NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 9th November 2013   ST IVES TOWN FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Northwood 3  St Ives Town 0   

Murray 27, Muir 36, 86


Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Tomer Sherman     1 Carl Mackney
2 Ramil Sheriff     2 Jason King
3 Oliver Sprague     3 Jordan Lambert
4 Mark Burgess     4 Dan Newman
5 Steve Brown     5 Will Fordham (59m)
6 George Nicholas     6 Jimmy Dean
7 Joakim Ehui     7 David Cobb
8 Craig White     8 Lee Ellison
9 Niko Muir (89m)     9 Jared Cunniff
10 Michael Murray (79m)     10 Dubi Ogbonna (65m)
11 Karl Oliyide (90m)     11 Jon Stead (55m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Ryan Phillips (90m)     12 Dan Banister (65m)
14 James Burgess     14 Stuart Cobb (59m)
15 Jake Knight     15 Avelino Vieira (55m)
16 Dave Lawrence (79m)     16 -
17 Aaron McLeish (89m)     17 -
      Referee: Steve Bates; Assistants: James Killen & Andy Loe      
  REPORT by Alan Evans     PHOTOS by James Brown  

On a soggy pitch, the Woods produced a sublime display to end the unbeaten away record of newly-promoted St. Ives Town with their sixth successive victory which equals their best run of form for over ten years. It was no real surprise that Mark Burgess named a starting line-up that was unchanged from the previous week’s win at Beaconsfield. After an impeccably observed minute’s silence that encompassed both Remembrance Day and the passing of supporter Phil Everett, the two sides both looked to start well in defence of their recent records.
In fact, it was in the midfield that most of the action took place in the early stages with neither side creating that much in front of goal. The Saints tried their luck from distance with a couple of efforts from Jon Stead failing to test goalkeeper Tomer Sherman, who was making his home debut for the Woods.

The final pass was lacking in Northwood’s forays into the St Ives half, but after 26 minutes Will Fordham conceded a free-kick just outside the box with a foul on Niko Muir and Michael Murray, also making his home debut, put the Woods in front with a trademark classy free-kick.

Once ahead, the Woods never looked back and Joakim Ehui was causing plenty of panic in the Saints defence with his forays down the right as he linked up well with Ramil Sheriff and Murray. From his cross on 36 minutes, goalkeeper Carl MacKney spilled his attempt to save and although Muir saw his first effort blocked, the ball ran kindly for him to fire home a second goal.

Northwood would have expected to have to repel the visitors as they looked for a way back into the game after the break but in fact they continued to dominate. MacKney had to get across to palm a sharp shot on the turn from Muir round the post just over a minute into the second-half while the home defence looked strong across the line with both full-backs enjoying great success against tricky wingers.

After 54 minutes, George Nicholas strode forward majestically from midfield and an exchange of passes with Ehui should have given him a chance on goal but the return pass was a fraction too late and he was unable to get any power behind the shot. The Saints made a couple of changes in an effort to turn things around but it had little effect, and more good work from Nicholas led to a cross which was headed over the top by Karl Oliyide.
Another Murray free-kick, aimed for the bottom corner had MacKney scrambling across to push the ball wide of the post as the Woods continued to turn the screw. Soon after, Steve Brown retrieved a free-kick and found Muir in the box whose cross flashed across the box inches away from the outstretched feet of both Murray and Oliyide. Then another corner was met by a free header from Burgess, who headed down but the ball bounced the wrong side of the post.

MacKney saved an Oliver Sprague free-kick at his near post but on 86 minutes he was unable to hold onto a ball in from Ehui and as Oliyide tried to nick it away from him out wide, he hauled him down and the Referee pointed to the spot. Muir confidently slotted home the penalty for his second of the game and to make it 3-0.

There could have been more in the closing stages as St. Ives wilted. MacKney made an excellent save to deny Oliyide’s fine strike and then substitute Dave Lawrence was put through down the right and his cross whistled across the face of goal but again with no-one close enough to convert. Another substitute, Aaron McLeish raced through onto a decisive ball from Craig White in the final minute only to miskick with just the keeper to beat. Then the same player had another half-chance just before the final whistle but this time saw his effort blocked.

The Woods will now go to high-flying Royston Town next Saturday looking to notch a sixth successive league victory which would become their best league run since the promotion season of 1999/2000 when they twice recorded seven league wins back-to-back.