ARLESEY TOWN   Saturday 28th November 2015   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Arlesey Town 0  Northwood 1    


Murray 50

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Nick Thompson     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Bill Plumpton     2 Alex Nolan
3 Luke Abraham     3 Andy Lomas
4 Dave Deeney (90+4m)     4 Jon Munday
5 Andre Maltay ©     5 Charlie Kennedy
6 Matt Hall     6 George Nicholas
7 Nathan Olukanmi     7 Rob Hastings (73m)
8 Harry Carr (76m)     8 Louis Stead
9 Lewis Wilson     9 Niko Muir
10 Christian Tavernier     10 Michael Murray ©
11 Sam Willett     11 Max Holland (81m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Tarum Dawkins (76m)     12 Bayley Brown (81m)
14 Luke Rowland     14 Myles Stephenson (73m)
15 Anthony Wright (90+4m)     15 Joakim Ehui
16 Zema Abbey     16 James Burgess
17 Alfie Hickman     17 -
      Referee: Rob Evans Assistants: Sam Anderson & Wayne Chalmers      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




Michael Murray notched his 13th goal of the season from a stylish free-kick to earn all three points for the Woods as he also captained the side for the first time. In a reverse of the opening-day’s fixture which the Woods won 5-0 and was played in blazing sunshine, this was the opposite – cold with rain and a strong wind.

Mark Burgess was serving a one-game suspension but was able to welcome Jon Munday back from injury, and he slotted in alongside youngster Charlie Kennedy, who continues to impress during his loan deal from Barnet. Joakim Ehui dropped out with illness so Rob Hastings started on the right flank while George Nicholas returned to the midfield in preference to James Burgess. Arlesey were missing a few players through injury but gave a debut to defender Matt Hall, a midweek signing from Leighton Town.

With the strong wind behind them, the Woods dominated the first half but both teams took time to adapt to the conditions and there was nineteen minutes on the clock when Northwood notched the first effort on goal as Andy Lomas tried his luck from distance and goalkeeper Nick Thompson had to fly across goal to keep it out with a diving save. Within a minute, Hastings followed that with another on-target effort from 25-yards but this time it was straight at Thompson and six minutes later, Nicholas got plenty of power behind another lone-range strike but it flew wide of the upright.

Arlesey were struggling to make any impact against a solid Northwood back-line and it continued to be the Woods who were asking the questions. On 32 minutes, some good approach work saw Murray flick the ball on and the ‘keeper failed to hold but Hastings couldn’t quite get to the loose ball. It continued to be much the same story through to the half-time break, as Niko Muir’s shot was again too near the keeper to cause a problem and then Nicholas drove the ball wide of the target. In the final minute Max Holland’s cross was knocked down and Murray slotted wide from inside the box.

There was a feeling that Northwood had needed to get their noses in front as the home side had the wind at their backs for the second half but just five minutes in, Nicholas’ drive forward resulted in a free-kick in Murray’s range and the Woods’ top scorer curled in a beauty from thirty yards to put his side in front.

The Blues had more problems than Northwood did in attacking with the wind, and Berkley Laurencin caught everything that came his way from balls pumped into the box. On 70 minutes, the Woods went close to grabbing a second as a good ball put Hastings through on goal. He took it past the keeper and then went down under a defensive challenge as he shaped to shoot but penalty appeals were waved away.

Substitute Myles Stephenson replaced Hastings soon after this and tested Thompson with a good strike from distance, but again the keeper palmed it away. Arlesey never really looked likely to equalise and in the closing stages Muir’s strike flashed just wide of the upright before Thompson made another good save from Nicholas.

These three points extended the Woods unbeaten away run to seven matches, six of which have ended in victory and they face another stern test of their ability next weekend with a trip to play Gary Meakin’s Egham Town side, who currently sit in sixth place in the table.