Woods come from behind to win
  Saturday 7th March 2020

Isthmian League
South Central



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Robin Piper   
James Brown


Northwood 2
Ashford Town 1

1 Tyla Dickinson  
2 Luke Jones  
3 Jaden Sharman  
4 Haluna Masembe  
5 Craig Carby  
6 Dave Thomas ©   
7 Radu Stefanoaica (38m)  
8 Marcelo Graca  
9 Romario Hart  
10 Lucas Toti (82m)  
11 Mihai-Andrei Chiriac (60m)  
12 Excellence Muhemba  
14 Ryan Phillips (82m)  
15 Ahmed Elsahib (60m)  
16 Eric Lopes (38m)  
17 Yiannis Constantinou  
ASHFORD: Aaron Bufton, Rylan Myers (Kelvin Adjei 76m), William Boye (Joe Noakes 68m), Tommy Brunton, Samad Kazi, Darryl Harrison, Hafid Bounyafe, Max Webb, Daniel Brown (Sam Humphreys 46m), Mario Embalo, Aaron Petch  

Northwood came from behind to record a second successive home win as they beat Ashford Town in the crucial ‘six-pointer’ at the AcreTweed. Manager Rob Ursell decided to switch to a back three of  Haluna Masembe, Craig Carby and skipper Dave Thomas with Luke Jones and Jaden Sharman taking on the wing-back roles. Radu Stefanoaica returned to the starting line-up with Eric Lopes dropping to the bench, while there was a debut in midfield for 16-year-old Mihai-Andrei Chirac.

Woods set-up was designed to offer a greater attacking threat but it was the visitors who made the running in the early stages as they forced a series of corners with Max Webb heading narrowly over while Northwood goalkeeper Tyla Dickinson, who enjoyed a fine home debut, pulled off a smart save to divert Aaron Petch’s long range effort.

Woods gradually began to find their feet as they forced a corner of their own with Carby heading over while Stefanoaica was beginning to make an impression on the left flank with a couple of useful run and crosses with one foray ending with a half-hearted appeal for handball against Ashford’s Rylan Myers.

But the Tangerines continued to carry a greater attacking threat, with Mario Embalo dragging a shot wide following a quick break from a defensive position, while Webb headed into the arms of Dickinson from a good position.

However, Woods had an opportunity as an interchange of passes between Lucas Toti, Romario Hart and Sharman ended with the ball being played across the face of the visitor’s goal but with no red shirt to apply the finish.

Northwood had to make a change on 38 minutes as Stefanoaica was unable to continue due to a knock to his ankle with Lopes entering the fray. And Woods had a let-off as Embalo burst through with Northwood expecting an offside flag, but Dickinson stood up well as the Tangerines striker looked to round the Woods stopper while the follow up shot cleared the woodwork.

But Dickinson was unable to prevent Ashford taking the lead in the third minute of first half stoppage time as Webb headed home from a corner.

Northwood needed a quick response as they resumed after the break and they created an early opening as Hart got to the by-line and played an inviting ball across which evaded the waiting Lopes in the six-yard box. At the other end, Thomas was on hand to deny Petch with a timely interception while the lively Embalo saw his shot graze the outside of the post.

Woods made another substitution just after the hour-mark as Chirac was replaced by Ahmed Elsahib. And the replacement was quickly into the action as he opened his Northwood account with the equaliser on 63 minutes when he forced the ball home after Sharman’s shot was blocked following a slick move involving Toti, Hart and Jones.

Ashford were forced to regroup after they lost Will Boye to concussion and concerns grew for the condition of the Tangerines’ left-back with an ambulance being called to the ground; good news arriving later in the evening that Boyes was on the mend in hospital.

Northwood had been buoyed by the goal as they went in search of more success and Elsahib was to the fore once more as he set up Sharman after the latter had combined with Lopes before slotting the ball beyond former Woods keeper Aaron Bufton to put Northwood ahead on 72 minutes.

Ashford were suddenly spurred into action as they looked to turn the tide and Dickinson was on hand to deny substitute Kelvin Adjei before the Woods stopper was forced to claw away a defensive header which almost crept inside the post.

Ryan Phillips was introduced for Toti on 82 minutes as Woods looked to shore up the midfield but the Tangerines continued to threaten with Dickinson producing another fine save to deny Hafid Bounyafe at the back post.

Ashford were growing increasingly desperate as they threw men forward and Woods almost put the game to bed as they exploited the gaps with a quick break but Hart was denied by a superb point-blank save from Bufton after good work from Lopes.

And Lopes was involved again as he advanced on the Ashford box and shot narrowly wide as he chose to goal for with the option of playing in Hart who was alongside him.

The contest was becoming increasingly frantic as it entered four minutes of added time and Bounyafe rattled the Northwood woodwork with a rocket from outside the box before Lopes looked to shoot from distance into unguarded Ashford net after Bufton had come up for a corner.

And the Tangerines had the last chance of the afternoon as the ball fell kindly to Bounyafe in a good position but he dragged his shot wide to ensure that Woods took the spoils to move above their rivals and FC Romania in the table and open up a six point gap on bottom-placed Staines Town who they travel to play on Tuesday.