AYLESBURY FC   Saturday 14th November 2015   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Aylesbury 0  Northwood 0    



Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 James Weatherill     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Jeanmal Prosper     2 Alex Nolan
3 James Dobson     3 Andy Lomas
4 Jon Montgomery     4 Mark Burgess
5 Nathan Bowden-Haase     5 Charlie Kennedy
6 Grant Fryer     6 Louis Stead
7 Gareth Price (67m)     7 Joakim Ehui (72m)
8 Davis Haule ©     8 James Burgess ©
9 Ryan O’Toole (72m)     9 Niko Muir
10 Ken Feyi (57m)     10 Michael Murray
11 Aston Goss     11 Max Holland
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Brian Haule (57m)     12 Rob Hastings (72m)
14 Lynton Goss (67m)     14 Myles Stephenson
16 Ben Bateman     15 Bayley Brown
17 Ben Stevens (72m)     16 Ethan Sennett
18 Lamar Simpson     17 Jermaine Heron
      Referee: Wayne Bright; Assistants: Matthew Paul & Daniel Johnstone      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  



Northwood were held to a goalless draw by ten-man Aylesbury who just preserved their unbeaten home record but rode their luck as the Woods misfired in front of goal.  Mark Burgess made only one enforced change from the midweek Red Insure Cup win over Chalfont St. Peter with George Nicholas out through suspension, so James Burgess returned after serving his own one-match ban. For the Moles, recent recruit Nathan Bowden-Haase was making his home debut after manager Steve Bateman had been reunited with the experienced former Slough Town defender in between spells in Australia.

After hours of incessant rain, the pitch provided a testing surface for all while the home side chose to play with the strong wind at their backs for the first-half. So it was no surprised that it was Aylesbury who were soon on the front foot with Jeanmal Prosper putting over a cross and Gareth Price sweeping his shot over the top.

But, in fact, both sides were struggling to get to grips with the conditions and after 14 minutes, it was Northwood who had the best chance of the half. Andy Lomas delivered a good corner and Barnet loanee Charlie Kennedy met it with a strong header which goalkeeper James Weatherill kept out with an excellent save. The Woods continued to threaten with Max Holland causing a few problems on the left. He swept past Prosper and found Michael Murray who played the ball wide to Joakim Ehui but his cross was cleared by a stretched defence.

A Murray corner on 22 minutes found Mark Burgess at the far post but his downward header failed to test Weatherill, flashing wide of the upright. The Moles worked hard to try to get an advantage with Price’s cross being snuffed out by Louis Stead and then top scorer Ryan O’Toole was fouled 25 yards out but his own free-kick was deflected through the wall into the waiting arms of Berkley Laurencin in goal.

After 33 minutes, there was almost a mistake in the defensive ranks by the Woods as Lomas’ attempt to head away caught in the wind and floated in Laurencin’s direction. He tried to catch it as it swirled and the ball ran loose but Lomas made amends by clearing his lines. But the Woods were generally defending well and with half-time approaching there was one effort on goal each. Murray did well to find space for a shot on goal but it flew wide and then Aston Goss fired well over at the other end.

There would have been some quiet confidence behind them as Northwood started the second half with the wind at their backs but they could have been a goal behind early on as Laurencin made a rare hash of an attempted clearance and it fell straight to Jon Montgomery. The midfielder tried to hit a first-time volley but it went straight at a grateful Laurencin.

Having survived that, the Woods were back on the attack a couple of minutes later. Good approach work from Stead saw him exchange passes with Niko Muir and then drill a low shot which Weatherill managed to keep out. The ball ran loose but Lomas was also denied by the keeper who had recovered his position well. Muir shot well over shortly after this and then Alex Nolan got forward with an excellent ball inside to Stead who drove his shot across the goal and only inches wide of the far post. Murray was next to try his luck, latching on to a good ball from Ehui but his shot was a comfortable save for the ‘keeper.

Aylesbury were struggling to make any impact but O’Toole did get one shot on the turn which was comfortably taken by the Woods keeper. Weatherill was enjoying a man of the match performance though and made a fine save to keep out Muir’s low shot shortly after Holland had seen his effort blocked by an excellent defensive tackle as the Woods continued to be denied.

After 66 minutes Ehui raced down the right and knocked in a cross which was swept over the bar by Holland but a further advantage was handed to Northwood on 71 minutes as Bowden-Haase blotted his copybook by catching Muir when challenging for a header and picking up a straight red card.

O’Toole was sacrificed up front as Ben Stevens came on to bolster the defence but the Woods should have taken the lead from the resulting free-kick. Murray’s strike only hit the wall but it ran loose to Muir and his quick ball found the on-rushing Murray eight yards out. He chipped his shot over the diving ‘keeper but without the power needed to clear the covering defender who cleared.

Substitute Lynton Goss fired well over in a rare Aylesbury breakaway but on 81 minutes Kennedy could have put the Woods in front as Lomas’ corner was dummied and the young defender met it with a shot which flew wide of the far post. The Woods went very close a minute later when Murray and Holland combined to feed Stead and his whipped in cross-shot was just inches ahead of Muir sliding in.

But with time running out, Aston Goss had a couple of opportunities to steal a fortunate win for the home side, though he failed to hit the target either time, shooting wide of the near post and then well over. The final stages saw the Moles pick up four yellow cards in quick succession as their frustrations began to boil over but it had the desired effect with the Woods unable to find the winning goal to end their opponent’s unbeaten home record.