NORTHWOOD FC   Tuesday 3rd November 2015   UXBRIDGE FC

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Northwood 3  Uxbridge 1  

Muir 16, Murray 52,
Bailey o.g. 65

Grant 80

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Berkley Laurencin     1 Paul McCarthy
2 Alex Nolan     2 Ben Peden
3 Andy Lomas     3 Ryan Phillips (70m)
4 Mark Burgess     4 Dan Bailey
5 James Burgess ©     5 Mitchell Wiseman
6 Louis Stead (90m)     6 Kevin Warner (46m)
7 Joakim Ehui (76m)     7 Lewis Cole
8 George Nicholas     8 Anthony O’Connor (46m)
9 Niko Muir     9 Matt Woods
10 Michael Murray (82m)     10 Wayne Carter
11 Max Holland     11 Dave Thomas
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Rob Hastings (76m)     12 Jon Jo Bates (70m)
14 Myles Stephenson (90m)     14 Mark Dennison
15 Bayley Brown (82m)     15 Reece Grant (46m)
16 Ethan Sennett     16 Luke Henegan (46m)
17 Jermaine Heron     17  
      Referee: Mr O Saliy; Assistants: Spencer Brewer & Midawa Manyanye      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  




After Saturday’s disappointing defeat in the FA Trophy, the Woods bounced back to form with a comfortable victory in this local derby league fixture against Middlesex rivals Uxbridge. Jon Munday’s groin strain meant he joined injured skipper Steve Brown on the sidelines so James Burgess continued to fill in alongside manager Mark Burgess in central defence while Alex Nolan was promoted from the reserves to take the place of Omar Vassell, who has left to join up with Ryman Premier side Hendon.

Like they had a week earlier in what turned out to be a narrow win over Potters Bar, Northwood started very brightly, playing at a high tempo and putting the visitors under tremendous pressure. After six minutes Max Holland danced his way past a couple of half-hearted challenges and into the box but his finish was lacking, shooting tamely straight at a grateful Paul McCarthy in goal.

Just two minutes later Joakim Ehui and George Nicholas cut through the middle of the park and fed Michael Murray whose cross was met by Niko Muir’s strike but McCarthy did well to keep it out. Louis Stead’s effort from distance was always swinging wide of the target and then the Woods did have the ball in the net on 13 minutes. Holland and Murray worked the ball wide to Ehui who did well on the right before finding Murray on the edge of the box. His shot was blocked by Muir on the six-yard box and although he turned the ball in, it was ruled out for an offside flag.

A minute later Muir turned supplier with a great crossfield ball to Holland. Hr raced towards the box but shot well over the bar. But the goal that this continued pressure deserved finally came on 16 minutes with more good work from Ehui picking out Muir whose shot from a tight angle beat McCarthy at his near post for his fourth goal in successive games.

Uxbridge had their first effort on goal after 23 minutes when a free-kick was met with a firm header from Mitchell Wiseman but goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin was behind it and saved comfortably.

But it was a rare attack for the visitors as Northwood continued to look for goals. Another good ball put Ehui in on goal after 29 minutes but again McCarthy was out quickly and the Woods winger was unable to lift the ball over his diving body and his shot was blocked again. Holland and Stead both followed this with strikes that failed to hit the target and then Murray dragged a shot wide of the post from a good position.

The half-time break came with the Woods only one goal ahead and it should have been more but the former Woods manager Tony Choules made a double change at half-time as he looked to regain some of the initiative. Kevin Warner and Anthony O’Connor were replaced by Luke Henegan and Reece Grant, the latter of which had played five games for the Woods back in 2014.

It made little immediate difference, though, and after 52 minutes Ehui caused problems again, darting between two defensive challenges and going down in the box. Penalty claims were waved away but the ball had rolled on to Muir who was then wrestled to the ground and this time the spot-kick was awarded. Murray dispatched his penalty with style to take his season’s tally into double-figures and the Woods finally had a two-goal lead.

A persistent run from full-back Ben Peden saw him get the better of Holland and his cross picked out Wayne Carter but the Uxbridge skipper’s touch went straight at Laurencin. Then, on 65 minutes, Northwood went further ahead as Muir played an excellent ball wide to Nicholas and when his low cross was whipped in, defender Dan Bailey’s attempted clearance was stabbed past McCarthy for an own goal.

There was a brief rally from the visitors with Henegan’s shot pushed wide by Laurencin and a couple of corners that followed weren’t cleared properly but remained unpunished. Ehui, enjoying his best game for some time, saw McCarthy save well from a good strike before he was replaced by Rob Hastings but on 80 minutes, Uxbridge did pull a goal back. Top scorer Matt Woods tussled with Nolan close to the by-line on the left and was awarded a penalty when he went to ground. That was taken by Dave Thomas and although Laurencin dived the right way to make a fine save, the Woods were slow to get to the rebound and Grant just scrambled it over the line.

The Woods responded well and after McCarthy had made a good save, Nicholas looked likely to score from the loose ball but his shot smacked against the post and went wide. Then, on 84 minutes a flicked-on header from Nicholas put Hastings into the box. He appeared to be impeded as he went to shoot past the on-rushing keeper but there was no second penalty as McCarthy reached the ball first.

It was Northwood’s third successive league win has taken them up to eighth place in the table but quite amazingly only two points off of top spot in what has become a very tight grouping. Just four points separate the top ten and good form in the second third of the season, which starts on Saturday against Godalming Town could put any of those top ten sides in a good position to challenge for the play-off positions.