AYLESBURY UNITED   Saturday 29th August 2015   NORTHWOOD FC

FA Cup Preliminary Round

  Aylesbury United 1  Northwood 2   

Adcock 79

Nicholas 81, Murray 86

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Alex Tokarczyk     1 David Moran
2 Steve Hatch     2 Omar Vassell
3 Lee Grace     3 Andy Lomas
4 Jack Wood ©     4 Nick Turner
5 Alex Collard     5 Steve Brown ©
6 Billy Adcock     6 George Nicholas
7 Shaun Owens (89m)     7 Joakim Ehui (60m)
8 Greg Williams     8 Perry Dicker (72m)
9 Eoin Casey     9 Louis Stead
10 Stacey Field     10 Michael Murray
11 Taylor Collins (62m)     11 Rob Hastings (90m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Shane Wood     12 Liam Baker
14 Bill Morgan     14 Myles Stephenson (72m)
15 Sonny French (62m)     15 Giles Townsend (90m)
16 Joey Achempong (89m)     16 Bayley Brown
17 Jack Sillitoe     17 Max Holland (60m)
      Referee: T Ratherham; Assistants: J Wynne & J Cushen      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  

Northwood showed some great spirit to recover from going a goal down just eleven minutes from time to win this hard-fought FA Cup tie and maintain their 100% away record this season. Just a week after surrendering their 100% league record at home to the same opposition, it was a difficult contest for the Woods who went into the game missing their the management team of Mark Burgess and Simon Huggett together with James Burgess, who had skippered the side last week. Standing in for two games in their absence were former Watford, Chester City and Hayes & Yeading midfielder Jamie Hand assisted by ex-Northwood defender Max Howell. The club was also grateful to Bren Briggs who was filling in as Physiotherapist for the day.

Plans for the match were also hit by the withdrawal of young goalkeeper Chris Haigh the day before so there was a debut for David Moran between the sticks. There was also a surprise boost as well though as club skipper Steve Brown came through a light training session on Thursday and declared himself fit a return just eleven days after limping despondently out of the home win against Petersfield Town. The experience of Joakim Ehui was also preferred in the starting line-up to the promise of youngster Max Holland. Aylesbury United were unchanged from their victory a week earlier, but were actually seeking their first win in their new surroundings of the ASM Stadium, home of Thame United FC, having taken just one point from their previous two league matches.

The game was just five minutes old when Moran’s early nerves showed as he failed to collect a through ball and Stacey Field, the star man a week before, rolled a shot across goal but wide of the far post. It was an early warning for the Woods but they soon settled into some stylish football and neat passing created a few early chances. Stead showed some clever footwork before poking a shot goalwards but it just lacked enough power and goalkeeper Alex Tokarczyk got across to palm the ball wide. Then Michael Murray found space for an effort that crept not far over the top before Murray turned provider with a simple ball to George Nicholas who was unbalanced as he shot and it dragged the ball wide.

A good cross field pass from Jack Wood saw the home side mount a quick attack with Taylor Collins trying his luck with a volley from distance but it flashed over the bar and then another long-range effort from former Hanwell midfielder Billy Adcock brought a similar result.

On 22 minutes Andy Lomas got forward well and found Murray who played in Rob Hastings but again his powerful shot was just too high and neither side were really finding their sights as Shaun Owens also fired over from the second of two free-kicks awarded in quick succession by some over-zealous refereeing. Northwood were probably still just shading the match, and an attacking run from Nicholas produced an inviting cross from the right but Hastings couldn’t quite get the required touch.

Adcock and Greg Williams also tried long-range strikes before the break that flew well over while Brown got his head to a corner but could only flick it wide for the Woods. Again, the Ducks began the half quickly with Owens finding Field and his strike was well-stopped by Moran at his near-post. But also, like in the first-half, Northwood were soon hitting back with Stead feeding Lomas down the left and his cut-back put Nicholas into the box but his finish was always too wayward.

Lomas attempted to go it alone soon after but shot wide and then a free-kick from Lee Grace for United found defender Alex Collard, who opened the scoring a week earlier, but this time he was under pressure from Brown and could only flick his effort wide. There was a substitution from each side and the Ducks then enjoyed their best period. Another free-kick saw Collard head back across goal but Eoin Casey’s attempted overhead-kick again climbed over the bar. Then a long-ball from Steve Hatch provided Field with a good chance, but he fired well over.

Northwood countered again with a good ball from Stead being missed by Grace and it allowed Hastings first run on goal. He raced into the box and shaped to shoot but Grace had done well to get back and he blocked well for a corner.

It was a quick break from the resulting corner that saw Aylesbury back attacking the box with Williams trying to get past Nick Turner and he seemed to trip over his own feet as Turner made his challenge but the Referee immediately pointed to the spot, much to the surprise of pretty much all at the ground. Casey was given the responsibility of putting the Ducks ahead, somewhat fortuitously, from the resulting penalty but Moran made a memorable debut possible by diving the right way and pushing his shot away.

Myles Stephenson, who made an impact as substitute for the Woods the previous week by scoring the consolation goal, was introduced in place of Perry Dicker as the Woods changed formation and quickly did well to find space for a shot but it was well blocked by some solid defending from Hatch. Then Tokarczyk was kept on his toes with a Nicholas strike that was accurate but lacked power. But the home side did suddenly get their noses in front after 79 minutes as Grace whipped in a ball from the left, Field flicked on a header and Adcock arrived in timely fashion to plant a header past Moran for his first Aylesbury goal.

Just over a minute later, the Woods were back on level terms again, though. Murray won a free-kick 30 yards out and went for goal with Tokarczyk only able to parry. The ball ran loose and Nicholas managed to force it over the line despite the attempts of Wood on the line to keep it out. Both sides went for the win. An almighty scramble around the Northwood box eventually saw Field’s effort saved at the post by Moran and then Lomas got nearer with another shot from distance that was only just over the bar.

And what proved to be the winning goal came after 86 minutes. Stephenson produced a great direct run down the left, getting past two defenders and then cut the ball back perfectly for Murray to rifle home for his sixth in six games this season. The Woods managed to successfully run the clock down and the Ducks just produced one chance of grabbing an equaliser in stoppage-time as a ball into the box ran loose, Collard was unable to get a shot in and then substitute Sonny French poked an effort wide of the post.

Northwood’s return to form is rewarded with a home game against Ryman Premier neighbours Harrow Borough in the next round just two weeks away but more immediately they face an away league game at Kings Langley on Monday.