Merstham 1  Northwood 0

Saturday 18th February 2023


1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 Sam Jenkins (86m)    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway (32m)    
5 Luke Tingey ©    
6 James Gurteen    
7 Sandro Costa    
8 Teddy Stacey    
9 Gareth Chendlik    
10 Dan Williams (80m)    
11 Carl Stewart    
12 Junior Paiva    
14 Josh Helmore    
15 Keegan Cole (32m)    
16 Micah Jackson (80m)    
17 Harry Gallagher    

Merstham: Filip Chalupniczak, Michael Kamara, Luke Read, Aaron Goode, Cameron Lewis-Brown Aziz Sankoh, Peter Adeniyi, Ayman Gharbaoui, Adam Allen, Reece Deakin (Mario Quiassaca 75m), Bryan Zepo (Adam Adam 90m)


Northwood returned from Surrey empty-handed for the second week running as their disappointing 2023 continued with a sixth league defeat of the year, this time at the hands of relegation threatened Merstham. There was one change to the Woods team which started against Walton & Hersham in midweek, new signing Dan Williams replacing Micah Jackson in the right-sided attacking role.

The afternoon looked promising for Woods as they began in a positive manner and went close to taking the lead as early as the second minute – Gareth Chendlik latching onto goalkeeper Andrew McCorkell’s kick upfield to head into the path of Sam Jenkins who got outside the home defence before floating over a cross for Teddy Stacey whose glancing header dropped narrowly beyond the far post. And Chendlik was involved again as he produced a neat lay off to Dan Williams whose curling shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Woods had managed to restrict the hosts to long-range attempts up to that point, Bryan Zepo firing high and wide before the same player saw a low shot comfortably dealt with by McCorkell. And after safely negotiating a Merstham corner, Woods were on the front foot again with a short corner routine of their own – Sandro Costa’s ball into the box not coming down right for Stacey as he looked to get a shot in on goal.

But Northwood’s rhythm was interrupted after they lost Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway to a hamstring injury just after the half hour mark, Keagan Cole his replacement in the midfield, with Woods’ play becoming increasingly disjointed with a succession of loose passes.
And as Woods struggled to recapture their early fluency, the Moatsiders were posing an increasing threat - Aziz Sankoh finding himself in a good position before lashing the ball wide of the target while Reece Deakin poked the ball beyond the advancing McCorkell but narrowly wide of the far upright.

But with the opening period entering its second minute of added time, Woods were undone as Deakin found space to get in a shot which was deflected by McCorkell but only into the path of Zepo who fired the ball home despite the best attempts of the covering defenders.

Northwood needed a big improvement in the second half if they were going to turn the situation around, but they were immediately on the backfoot as McCorkell had to turn a header from his skipper Luke Tingey round the post as the latter intercepted a dangerous cross into the box.

PHOTOS by James Brown

Woods gradually began to regain some purchase in the middle of the park with Cole beginning to get on the ball and finding some useful positions – Sandro’s ball picking him out in the box but his goal bound shot was blocked by Michael Kamara. And another useful Northwood move could have produced better results as Costa released Williams who chose to shoot when a pass to Chendlik in space might have been the better option.

As Northwood continued to push for a way back into the contest the inevitable gaps were there to be exploited by the Moatsiders and Woods were indebted to Jenkins who did well to get back and cut out a shot from substitute Mario Quiassaca while the latter turned provider to Aaron Goode who spurned a good opportunity with a weak shot when well placed.

Woods kept up a decent tempo but were becoming increasingly frantic and struggling to create clearcut chances with Filip Chalupniczak remaining largely untroubled in the Merstham goal - the Moatsiders defence doing its job as they blocked Costa’s attempt from Chendlik’s knockdown.

Northwood made their attacking changes with ten minutes remaining on the clock as Costa and Williams made way for Josh Helmore and Jackson. But the resolute Moatsiders continued to stand firm as Chalupniczak kept out Cole’s shot after he was teed up by Chendlik from an Andy Lomas cross. And Chalupniczak was called upon again moments later as he calmly gathered a header from his teammate Adam Adam as the latter intercepted a Jackson cross.

The Woods were looking increasingly resigned to their fate and the hosts nearly put the icing on their cake in stoppage time, but Quiassaca dragged his shot wide after a quick counterattack to save Northwood further punishment.

REPORT by Robin Piper