Saturday 4th September 1976

Northwood found their very own super substitute on Saturday when Junior Jones came on in the second half and scored both goals to win this tight Middlesex League battle at the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Playing Fields, Northolt. Ham were missing two of their key players while the Woods were still without Glyn Jones, but there were still enough players on view to make this a classic match.

It was Ham who started the better and they moved the ball around with great authority. In the first 15 minutes they showed enough to support their hopes of honours again this season and when they took the lead in the 18th minute with an opportunist goal by Allen, the Woods were on the rack.

Fortunately Merison at the heart of the Woods defence was in no mood to concede defeat and he began to inspire his side from the back, Tidd began to buzz in midfield and Ellis up front started to worry the Ham defence. The little Woods striker began to shine both in the air and the floor. He sent two headers into the 'keeper's arms and then saw Gould rise above the Ham defence only to head wide.

However all promise Northwood had showed in the minutes preceding half time evaporated at the start of the second half as Ham once again took the initiative. A fine one-handed save by Currell kept them in the game and Merison was a tower of strength as the visitors poured into attacks.

Yet Northwood always appeared dangerous and the introduction of substitute Jones added a new dimension to the game. The efforts of Ashley, Tidd and Franklin were beginning to win the ball more often and they gave the service to Jones and Ellis, who were outpacing the tiring visitors.

Chances were being created but they were being missed just as regularly. Ellis broke through but chanced a long-range shot when he had time to close in, two crosses went begging as the Ham 'keeper failed to leave his line and then Jones missed from close in.

With just 14 minutes to go Northwood grabbed the equaliser. The ball that had always seemed to fall tantalisingly out of reach of a Northwood boot rolled loose in the box, a prod here and a push there, and Jones appeared from nowhere to slide the ball into the net.

This was the signal for all-out attack by Northwood, and Martin Ellis outpaced the visitors on several occasions on the left flank. Junior Jones had the chances to grab the winner once set up by Ellis, and once by Tidd, who unselfishly slipped him the chance.

It was nearly all Northwood at this stage, but you could never overlook the breaks from Ham and the Woods’ anxiety in attack left them short at the back. Fortunately Gould or Merison had the final say as they covered their tracks.

With five minutes left and after a few close shaves, Northwood grabbed what turned out to be the winner. Ellis again got free on the, left and slipped the ball to Jones, a swing of the hips saw off one defender and then he slipped the ball wide of the stranded 'keeper.

Northwood: Currell, Heslop, Gould, Merison, Harman, Tidd, Curran, Franklin, King, Ashley. Sub: Jones.