Tuesday 14th December 1976

Southern League outfit Aylesbury United found Northwood from the Middlesex League too hot to handle in last week's friendly. Northwood threw away their indifferent league form and took the match to their hosts.

Although Aylesbury dictated things in the middle of the park for long spells, they never looked as dangerous as Northwood around the box. With seven first XI squad players and the remainder triallists in the Aylesbury side, the Woods were halt expecting a rearguard action all the way. It didn't turn out that way.

Every player worked tirelessly for the side and the enthusiasm that had been lacking in previous weeks came bubbling back. Northwood had the boost of an early goal as Hester swung the ball into the box, where Ellis pressured a defender into slicing the ball past his own keeper.

However by half time Northwood were behind despite the fine display of Tidd in midfield and a quality performance by the back four.

The two goals for the hosts could have been three but for a marvellous save by Currell, and to add to the Woods' woe they lost player manager Coburn with a groin injury.
This could have been the end of the Woods as the hosts anticipated the visitors would tire and leave themselves open. However, the Woods were not in the mood to capitulate and they bounced back to produce 45 minutes of brilliant football and endeavour.

The Woods back line closed ranks and although Aylesbury worked cleverly up to the box either Merison or Gould would intercept the final pass or Heslop and Harman disposed their respective full backs.

Encouraged by the grip gained by the defence,  the Woods’ attacks increased in number and potential as the speed of Ellis and surging runs of Cooper and Livingstone made the home defence look vulnerable.

Ellis raced clear, only  to be thwarted by a brave challenge from the home keeper: a couple of corners were desperately cleared before Franklin, the ex Northwood player, tested Russell with a low drive  after a fine run.

Northwood grabbed the equaliser they deserved when Cooper showed good anticipation in seizing onto a back pass, rounding the keeper and walking the ball into the net. This set the match up for a great finish, and the Northwood midfield never faltered in their efforts to match their opponents.

Cooper had a fine header strike the inside of a post and bounce back into the keeper's arms. Ellis and Livingstone had shots blocked, while a crisp low drive from the inspired Jones troubled the keeper.

At the other end Aylesbury wove neat moves together but lacked penetration, and Russell’s main work stemmed from the crosses thrown over.

Ellis, the main threat, set up the winner for Northwood. Once again he broke clear, but was brought down in the box. Gould calmly slipped the ball home from the spot to put Northwood ahead again.

This was the end of the scoring but not the action and the fast pace continued the full 90 minutes as neither side tired, and the Woods had matched the Southern Leaguers for fitness and skill.

The Aylesbury United manager summed it up when he declared: "Northwood wanted to win the game badly – we went through the motions. It showed and they won. "