CHALFONT ST PETER   Saturday 30th January 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Chalfont St Peter 0  Northwood 3   


Muir 12, 51, Stead 78

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Michael Power-Simpson     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Lewis Ochoa (64m)     2 Alex Nolan
3 Remmel Clarke     3 Andy Lomas
4 Michael Murray     4 Steve Brown ©
5 Ryan Wharton (64m)     5 James Budden
6 Adam Kirby     6 Bayley Brown (78m)
7 Alex Paine     7 Max Holland (74m)
8 Alan Hedley     8 James Burgess
9 Aaron Lansiquot     9 Niko Muir
10 Jack Mullan (46m)     10 Louis Stead (84m)
11 Jack Hutchinson     11 Rob Hastings
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Craig Carby     12 Joakim Ehui (74m)
14 Mohammed Sampat     14 Jermain Heron
15 Craige Tomkins (46m)     15 Myles Stephenson (84m)
16 Anthony Thomas  (64m)     16 Georges Ehui (78m)
17 Kofi Lockhart-Adams (64m)     17 Mark Burgess
      Referee: Robin Cox; Assistants: James Wassell & Philip Morris      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  



The Woods continued their excellent recent form as they blew away second-placed Chalfont St. Peter and closed the gap on the play-off places at the top of the table. Northwood boasted a nine-match unbeaten run since losing 0-1 at home to the Saints back in late November and an away record that stretches back to the end of September since they last tasted defeat, but this was their first away game that survived the weather in six weeks.

Chalfont were still missing their talisman, top scorer Tony Mendy but the Woods were up against their own top scorer Michael Murray who switched clubs a month earlier so clearly had a point to prove for so many reasons. Mark Burgess was forced into just one change from the team that had beaten Beaconsfield Sycob a week earlier with James Burgess returning to the midfield in place of Shane Cojocarel whose loan period from Barnet, interrupted by the bad weather, had come to an end.

Both sides struggled to get to grips with the heavy pitch in the early stages with the only early effort on goal coming on five minutes as Alex Payne looped a header from an Alex Lansiquot cross well over the bar. Saints defender Ryan Wharton picked up an early yellow card when pulling back Rob Hastings and then the Woods took the lead after just 13 minutes. Louis Stead did well on the left to jink into the box and arrow a pass to Niko Muir who created some space to turn an rifle a shot inside the post which left goalkeeper Michael Power-Simpson floundering. It puts the striker into double figures for the season.

It filled Northwood with confidence and after 19 minutes, Max Holland did well to get into the box and cut a ball back and although Bayley Brown couldn’t quite divert it goalwards, the ball ran to Hastings whose shot was saved by the Chalfont keeper. The Woods, resplendent in their new change kit, continued to press with Stead racing down the right and playing a good ball inside to Hastings who attempted chip saw Power-Simpson track back and tip the ball over the bar as it dropped dangerously.

After 35 minutes a good corner from Stead saw Bayley Brown go for a brave header as the keeper punched it away under pressure but the young midfielder survived being caught slightly and was straight back into the fray. Two minutes later a long ball bounced kindly for Stead as he raced through but his shot was well blocked by Power-Simpson and then it was the turn of Muir to catch the Chalfont defence square once again and although he played the ball past the incoming ‘keeper, Wharton was well placed to clear off the line.

There was just one glimpse of a chance before half-time for the Saints as former Woods midfielder Jack Hutchinson showed a bit of skill to get into the box down the right but Steve Brown was across to block his shot at the near post.

Chalfont made one change at half-time by replacing Jack Mullan with winger Craige Tomkins, who had won the game for them at Northwood Park a couple of months earlier. However, it had little effect as Northwood continued to dominate and they were soon two goals in front. After 51 minutes Stead threaded another good ball through for Muir who raced on to go past the keeper and roll home into an empty net. There could have been a hat-trick for Muir on 64 minutes as a good move saw Holland knock in a cross which the striker headed straight at the ‘keeper as Northwood continued to hold all the aces.

The home side gambled with a double-change which brought on two forwards, Anthony Thomas and Kofi Lockhart-Adams for two defenders in Wharton and Lewis Ochoa. Having come back from being two goals down to win 3-2 in each of their previous home games, the Saints would have been hoping for something similar but this time the gamble failed.

The Woods attacked at will. Hastings fired just off target and then Steve Brown headed an Andy Lomas chip wide of the post. After 71 minutes Muir supplied an excellent ball from the right which picked out Stead unmarked and although he hit a sweet first-time volley it was too near Power-Simpson who saved comfortably.

Another neat combination between Muir and Stead led to a crisp shot which flew only just wide and on 75 minutes Muir battled into the box under pressure and got in a firm strike that the keeper again managed to palm away. But it seemed only a matter of time before Northwood grabbed a third goal and it came on 77 minutes as Stead exchanged passes with the marauding Lomas and then neatly sidestepped a challenge in the box before shooting past Power-Simpson from close-range.

The three points were secure and there was only one threat to the much-sought after clean-sheet as the Woods conceded a free-kick just outside the box after 89 minutes. Most of the Northwood contingent would have expected to face a trademark Murray dead-ball strike but in fact Thomas was given the responsibility and his effort trickled through to Berkley Laurencin who had hardly been troubled in goal throughout the match.

Despite the impressive victory, the Woods stay in seventh place in the table and still need to maintain their winning form if they are to get in amongst the play-off hopefuls. They have another tough league game scheduled for next Saturday when Royston Town come to Northwood Park. Northwood’s previous best away win of the season before this victory had come at Royston in the second week of the season and the Cambridgeshire side will be out to avenge that while improving their own promotion hopes.