UXBRIDGE   Saturday 13th February 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Uxbridge 0  Northwood 3   


Muir 45, Holland 62,
Budden 80

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Paul McCarthy     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Ryan Dearden (64m)     2 Georges Ehui
3 Lewis Cole     3 Andy Lomas
4 Mitchell Wiseman     4 Mark Burgess
5 Mark Dennison     5 James Budden
6 Dan Bailey (46m)     6 George Nicholas
7 Jon-Jo Bates     7 Joakim Ehui (84m)
8 Kevin Warner     8 James Burgess © (68m)
9 Anthony O’Connor     9 Niko Muir
10 Wayne Carter ©     10 Louis Stead
11 Reece Grant (68m)     11 Max Holland (71m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Abobaker Eiso (64m)     12 Rob Hastings (71m)
14 Luke Henegan (68m)     14 Jon Munday
15 Steven Ibizugne (46m)     15 Jermaine Heron (84m)
16 Ben Peden     16 Bayley Brown (68m)
17 Sam Gray     17 Steve Brown
      Referee: Conor Farrell; Assistants: Derek Hughes & Josh Osofa      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  




The Woods bounced back from their heavy home defeat against title-challengers Royston Town with this comprehensive win over local rivals Uxbridge that completed a “double” over former Manager Tony Choules’ side and extended their unbeaten away run to eleven matches over the last fourteen weeks. With skipper Steve Brown and Alex Nolan both ruled out through injury, Mark Burgess gave himself a rare run-out, while Georges Ehui continued to cover at right-back and Rob Hastings was also rested with Joakim Ehui preferred from the start. George Nicholas returned after his suspension and replaced youngster Bayley Brown in the centre of midfield.

The Woods started on the front foot and after just two minutes a good move saw Louis Stead combined with Joakim Ehui to set up Max Holland for a chance but he took too long and was crowded out. Former Woods attacker Jon-Jo Bates had an effort that was drilled well wide of the target five minutes later and then it was Northwood back on the attack, led again by Stead but this time with Holland playing in Andy Lomas whose effort flew well over the top.

Just a minute later Stead combined with Joakim Ehui and tried a first-time shot at goal which hit the target but had goalkeeper Paul McCarthy well behind it and he saved comfortably. The pressure continued, with James Burgess knocking in a free-kick that Mark Burgess met with a header that looped up and over the bar. Nicholas and Lomas tried their luck from distance but were unable to hit the target as the Woods continued to dominate possession and then ex-Woods players Wayne Carter and Mark Dennison both picked up yellow cards midway through the half.

But Bates was still probing away for Uxbridge and forced Berkley Laurencin into his first real action of the match with a well-struck shot that had the ‘keeper diving low to his left to save and then Niko Muir was also cautioned for an ill-advised barge on Lewis Cole near the touchline. Cole responded with a meaty but well-timed challenge on Muir soon after but was then also yellow-carded when his mistimed a similar tackle of Georges Ehui.

But the game had evened out a little as half-time approached and Dennison got a shot in after a cross wasn’t cleared that Laurencin also claimed comfortably. Then, just before the break, a little bit of trickery from Muir inside the box saw him create some space with quick feet and then he crashed home a shot that beat McCarthy at his near post for his 49th goal for the club in his 99th appearance.

Uxbridge made a change for the second-half with Steven Ibizugbe replacing Dan Bailey but after Cole managed to get forward and play a good ball in that Reece Grant couldn’t quite reach, the Woods again took control. On 56 minutes, a wide ball saw Joakim Ehui attack at pace and find Muir in the box who again went for the near-post but this time McCarthy was equal to it. A minute later another break found Joakim Ehui in space again and this time he cut in and went for goal only to be unluckily denied by the post. The loose ball fell to Stead but his effort flew over the bar from ten yards.

But on the hour Uxbridge had their best chance. After Stead shot low but at McCarthy, the home side mounted a quick break and a long ball in saw Anthony O’Connor manage to head the ball over Laurencin but James Budden did well to hook the goalbound ball away from danger. Having gone closest to levelling, Uxbridge were then suddenly two goals down as Max Holland raced down the right and jinked his way past two defenders and across the face of the goal before planting a shot past McCarthy from close-range.

It should have been a third just two minutes later as another ball played wide to the right and this time it was Nicholas who found space to whip in a cross which found Holland unmarked but this time the youngster slid in and miskicked, sending the ball across goal rather than into the gaping net.

Both sides made substitutions as the game entered the final twenty minutes but it was still Northwood that held all the aces. Nicholas fired just too high from distance and then a Lomas corner saw substitute Bayley Brown get in a close-range header but it was blocked and cleared away. But on 80 minutes a free-kick was pumped in and Budden, who had enjoyed an excellent game, rose high above Dennison to get in a powerful header that again beat McCarthy at his near-post and gave the Woods a well-deserved 3-0 lead.

Woods’ substitutes Hastings and Jermaine Heron combined late on, with the latter firing well over but Uxbridge were well beaten at this stage and Northwood took another three points to give renewed hopes for their attempts to reach a play-off place.

Before they can continue with that ambition at home to Ware next Saturday, the side will need to put that long-unbeaten away record to the test once again on Tuesday night. The much-delayed Red Insure Cup third round tie at Godalming Town finally looks likely to go ahead this week with another away tie at Winchester City in the quarter-finals awaiting the winners.