was worked across to Pritchard whose strike was kept out by the feet of goalkeeper James Reading.

Hewitt made another important clearance under pressure from Pacquette before Northwood finally recorded an effort on goal themselves with Niko Muir working some space by side-stepping former Woods defender Matt Ruby and firing a crisp shot which was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Billy Lumley.

Reading kept out a Green shot to his near post after 26 minutes but six minutes later Maidenhead did get their noses in front when a curling centre from Pritchard flew over Reading and dropped inside the far post. Former Woods youngster Danny Brown is now a firm fixture in the Magpies midfield, and he was as industrious as ever and his ball out wide to Green saw an excellent cross pick out Adrian Clifton but he headed wide of the target.

Still in the game as the second half commenced, the Woods began to get more of a hold in the midfield area after the break and then replaced Hewitt, Garry Senior and Sonny Bailey-Aird with James Burgess, Joakim Ehui and Oliver Sprague. Within two minutes, the youngster Sprague made his presence felt by breaking down the left and cutting into the box to fire home an equaliser.

Clearly buoyed by the goal, the Woods attacked more frequently and Jon-Jo Bates missed a good chance when he raced onto a through-ball but then delayed his shot and was crowded out. Phillips then let fly from distance and the ball flew only just wide of the target.

Maidenhead made most of their substitutions with twenty minutes remaining with the Woods also changing a few more of their personnel but still the home side pressed and Bates blasted a shot well over from a difficult position.
It could have gone either way at this stage but in fact chances were few and far between in the final ten minutes. Northwood’s opportunity came when substitute Luke Wells twisted and turned his way into the box only to poke his shot wide when faced with the keeper to beat. But it was the Magpies who gained the victory when a good ball was fired in from the left and unmarked substitute Tony Mendy neatly headed home an 86th minute winner.

It was a good workout for both sides, and they can now concentrate on their opening league fixtures. The Woods travel to title-favourites Slough Town while Maidenhead United are away to newly-promoted Whitehawk.