It's seventh time lucky for the Woods
  Saturday 7th September 2019

Velocity Trophy
Group 8





Robin Piper   
James Brown


Ashford Town 0
Northwood 1

1 James Hoskins  
2 Liam McCrohan  
3 Matt Cooper  
4 Jaiden Irish (90m)  
5 Andrew Tirivanhu(77m)  
6 Ethan Flanagan  
7 Charlie Hayford  
8 Chris Gosling (64m)  
9 Kingsley Eshun (60m)  
10 Alex Witham  
11 Luke Holness (80m)  
12 Harry Lodovica (60m)  
14 Kiye Martin (80m)  
15 Sacha M’Baye (90m)  
16 Dan Pett (77m)  
17 Louis Bircham (64m)  
ASHFORD: Sam Mason, Joe Noakes, Matthew Surmon, Sam Humphreys (Nathan Pooley 87m), William Boye, Tommy Brunton, Rylan Myers, Max Webb, Kelvin Adjei (Vitor Monteiro 81m), Scott Todd (Daniel Brown 56m), Aaron Petch  

It was seventh time lucky for Northwood, who managed to secure their first win of the season against fellow strugglers Ashford Town in their second Velocity Trophy group match.

Woods fielded a much changed team from the midweek loss to Staines Town. Goalkeeper Rob Partington was rested, meaning a debut for Watford youngster James Hoskins while there was a change of personnel in defence. Liam McCrohan replaced Karl Stevenson at right-back, Matt Cooper returned at left-back in place of Miguel Matos, while there was a new pairing of Ethan Flanagan and Andrew Tirivanhu in central defence with Imran Uche and Sacha M'Baye standing down.

There was a new look to the Woods attack with Alex Witham playing in behind Luke Holness and Kingsley Eshun, Kweku Lucan missing out through injury, while Chris Gosling returned to the midfield as Louis Bircham and Kiye Martin reverted to the bench.

With both sides occupying the bottom two places in the league, the lack of confidence was all too apparent in a disappointing first-half with both sides struggling to retain possession. Ashford had a couple of free-kicks from distance which failed to trouble Hoskins while at the other end, Holness had a shot deflected wide after sweeping move as Woods began to find some fluency.

And Northwood might have taken the lead as Witham combined with Eshun whose low cross just evaded Holness in the six-yard box.

Woods came out unchanged for the second period but with a renewed sense of purpose and were quickly on the attack. Alex Witham fired a shot wide across the face of goal after a slick move before Holness saw his snapshot parried by keeper Sam Mason.

However, Northwood had some defending to as Gosling intercepted a dangerous Aaron Petch while Hoskins had to deal with a Joseph Noakes header.

Both sides were looking increasingly confident, Woods earning a free-kick in Charlie Hayford territory but unable to repeat the feats of midweek while Petch tested Hoskins with a low shot.

Eshun made way for Harry Lodovica on the hour the latter on his return from injury while Bircham replaced Gosling. Woods’ task might have been made harder had Petch not dragged his shot wide when well placed.

But the breakthrough finally came on 75 minutes as Hayford's upfield ball wasn't dealt with by the Tangerines' defence, Holness winning possession and setting up Bircham, who executed the finish for his first goal since his return to Northwood colours.

Woods visibly grew in confidence following the goal, Lodovica teeing up Bircham whose shot rattled the crossbar. Dan Pett was introduced for his first appearance of the season, slotting in at right-back as Tirivanhu made way with McCrohan moving into central defence while Martin replaced Holness.

Woods looked to make the points safe, Martin, Jaiden Irish and Lodovica all going close before McCrohan shot wide. Ashford had their moments in the closing stages, Vitor Monteiro mis-hitting from close-range, Hayford blocking a Petch shot while returning home favourite Dan Brown was inches away from applying a far post finish.

At the other end, Martin saw his low, curling  shot turned round the post by Mason before substitute M'Baye headed narrowly over from Hayford's corner.

But Northwood had done enough and with great relief were able to celebrate their first win of the season.