AFC RUSHDEN & D.   Saturday 26th March 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  AFC Rushden & D. 0  Northwood 0  



Team line-up  
  Team line-up
17 Matt Finlay     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Connor Kennedy     2 Alex Nolan
3 Jason Lee     3 Andy Lomas
4 Jack Ashton     4 Steve Brown ©
5 Liam Dolman ©     5 James Budden
6 Tom Manship     6 Mark Burgess (46m)
7 Andy Hall (59m)     7 Jermaine Heron (73m)
8 James Jepson (88m)     8 Bayley Brown (66m)
9 Elliot Sandy     9 Niko Muir
10 Tom Lorraine (78m)     10 George Nicholas
11 Claudio Hoban     11 Max Holland
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Shawn Richards (59m)     12 Miles Stephenson (66m)
14 Lewis Leslie (88m)     14 Joakim Ehui
15 Jon Stevenson     15 Georges Ehui (46m)
16 Brad Harris     16 Rob Hastings (73m)
13 Robbie Parsons (78m)     17 Simon Huggett
      Referee: Scott Postin; Assistants: Simon Kavanagh & Paul Hand      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown
AFC R&D video on YouTube here




Both sides went into this game having struggled in front of goal of late with just one goal in the previous four games and the home side had lost each one of them as their title-bid had faltered badly, so it was no real surprise that this ended goalless. After the previous week’s sunshine, it was back to wind and rain for this contest and Mark Burgess was forced into a few changes, choosing to replace his suspended brother James himself in a rare midfield outing. Jermaine Heron was given his first league start while Max Holland returned from injury on the other flank.

But there was very little to entertain the large crowd at Wellingborough’s ground as the Woods defence, with James Budden restored to the centre having missed the midweek trip to Petersfield, gave little space to the home strikers. An early Andy Hall free-kick was headed on by Jason Lee but Berkley Laurencin claimed the ball comfortably and after 11 minutes Claudiu Hoban cut in from the left and fired high and wide with the first real attempt on goal.

Bayley Brown, also starting his first game for a while, in place of the suspended Louis Stead, picked up an unlucky early booking when he swung for a shot at goal but missed and connected with an opponent. It took 29 minutes for the Woods to make any threat on the home goal and when a corner was swung in, Burgess appeared to be blocked off while Budden headed back across goal and wide.

A minute later a deep cross was met by the head of Hall but his effort back across goal was also always going wide. The game had not really come alive but there was a flashpoint on 33 minutes as George Nicholas’s mistimed tackle should have been just a free-kick but the usual complaints and pushing and shoving meant it ended up with a yellow card for the Woods midfielder along with Diamonds’ Thomas Manship.

Nicholas did notch the first effort from either side on target after 40 minutes as a deflected effort made its way through to Matt Finlay in goal but without any real power but the home side did raise their game in the final five minutes of the half. It was the bustling Elliot Sandy who threatened with a series of shots but the first was well wide, the second was more accurate but hit his fellow striker Tom Lorraine and then a third flew over the bar.

Georges Ehui replaced manager Burgess for the second half and the Woods did start in a more attacking mode. Alex Nolan fed the ball into Niko Muir and his shot on the turn deflected wide, though with only a goal-kick awarded. But it was soon back to a midfield battle and when Nicholas lost possession, a quick break put Hoban clear on the left but Nolan did well to get across and block for a corner.

Both sides made substitutions, looking to inject some change into the pattern of play; Shawn Richards for the home side, returning after a recent spell at another club, while Myles Stephenson came on for Bayley Brown for the Woods.

On 68 minutes, a half-cleared cross by Nolan fell to Hoban for a half-chance but again his shot failed to hit the target and it was Northwood who went close to snatching the lead three minutes later. Georges Ehui played a good ball across to Holland who played Muir into the box but his good strike was pushed away by Finlay and there was no-one following in to convert the loose ball.

Sandy continued to work hard for Rushden up front but was increasingly isolated and a series of efforts on goal in quick succession were all blocked by some solid defending from Steve Brown and Budden plus one comfortable save from Laurencin but there was no last minute excitement for this game as the two sides played out the goalless draw through to the final whistle with just a yellow card for each side towards the end.