Northwood 0  Basingstoke Town 1

Saturday 11th March 2023


1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 James Gurteen    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Carl Stewart (71m)    
5 Luke Tingey ©    
6 Harry Gallagher (68m)    
7 Shane Cojocarel (80m)    
8 Teddy Stacey    
9 Gareth Chendlik    
10 Dan Williams    
11 Micah Jackson    
12 Junior Paiva (68m)    
14 Josh Helmore (80m)    
15 Romario Jonas    
16 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway (71m)    
17 Brandon Kalu    

Basingstoke: Paul Strudley, Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Callum Winchcombe, Simon Dunn , Billy Upton, Scott Armsworth, Bradley Wilson (Brody Peart 90m), Benjamin Cook (James Clark 83m ), Paul Hodges, George Reid (Dandre Brown 90m), Sam Argent


League Leaders Basingstoke Town clocked up their 14th successive win to maintain their lead at the top of the table but it was only by the narrowest of margins in front of a sizeable crowd at the Skyline Roofing Stadium. The Woods were without Keagan Cole but could welcome back Andy Lomas and James Gurteen after illness and injury respectively to bolster a defence which had managed three successive clean-sheets over the previous eleven days.

But the Hampshire side began in confident fashion and their pace and width caused a few issues for the Woods defence before they grabbed an 18th minute lead. A corner was headed out of the box and then a shot deflected off Gurteen and looped up to where Ben Cook took advantage of hesitation from Andrew McCorkell to cleverly hook home from close-range.

Two minutes later, the visitors had a chance for a second but McCorkell made a good blocking save to deny Paul Hodges in front of goal before the Woods started to get a foothold in the game and Gareth Chendlik should have done better when receiving the ball wide of goal but he sliced it well wide.

‘Stoke’s Brad Wilson was the division’s leading scorer at the start of the game (now replaced by Walton’s Eddie Simon) and he flashed a shot across the goal and wide before Micah Jackson had a great chance for Northwood to level but his effort was even more wayward.

So, the visitors held the advantage at the break but after the interval the Woods matched their opponents from the start and Dan Williams was first to register a shot on target, though it lacked the power to really test visiting goalkeeper Paul Strudley who saved comfortably.

PHOTOS by James Brown

Basingstoke remained dangerous on the break with Wilson missing with a couple of hopeful strikes while having another well-saved by McCorkell. At the other end, Woods stepped up the pressure, sending a series of free-kicks, corners and long-throws into the box but the visitors defended them well with Billy Upton and Scott Armsworth both impressing in the centre of defence.

The Woods really battled to get on level terms in the final fifteen minutes and the best opportunity fell, during a scramble in the box following a corner, to Chendlik who got in a clean strike but it was well-blocked inside the six-yard box by a relieved Basingstoke rearguard.

Time was running out when the visitors lost captain Simon Dunn to a rather unfortunate second yellow card but they remained determined to hold on to their narrow lead and  goalkeeper Paul Strudley saved well near the post from a Micah Jackson free-kick and the Basingstoke defence held firm under strong pressure to claim another three valuable points towards their title and promotion push.

The win maintains Basingstoke’s four-point advantage at the top ahead of second-placed and equally in-form Walton & Hersham as the two clubs continue to fight it out for the one automatic promotion place. Whoever finished second will have home advantage on their own 3G surface in a midweek play-off semi-final but both will want to avoid that match!

The Woods remain third and of the chasing pack, only Marlow made inroads as they defeated fifth-place Hanworth Villa 2-0 with former Woods ‘keeper Montel Joseph enjoying another clean sheet for the Blues who appear to have hit form at the right time. They will rise to third if they get a point from their midweek home game against Southall on Tuesday night; one of their two games in hand to the Woods who have just six matches to play.

REPORT by Alan Evans