NORTH GREENFORD   Monday 26th August 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  North Greenford 0  Northwood 1  


Senior 20

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Lee Pearce     1 Jake Knight
2 Charlie Defty     2 Orlando Rodrigues
3 Daryl Brown     3 Ryan Phillips
4 Louis Stead (36m)     4 James Burgess
5 Carlton Stewart     5 Steve Brown
6 Danny Bennell     6 Craig White
7 Aaron Silcott (67m)     7 George Nicholas
8 Tommy Cameron     8 Jon-Jo Bates
9 Anthony O'Connor     9 Oliver Sprague (73m)
10 Omar Vassell (73m)     10 Garry Senior (94m)
11 Lorenzo Ferrari     11 Joakim Ehui (78m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Harry Walker (73m)     12 Niko Muir (78m)
14 Anton Robinson (67m)     14 Luke Wells (94m)
15 David Taylor (36m)     15 Sonny Bailey-Aird
16 -     16 Rashaun Raphael (73m)
17 -     17 Danny McDonnell
      Referee: Jon Creswick; Assistants: Nick McKenzie & Paul Andrews      
  REPORT by Alan Evans      PHOTOS by James Brown  

The Woods put the memory of two successive home defeats behind them with a big Bank Holiday derby-day victory at Middlesex rivals North Greenford United. Manager Mark Burgess made three changes from the side that had been well beaten by leaders Daventry Town two days earlier with Garry Senior replacing the unavailable Ronnel Dennis while both Oliver Sprague and Orlando Rodrigues came in for starting debuts with Niko Muir and Danny McDonnell given a rest on the bench.

The home side had enjoyed two excellent results over the previous well with draws, albeit after being in winning positions until late in the game, at highly-fancied Royston Town and Rugby Town so another tough battle was expected.

Yet, the Woods came out full of energy and dominated much of the first-half. In the very first minute, Joakim Ehui stormed down the right flank and although he over-hit his cross, it was recovered by Sprague. After a neat exchange of passes between, Jon-Jo Bates went for goal and after his effort was blocked Ehui pounced on the loose ball but fired over the top.

A few minutes later, Sprague combined with Ryan Phillips and cut the ball back to Ehui but this time his effort was deflected wide for a corner. The pressure continued and when Steve Brown headed down a Phillips free-kick, Bates looked to have a great chance but again some last ditch defending blocked the ball for a corner. From that, James Burgess got a header in on target but goalkeeper Lee Pearce was more than equal to it.

Pearce wasn’t so sure of himself at the next corner which saw him drop the ball into the danger area but there was no-one on hand to take advantage. Finally, Northwood made their dominance count after 20 minutes. Bates picked up the ball in midfield and slotted a great ball down the flank for Ehui to race onto. He kept in front of his marker and knocked in a simple square-ball that Garry Senior swept home to give the Woods the lead.

Three minutes later another Bates shot on goal took a deflection but though it wasn’t enough to wrong-foot Pearce in goal, the Woods were still in control all over the park with former Wood Aaron Silcott a shade lucky to avoid a booking after a series of poor tackles.

A free-kick pumped into the box after 26 minutes led to a bit of panic around the Northwood box but the danger was cleared and the home side made a 36th minute substitution, replacing Louis Stead with David Taylor. It steadied things a little for North Greenford but the Woods remained on top to half-time with Jake Knight looking assured in goal and the defence holding out solidly.

It was the Blues that began the second half with a better tempo and Knight was brought into action to make early stops from both Silcott and Anthony O’Connor. O’Connor turned provider soon after, cutting in from the left and firing the ball across the box but there was no-one there to apply the required touch. Silcott then robbed Bates of the ball but lacked composure and shot well wide of the target.

The Woods began to get a hold again and George Nicholas played Sprague into the box after 56 minutes. He cut the ball back neatly into the path of Bates but he shot wide. Almost immediately, a defensive error gave Bates another sniff at goal but though he raced into the box, the bulky figure of Pearce spread himself well and blocked his effort.

It was on the hour that the Blues had their best effort on goal as Nicholas lost out to Lorenzo Ferrari and the wingman raced forward to hit a fine shot but Knight was equal to it, diving across to push the ball across goal and wide for a corner. Back came Northwood with Senior close to getting a touch after Pearce had spilled the ball following good work from Craig White and Ehui.

Senior also tried his luck from distance with a long-range volley that flashed only just wide before flicking a ball into the path of Bates who burst into the box only to blast his shot just over the bar. The Woods were finishing strongly with Senior involved in much of the attacking play. A good run and cross almost presented Ehui with a goalscoring opportunity and then, after Muir had replaced Ehui, another cut back from Senior to Bates led to a wayward strike that Muir almost managed to head in at the far post.

Northwood continued to press but were still put under a bit of late pressure from some long balls pumped into the box but Knight dominated in the air and Omar Vassell headed wide from the home side’s only half-chance.

The Woods have now notched two away wins without conceding a goal, a complete contrast to their performances at home but they will need to turn things around on Saturday when they start their FA Cup campaign with AFC Rushden & Diamonds coming to Northwood Park for a Preliminary Round fixture.