NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 12th September 2015   HARROW BOROUGH

Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round

  Northwood 0  Harrow Borough 0   

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Ben Goode
2 Omar Vassell     2 Josh Webb
3 Andy Lomas     3 Jack Waldren
4 Jon Munday     4 Anthony Page
5 Steve Brown ©     5 Shaun Preddie
6 George Nicholas     6 David Taylor (59m)
7 Joakim Ehui (61m)     7 Michael Bryan
8 James Burgess (59m)     8 Mark McLeod
9 Louis Stead     9 Mark Charles-Smith (81m)
10 Michael Murray (81m)     10 Lewis Driver
11 Rob Hastings     11 Dylan Cascoe (59m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Nick Turner     12 George McCluskey
14 Myles Stephenson (81m)     14 Jamie Cassell
15 Perry Dicker     15 Spencer McCall (59m)
16 Max Holland (61m)     16 Connor French (81m)
17 Niko Muir (59m)     17 Kamaron English (59m)
18 David Moran     18 -
19 Bayley Brown     19 -
      Referee: Neil Morrison; Assistants: Paul Andrews & Anthony Quinn      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  


The Woods more than matched their Ryman Premier neighbours in this Emirates FA Cup clash but were denied a place in the next round by a star performance by visiting goalkeeper Ben Goode. But Northwood also got lucky when a defensive error went unpunished as Harrow hit the post twice in quick succession.

Manager Mark Burgess made two changes from the previous week’s draw against Barton Rovers with Jon Munday restored to the defence after injury and Rob Hastings brought back in attack; Nick Turner and Max Holland were those who made way and relegated to the bench. Harrow arrived at Northwood Park boasting an unbeaten away record this season but were missing former Woods central defender Michael Peacock, away at a wedding.

And it was a fairly cagey, even start to the game. Rob Hastings got forward quickly and forced Goode to push his cross wide of the near-post early on before a good cross from Michael Bryan found the head of the dangerous Mark Charles-Smith but the tall striker headed over the bar. After this, the Woods settled into more of a rhythm and a good move on 16 minutes saw Joakim Ehui make a quick break down the middle and feed Hastings on the right. His cross was aimed for the far post and was met with a downward volley by the stretching Michael Murray but it lacked the power to beat Goode.

After 24 minutes George Nicholas found space but had his shot deflected wide for a corner but when Andy Lomas centred it was met by a firm header centrally from Steve Brown and Goode pulled off a great reflex save to push the ball over the top. When another Hastings cross was only half-cleared, the ball rolled to Nicholas for another chance with loads of time but his radar was clearly off as he skewed his shot miles wide of the target.

Both sides were defending stoutly. The Borough forced a corner and there was a bit of a scramble that followed but attempts from Bryan and Shaun Preddie were both blocked. Then, at the other end, Ehui appeared to break through but again had his effort deflected by some last-ditch defence. From that corner, Brown dummied the ball and Murray played in Hastings but again the finish lacked composure and sailed into the cemetery. Northwood had enjoyed the edge for quite a long period but without reward and when Ehui whipped in a good cross, Louis Stead couldn’t quite reach to convert.

The tricky Bryan managed to get a shot on target for Harrow just before the break but it was straight at goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin who gathered comfortably but it was another corner that saw the Woods go close again as a quickly-taken one caught the visitors napping and Brown flicked it at the near-post but Goode was alert and kept it out.

The first ten minutes of the second-half saw the Premier Division side finally show a bit of their higher standard. A jinking run from Lewis Driver saw his strike cleared by Omar Vassell but only as far as Dylan Cascoe who snatched at his shot and fired well wide. The Woods were still dangerous on the break and Hastings clipped another good ball across goal but again there was no-one there to meet it.

Three minutes later David Taylor’s effort was easily taken by Laurencin and then Cascoe spurned another chance with a shot that curled over the bar but the Northwood had their real escape on 58 minutes just after Driver had picked up the game’s first booking for a bad challenge on Brown. Jon Munday hit a back-pass to Laurencin that put him under pressure as Driver chased it down. At first he seemed to have cleverly side-stepped the forward but Driver nicked it back off him and then played the ball to Charles-Smith. His effort beat the recovering Laurencin before crashing back off the post but the rebound ran kindly to Driver only for him to fire against the same post and the ball was finally cleared to safety.

Changes followed as the returning Niko Muir replaced James Burgess following his spell with VCD Athletic, while Borough made a double substitution. The Woods were giving away a few too many free-kicks and were almost made to pay on 61 minutes as Josh Webb pumped one in and Charles-Smith met it with a downward header but it was at Laurencin who continued to show a safe pair of hands. Max Holland then replaced Ehui and the Woods began to make inroads forward again. Brown again showed dominance in the Harrow penalty-area with a header down but across the face of the goal before a good ball from Nicholas was met by Hastings’ volley at the far post but it flashed across goal and wide.

There was still all to play for with twenty minutes to go as Nicholas picked up a booking following a series of little fouls and then Harrow substitute Spencer McCall hit the target but Laurencin was again down to save well. After 77 minutes the Woods looked to have taken the lead though. A free-kick was awarded for handball right on the right-hand edge of the penalty-area. Murray flighted it towards the near-post where Brown showed great determination to get a diving-header in on goal from six yards but again he found ‘keeper Goode equal to it as he managed to deflect the ball up and then gather it safely as it came down.

Stead was having a quiet game but did hit the target on 84 minutes with Goode making a comfortable stop before Harrow’s substitutes combined with Kamaron English breaking quickly and Connor French stretched to get his head to his cross but it flew over the top.

It was into stoppage-time that Nicholas was penalised for tripping Bryan twenty-five yards from goal and it resulted in an unnecessary second yellow card which left the Woods down to ten men for the closing-stages. More importantly, there was a dangerous free-kick to defend and it was McCall who went for it but Laurencin tipped his shot safely over the bar and the corner came to nothing.

There was only a couple of minutes for the ten men to survive and they did that without incident and now the two clubs must go again on Tuesday night in the replay at Earlsmead with still all to play for.