POTTERS BAR TOWN   Saturday 2nd April 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Potters Bar Town 1  Northwood 2  

Hutchinson 14

Netzer 72, Stephenson 87

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Connor Sampson     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Will Wambeek     2 Alex Nolan
3 Lee Grace     3 Andy Lomas
4 Garry Jones ©     4 Steve Brown © (68m)
5 Connor Sullivan     5 James Budden
6 Karim Aissaoui (56m)     6 George Nicholas
7 Joe Bennett     7 Martin Netzer
8 Billy Adcock     8 Bayley Brown (67m)
9 Evandro Delgado     9 Niko Muir
10 Josh Hutchinson     10 Louis Stead
11 Luke Warner-Eley (77m)     11 Max Holland (83m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Dave Lawrence (56m)     12 Georges Ehui
14 Jack Lyons (77m)     14 Myles Stephenson (67m)
15 Ashley Nathaniel-George     15 Rob Hastings (83m)
16 Jerry Maja     16 Joakim Ehui
17 George Robinson     17 Mark Burgess (68m)
      Referee: Dean Skipper; Assistants: Gary Baker & Dean Markwick      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




The Woods clung onto their outside chance of a play-off place by coming from behind to record this narrow victory at Potters Bar with a late goal from substitute Myles Stephenson giving them a second success from their run of five successive away games. Louis Stead returned to the side after suspension while there was a debut given to former Brentford and Charlton Athletic youngster Martin Netzer who had signed on dual-registration from Spartan South Midlands strugglers Oxhey Jets just before the registration deadline.

Potters Bar were also able to welcome their previous season’s top scorer Josh Hutchinson back to their starting line-up, having spent most of the season playing for Wealdstone in the National League South and after just two minutes he combined well with Billy Adcock to set up Luke Warner-Eley for a good shot which was well saved by goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin at the near post.

The play quickly switched to the other end and Stead set up Niko Muir for a first-time shot that carried through to goalkeeper Connor Sampson without enough power to test him. But the home side continued to start brightly and after Muir had failed to clear a corner the busy Adcock slipped in Hutchinson who fired over the top. Then Hutchinson battled his way past Steve Brown and played a good ball to Warner-Eley who volleyed over the bar.

The Scholars weren’t getting things all their own way though and a good ball from Muir then put George Nicholas through and although he beat Sampson to the ball he couldn’t get enough on his shot to get it past the oncoming keeper. A crisp snap-shot from Muir a minute later had power but not direction and Sampson gathered comfortably before Stead curled a shot from distance that was always going too high.

Then after 15 minutes, the home side grabbed an important lead. Will Wambeek played in a good ball from the right and when Joe Bennett flicked the ball on to Hutchinson, the striker’s shot on the turn nestled in the bottom corner of the goal.
Northwood responded well to the setback and a good build-up saw Nicholas cut in from the right for a shot which was saved by Sampson. From the resulting corner, the ball was half-cleared and Steve Brown hit a good shot which was deflected wide of the goal. Nicholas had another effort that flew low and wide soon after while on 26 minutes Muir hit a firm strike which again flew across goal but wide with Max Holland unable to reach it.

It continued to be an open game despite the drying, bumpy pitch making it difficult for really flowing football and Potters Bar went route one when a long ball from former Woods defender Karim Aissaoui set up Evandro Delgado and although he did well to get the better of his markers, he fired well over the top. Netzer had struggled to make any early impact but he did get a low shot that flew wide on 31 minutes and then James Budden headed over an Andy Lomas corner as the Woods continued to look for an equaliser before the break.

At the other end Budden tangled with Delgado just outside the box but the ball ran loose and Adcock went for goal with a powerful strike that was always rising and flew over the bar. A corner caused a few problems for the Woods as Garry Jones made space for a shot that was well blocked for another corner but the half came to an end with Muir at the other end finding a shot that forced Sampson into a diving stop.

Early in the second half a good batting run from Delgado caused a few problems as he got past three defenders but eventually his shot was blocked and the ball ran safely through to Laurencin in goal. The Woods started to get on top soon after this. Lomas knocked in a deep free-kick which was headed on by Budden and Netzer headed down at the far post but the ball was cleared. A minute later Netzer was more involved as he cut in and shot narrowly wide.

Laurencin was back in action at the other end to deny Hutchinson and Adcock in quick succession but it was mainly Northwood who were on the offensive and after 56 minutes an excellent move saw Netzer receive the ball from Stead before slipping it inside to Alex Nolan. He played it neatly onto Stead but his shot was wide of the post.

On the hour Netzer hit another good shot which was fumbled by the keeper but he recovered as the Woods winger tried to get to the loose ball and just held on under pressure. Another Netzer cross just a minute later saw Holland head down at the far post and in the scramble that followed it was Lomas who managed to get a shot at goal but Sampson just managed to dive across and claw the ball away from goal.

Some good defending by the home side managed to block efforts from both Nicholas and Muir after a good ball in from Nolan as the Woods continued to increase the pressure but then they made two substitutions with Stephenson replacing Bayley Brown and Mark Burgess coming on for the injured Steve Brown at the back. Netzer was continuing to ask questions of the Scholars defence, now switched to the left flank and his cross was aimed for Stephenson as the ball was cleared by Jones but after 73 minutes another ball down the left found Netzer again and this time he took a touch before drilling a shot across the keeper and in for an equaliser.

The Woods kept pressing and a good channel ball freed Stephenson who just touched a shot past the oncoming Sampson but the keeper had got a vital touch and it was enough to see the ball roll inches wide of the post. It seemed as if the home side would hold on for a draw but after 88 minutes Muir played an excellent ball wide to Netzer and his whipped in cross flew off the head of Stephenson as he challenged with Jones and it nestled in the top corner, with Sampson unable to keep it out.

Potters Bar will have been fed up with the sight of the Woods this season having now met four times in all with the first game ending in a draw in the Trophy but the other three, including the replay, all being narrow single-goal victories for Northwood.

Northwood are still reliant on other slipping up if they are to make it into the play-offs from their final five matches which they probably need to take maximum points from. Their next two are at home against sides still battling against relegation so always tough to beat – Leighton Town next Saturday followed by neighbours Hanwell Town the following Tuesday night.