NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 22nd August 2015   AYLESBURY UNITED

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Northwood 1  Aylesbury United 3   

Stephenson 88

Collard 23, Field 34, 73

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Chris Haigh     1 Alex Tokarczyk
2 Omar Vassell     2 Steve Hatch (85m)
3 Andy Lomas     3 Lee Grace
4 Nick Turner     4 Jack Wood
5 Perry Dicker (63m)     5 Alex Collard
6 George Nicholas     6 Billy Adcock
7 Max Holland     7 Taylor Collins (63m)
8 James Burgess ©     8 Greg Williams
9 Louis Stead     9 Eoin Casey (81m)
10 Michael Murray (84m)     10 Stacey Field
11 Rob Hastings (79m)     11 Shaun Owens
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Liam Baker (84m)     12 Paul Edgeworth
14 Myles Stephenson (79m)     14 Joey Acheampong (81m)
15 Joakim Ehui (63m)     15 Bill Morgan (85m)
16 -     16 Sonny French (63m)
17 -     17 Jack Sillitoe
      Referee: Kieran Bailey; Assistants: Simon Parbery & John Perry      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




Northwood’s 100% record came to an abrupt end with this disappointing home defeat at the hand of a well-organised Aylesbury United side that deserved their comfortable victory. With player-manager Mark Burgess unavailable for the match and skipper Steve Brown already ruled out with an ankle injury picked up in midweek, the Woods could have done without losing summer signing Jon Munday in the warm-up which left them struggling in central defence. Nick Turner, who made his first appearance of the season as a substitute on Tuesday, was paired with stand-in captain James Burgess who dropped back from the midfield role that he has made his own this season. Perry Dicker was promoted from the subs bench to play the midfield role.

The makeshift defence came under pressure from an early stage as the Ducks started well and they could have taken the lead after just three minutes when Andy Lomas missed clearing a corner and Jack Reed poked a shot just wide of the goal. Northwood still attacked with confidence though with George Nicholas trying an early effort that went straight at goalkeeper Alex Tokarczyk and after 16 minutes Louis Stead exchanged passes with Nicholas to set up Michael Murray for a shot that was blocked by some solid defending. Two minutes later Nicholas found space for another effort but this time it climbed well over the bar.

Aylesbury were well in the game too though and former Hanwell midfielder Billy Adcock tried his luck from 25 yards and it brought a save from Woods goalkeeper Chris Haigh as got down low to push the ball wide of the post. It was from the resulting corner that the Ducks got their noses in front as Shaun Owens flighted in a fine ball and defender Alex Collard rose unchallenged to plant a firm header past Haigh and two defenders on the line for his third goal of the season.

Five minutes later it could have been a second as offside calls were ignored and Eoin Casey found himself through on goal but Haigh was quick off his line and saved his shot at his feet. Stacey Field then hit a delightful chip, having won a tackle, which only just cleared the bar as Haigh back-pedalled. On 32 minutes, a well-worked corner saw Murray’s shot blocked once again and after the loose ball ran to Turner his effort was saved at the near-post by Tokarczyk.

The Woods went searching for an equaliser around this time, enjoying plenty of possession but without breaching the Ducks defence. They were restricted to long-range efforts which failed to find the target and Dicker had one header which was flicked over. But on 39 minutes, United grabbed a second which left Northwood with a mountain to climb. Adcock fed Field wide of the area on the right and he turned and fired a left-foot shot that arrowed across goal and inside the far corner for a great finish.

Field went for an audacious second goal just before the break but again his shot dropped onto the top of the net and although Tokarczyk dropped a poor shot from Stead at the other end, there was no-one there to take advantage.

Northwood had to start the second half well if they were to have any hope of retaining their unbeaten record and they gave it a go despite the heat of the afternoon. On 52 minutes some excellent approach play between Nicholas and Stead saw the former cut the ball back to Murray who hit a good strike that flew inches over the bar.  Nicholas was still finding plenty of room in the centre and he appeared to be the most likely to pull a goal back at this stage but he couldn’t get his radar quite right with one shot well wide and then the next closer but still the wrong side of the post.

Maxwell Holland was having a quiet game on the right but did set up Stead for the next chance on 63 minutes but again his shot failed to hit the target, this time flying over the bar. Nicholas finally forced the ‘keeper into action five minutes later but this time his effort lacked power and was saved comfortably.

Aylesbury hadn’t had a look-in at this stage but that changed when Owens got forward and curled in a cross from the right that found Field unmarked but he volleyed his effort wide of the far post. But he fully made amends three minutes later as Adcock again supplied the ball for Field in a wide position and he again showed a true strikers’ instinct to fire low past Haigh and inside the far post for his second of the game. Haigh was in action again just a minute later as he saved at the feet of Casey once more, this time getting caught by the striker as Owens lashed in the loose ball but a free-kick was the result.

The visitors were full of confidence at this stage against a Woods side that looked to be wilting in the heat. Haigh was back in action again to save well from Field and then substitute Sonny French.

But there was a late consolation from the Woods as two substitutes combined. Omar Vassell played a good ball down the line for Joakim Ehui and his cross picked out Myles Stephenson who flicked it home for his first Northwood goal. A minute later a half-cleared cross fell to Stead just outside the box and an accurate strike would have made it interesting but the ball flew high and any hopes of a late comeback were over.

Deep into stoppage-time it looked like Aylesbury were to add a fourth as Greg Williams slipped a great ball through the middle for Field who seemed sure to complete an excellent hat-trick only for his shot to come back off the post.

With the important FA Cup clash next Saturday providing a quick rematch between the two sides, Northwood will be hoping to regain their early season form and also to get some of their injured players back to fitness.