Northwood undone by late goal
  Saturday 4th January 2020

Isthmian League
South Central

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Robin Piper   
James Brown


Northwood 0
Tooting & Mitcham United 1

1 Chris Rackley  
2 Bradley Kauzeni  
3 Mack Miskin  
4 Dominic Rhone  
5 Jordan Payne  
6 Charlie Malin  
7 Luke Holness (78m)  
8 Charlie Hayford ©  
9 Harry Lodovica (76m)  
10 Eric Lopes  
11 Ronny Mfinda (64m)  
12 Azeez Alibi (78m)  
14 Festus Lori (64m)  
15 Tyrone Pink (76m)  
16 Recoe Martin  
17 Joe Ringer  
TOOTING: James Shaw, Dean Hamlin, Sol Patterson-Bohner, Daryl Coleman, Dominic Morgan-Griffiths (David Castanho 71m), Connor French (Hady Ghandour 54m), Ahkeem Belford, Jamarie Brissett, Razzaq Coleman, Junior Timite (Danny Bassett 60m), Kyrique Garvey-Williams  

Northwood’s first game of 2020 ended in disappointment as they were undone by a late goal against promotion hopefuls Tooting & Mitcham United for the second time this season.

Woods have experienced an almost complete change of playing personnel since they suffered stoppage-time heartbreak in the reverse fixture back in August with Charlie Hayford and Luke Holness the only starters from both games. And there were changes from the previous week’s defeat with experienced goalkeeper Chris Rackley making his Northwood debut while Jordan Payne came in for Ethan Flanagan in central defence. There was welcome return for skipper Charlie Hayford after injury but Woods had to do without Gabriel Piorkowski and Yiannis Constantinou, while Harry Lodovica returned to spearhead the attack.

Woods struggled to make much of an impression in the early stages and it was the Terrors who threatened as they forced a serious of corners with Ahkeem Belford aiming a free-header at Rackley before a diving Daryl Coleman sent another header wide of the target.

Having withstood the early pressure, Northwood began to find some attacking impetus and they had a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring as Ronny Mfinda played in Luke Holness but his rising shot cleared the visitor’s crossbar.

Both sides struggled to create any clear-cut chances for the remainder of a low key opening period, Kyrique Garvey-Williams off target with a long-range effort before Connor French sent a header wide from a free-kick for the Terrors. At the other end, Northwood had a penalty shout being waved away after Mfinda looked to be held back following a corner.

Woods had some defending to do early in the second half as French shot narrowly wide before the same player had his volley blocked following a corner.

However, Northwood began to enjoy a period of control with Eric Lopes to the fore. The attacking midfielder went close with a shot before a sweeping move involving Lodovica and Holness ended with Lopes having a couple of bites at the cherry, but his efforts were blocked by the Tooting defence.

Woods continued to take the game to the visitors and Lodovica might have done better as he got beyond the Terror’s backline but his shot failed to trouble keeper James Shaw.

Festus Lori replaced Mfinda on 64 minutes as Northwood continued to look for the breakthrough and the hosts kept up the pressure and Holness did all the hard work with a jinking run before dragging his shot wide from a good position. And Woods had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead as a Lopes miscue found its way to the unmarked Payne at the far post but the latter poked the ball wide.

Having spurned their opportunities, Northwood were indebted to Rackley as he produced a smart save to deny substitute Danny Bassett as the latter let rip with a rasping shot.

Lodovica made way for Tyrone Pink with fifteen minutes left on the clock but Northwood’s task was made more difficult on 77 minutes as Bradley Kauzeni received his marching orders for a rash challenge.

Holness was sacrificed for Azeez Alabi as the ten-man Woods looked to shore things up, Rackley being on hand to keep Woods in the game as he denied Razzaq Coleman De Graft. But Rackley could do nothing to stop the visitors grabbing the vital goal on 87 minutes as substitute Hady Ghandour capitalised on Woods losing possession in their own half by unleashing an unstoppable shot beyond the Northwood stopper.

Rackley produced another to fine save to keep out a David Castanho effort in a frantic final few minutes. And as the contest moved deep into stoppage time, Woods had one last chance to rescue a deserved point with the last kick off the game as Rackley’s free-kick into the danger area fell to Hayford on the edge of the box but his left foot shoot lacked the power to trouble keeper Shaw.