NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 16th March 2019   CHIPSTEAD FC

Bostik League South Central

  Northwood 2  Chipstead 0   

Charles 43, Pett 51


Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Luke Sheldrick     1 Taye Ashby-Hammond
2 Sam Jenkins (63m)     2 Matthew Warren
3 Miguel Matos (73m)     3 Daniel Moody
4 Imran Uche     4 Dean Hamlin
5 Dan Newton     5 Tommy Smith
6 Carl Pearce ©      6 Anthony Oaks
7 Dan Pett     7 Sam Bell
8 Chris Gosling     8 Nathan Ayling (72m)
9 Zaied Sabti     9 Izzy Bademosi
10 Alex Witham     10 Jeremy Boakye (66m)
11 Trey Charles     11 Ibitayo Oyebola (66m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Ben Pattie     12 Michak Stanic-Stewart (72m)
14 Matt Cooper (73m)     14 Joshua Gallagher (66m)
15 Jabir Laraba (63m)     15 Callum Hope (66m)
16 Kerran Lataille     16 Allan Tait
17 Yahya El-Khabouche     17 Joe Jackson


  Referee: Steven Rea; Assts: Chris Fernandes and James Barry      
  REPORT by Alan Evans   PHOTOS by James Brown    

The Woods made it three wins on the bounce at the AcreTweed Stadium while completing a “double” over mid-table Chipstead, who were making their first-ever visit to Northwood on a day that the whole country was hit by the blustery conditions.

Manager Scott Dash had to shuffle the pack a little with Kweku Lucan unavailable in addition to Leigh Stevens, Kyran Worrell and Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi. He was then hit by Yahya El-Khabouche withdrawing after picking up an injury in the pre-match warm-up of what would have been his long-awaited home debut. It meant an unfamiliar midfield role for Imran Uche, himself back from injury and there was a welcome return to the bench for both Matt Cooper and Ben Pattie who both got needed minutes at Leverstock Green a week earlier.

Chipstead were missing experienced pair Sam Page and Sam Clayton from their line-up while Luke Elliott was out suspended but they had been in good form in recent weeks including a rare defeat of Marlow three weeks earlier and could boast a better record on their travels than at home.

And it was the visitors who won the toss and chose to play the first half with the wind, which also swirled a little, mainly behind them so the Woods were expected to have some defending to do. Yet it was Northwood who impressed with plenty of neat passing making inroads and stretching the Chips defence from an early stage.

After just three minutes Uche latched onto a quick throw and cut in for a shot that flew well over the bar and ten minutes later he turned provider to slip Alex Witham through on goal. The in-form striker swept his shot past goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond but it crashed back off the post. It rebounded kindly though and Witham had a clear sight of goal yet he managed to steer his second effort wide of the post.

Two minutes later it was Dan Pett that could have put the Woods in front but he shot over from a good position and then the busy Trey Charles battled well down the right before his cross was cut out by the ‘keeper at the near post.

Chipstead were getting no further than the edge of the Northwood box on their attacks as the central defensive pairing of Carl Pearce and Dan Newton looked very solid and after 21 minutes some more decisive passing led to Zaied Sabti trying his luck from distance but he shot wide.

The visitors finally managed to get into the game midway through the half and a succession of crosses from both sides produced efforts on goal from Sam Bell, Ibitayo Oyebola and Nathan Ayling but none of them can threaten the goal. Also a free-kick from Anthony Oaks caught the win and swung in towards the far post but it was just wide of the target.

But the last ten minutes belonged to Northwood once again and this time they took full advantage. Witham had a shot deflected wide and then some good work from Uche led to a save from the keeper but after 43 minutes the Woods were in front. And it was a superb passing move that led to the goal with Lopes De Matos, Uche, Sabti and Witham all involved before the latter slipped the ball to Charles on the left. The winger cut in and drove a left-foot strike into the top corner to give Ashby-Hammond no chance.

In the lead at the break and with the wind in their favour for the second-half, the Woods will have been pretty confident as they started the second half yet it was the Chips who had the first effort on goal as a cross from Bell was headed wide by Oyebola.

The away win at Chipstead was made easier by a couple of early defensive errors by the home side and they made a present of the second Northwood goal on 51 minutes. There was still plenty to do by Pett as he pounced on a loose ball across the back-line but he raced through the middle and calmly stroked the ball past the advancing ‘keeper to make it 2-0.

The Woods were forced into a change after 53 minutes when Sam Jenkins succumbed to a shoulder injury that he had picked up late in the first half. Replaced by Jabir Laraba, the formation was shuffled a couple of times, first to three at the back and then Newton switched to right-back with Uche staying in central defence. It did allow Chipstead to have more possession but again they failed to really threaten the Northwood goal with Luke Sheldrick only needing to make one save from substitute Josh Gallagher to keep only his third league clean sheet of the season.

In the closing stages, Sabti went close with a good strike that flew only just wide of the far post while a couple of free-kicks saw both Sabti and Charles both over-hitting their efforts but in the end the Woods were happy to grind out the 2-0 victory in difficult conditions.

It makes it five wins from their last six league matches, and have closed to within three points of sixth place but they are still nine points adrift of the play-off positions, so there is plenty of work to do with just seven league games left to play. It’s the best run of league results for the Woods since 2013 but can it get even better?