Northwood 2  Thatcham Town 0

Saturday 22nd October 2022


1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 Junior Paiva    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Ergys Pepaj    
5 Luke Tingey ©    
6 James Gurteen    
7 Jake Tabor    
8 Micah Jackson (77m)    
9 Josh Helmore (85m)    
10 Sydney Ibie (90m)    
11 Carl Stewart    
12 Ronan Hutchins    
14 Juwon Akintunde (85m)    
15 Rahim Jude-Boyd (77m)    
16 Brandon Kalu    
17 Joe Reade (90m)    

Thatcham: Morgan Campbell, Joshua Adjei (Levi Heholt 75m), Ramarni Medford-Smith, Anton Miller, Joshua Edwards, Oliver Bourne, Muhamadou Ceesay (Ashley Howell 59m), Nathan Jones, David Nyarko, Alex Miller (Jordan Kyezu 77m), Cameron Rohaet-Brown


League leaders Northwood made it six wins out of six at the Skyline Roofing Stadium as they overcame their Berkshire visitors to maintain the seven-point gap at the top of the table.

Woods gave a debut to Chesham loanee Junior Paiva in the absence of Brandon Kalu and regular right-back Sam Jenkins, who faces as spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken metatarsal in training. Injury also ruled out Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway, with Ergys Pepaj continuing in the midfield alongside Carl Stewart.

Woods were quickly into their stride as Luke Tingey released Sydney Ibie who outstripped the Kingfishers’ defence but was unable to apply the finish as he dragged his shot wide with only goalkeeper Morgan Campbell to beat.

Northwood maintained their strong start with a Luke Tingey throw into the box not quite falling right for Josh Helmore before Pavia strode forward but failed to seriously trouble Campbell with the ensuing shot.

Woods continued to hold the territorial advantage as another Tingey throw was flicked on at the near post by Jake Tabor, Helmore’s attempted bicycle kick sending the ball narrowly wide of the upright.

Having withstood the early Northwood pressure, Thatcham found some attacking cohesion and as Woods struggled to clear their lines, skipper Joshua Edwards had a shot blocked before his follow up effort drew a fine save from Woods keeper Andrew McCorkell.

But it was Northwood who broke the deadlock on 29 minutes with a short-throw routine straight off the training ground – Andy Lomas finding Micah Jackson whose pull-back to Ergys Pepaj was dispatched into the bottom corner of the net for the young Albanian’s first goal for the club.

PHOTOS by Len Kerswill

The visitors almost posted the perfect riposte as Alex Miller beat the offside trap but was denied by the on-rushing McCorkell who quickly extinguished the danger.

The first half finished with both sides enjoying opportunities to add further scores as Nathan Jones saw his shot deflected wide following a corner, while Ibie set off on another run from deep before being denied by Morgan Campbell.

Northwood came out strongly after the break with another jinking run from Ibie ending with a shot straight at Campbell before Ibie knocked down a Lomas corner to the far post with James Gurteen firing over.

Woods kept asking questions of the visitors, with Pepaj and Helmore seeing shots blocked, before Jackson’s 20-yard effort flew narrowly over. And Northwood were rewarded as they extended their lead on 71 minutes, Helmore reacting quickest as he converted on the rebound after Campbell spilled Ibie’s low free kick.

Substitute Rahim Jude-Boyd replaced Jackson and was immediately into action as his shot deflected for a corner. And Woods had a glorious chance to put the game to bed as Tingey headed over unchallenged from a Lomas corner.

Woods made a further change as Juwon Akintunde replaced Josh Helmore in attack. And the two Northwood substitutes combined as Jude-Boyd’s low cross found its way to Akintunde who stabbed wide from close range. There was still time for Under 18s skipper Joe Reade to make his first league appearance with the contest deep into added time, Ibie making way. But there were to be no further scores as Woods consolidated their pole position.

REPORT by Robin Piper