AYLESBURY UNITED   Saturday 19th December 2015   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Aylesbury United 1  Northwood 1   

Britto 69

Holland 43

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Zaki Oualah     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Ricky Brown     2 Alex Nolan
3 Jake Bewley     3 Andy Lomas
4 Jack Wood ©     4 James Budden
5 Alex Collard     5 Jon Munday (79m)
6 Shaun Owens     6 George Nicholas
7 Bruno Brito     7 Max Holland
8 Greg Williams     8 Louis Stead
9 Lea Coulter (66m)     9 Niko Muir ©
10 Lewis Osborne (57m)     10 Myles Stephenson (68m)
11 Alvin Rajaram     11 Rob Hastings (84m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Luca Seminerio     12 Michael Murray(68m)
14 Daniel Olusemo (57m)     14 Joakim Ehui (84m)
15 Shiblu Miah (57m)     15 James Burgess
16 Nathan Tshikuna     16 Bayley Brown
17 -     17 Steve Brown (79m)
      Referee: Chris Kidd; Assistants: Thomas Burt & William Ottaway      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  



A fourth drawn game in succession is doing the Woods play-off hopes no good at all and this one was a frustrating one for Mark Burgess’ side as they allowed their ten-man opponents to snatch a point after they should have been out of sight. There was just one change to the starting line-up with Max Holland preferred to Joakim Ehui as the Woods looked to stop the home side completing a “double” while the Ducks were looking to avenge the FA Cup loss that Northwood had inflicted on them.

It was yet another windy day and there was an open, end-to-end start to the game. After just four minutes, Aylesbury’s new signing Bruno Brito flicked a good ball into the path of Alvin Rajaram and his neat shot looked goalbound until Berkley Laurencin stretched out a hand and just managed to deflect it onto a post with Andy Lomas clearing the loose ball. The Woods stormed back with Lomas, Rob Hastings and Niko Muir all recording early efforts on goal but the first two were deflected wide and the other was well saved low down by goalkeeper Zaki Oualah.

Lewis Osborne robbed Alex Nolan to create a chance for himself but he shot well wide from distance and then a quick break saw Hastings whip in a cross that was missed by Ricky Brown to allow Holland a sight of goal. But his drive across goal clipped the far post and went wide.

But the even tempo of the game ended on 22 minutes when a burst of pace by Hastings again got him clear of the Ducks defence only to be clipped from behind by Jake Bewley just outside the box. Referee Chris Kidd had no option than to show a red card to leave Aylesbury with just ten men for much of the remainder of the game. From the resulting free-kick, Louis Stead flighted it well and beat Oualah but was unlucky to see the ball hit the crossbar and go over.

The rest of the half saw the Woods pin the home side back with some good, attacking play, using the width well and stretching the Aylesbury defence. Hastings and Stead combined to set up George Nicholas but he shot wide and then a quick break saw Nolan play a neat ball across to Myles Stephenson who also failed to hit the target.

Nicholas got a bit nearer with his next effort but the radar was still slightly off but Stead was more accurate on 39 minutes with a strike that swirled away from Oualah but the keeper managed to keep it out, deflecting the ball wide with his trailing foot. From the resulting corner, Stephenson hooked an effort over the top but the Woods finally made the expected breakthrough on 42 minutes.

Muir did the hard work, picking up a ball from Stead and cutting in from the left before getting off a shot that the keeper could only block with Holland stabbing in the rebound from close range. The Woods could have taken the game away from Aylesbury before the break as Stephenson found space some 35 yards from goal and hit a cracking shot that beat Oualah but crashed back off a post to deny him a third goal in three games.

The half-time talk would have been more of the same for the Woods and just a few minutes in, man of the match Stead showed good feet to get past a couple of defenders in the box and lay the ball off to Hastings but he saw his shot well blocked by Greg Williams. Holland got in a cross from the loose ball but the strengthening wind saw it fly up and swirl wide.

But Northwood’s progress began to falter. Stephenson was unlucky again with a shot that came back of Oualah’s near-post and then Holland cut in and saw his shot pushed wide by a diving Oualah but Aylesbury were holding out more comfortably and on 68 minutes they suddenly found an equaliser. A free-kick was pumped in Shaun Owens, the reliable Alex Collard flicked it on and Brito was quickest to react and stab home the loose ball.

Michael Murray, who had scored the winning goal in the earlier FA Cup clash, had replaced Stephenson and then it was great to see Steve Brown come on for some needed minutes after eleven weeks on the sidelines, but that was the only bright spot of a frustrating final twenty minutes. Muir latched onto a Lomas ball and struck a firm shot but it was always travelling well wide and a Lomas header was headed back across goal by Brown to Nicholas but he was only able to head the ball away from goal. In the 87th minute, with time running out fast, Holland did flick a header in on goal but it sailed wide of the post and Aylesbury had managed to salvage an unlikely point against the odds.

Kings Langley are the next opponents for the Woods with the Boxing Day kick-off of midday set for an interesting game against a side still impressing in fifth place and looking to complete a “double” over the Woods.