AFC DUNSTABLE   Saturday 10th September 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  AFC Dunstable 3  Northwood 1   

Scorers: Christie 31, Hall 63, Humbert 81

Debattista 45

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Richard Perks     1 Montel Joseph
2 Courtney Massay     2 Alex Nolan (89m)
3 James Bishop     3 Julian Smith
4 Terry Griffiths     4 Filipe Anjos
5 Stefan Bailey     5 James Budden
6 Brandon Carney (61m)     6 Louis Stead (80m)
7 Ollie Cox     7 Louis Bircham
8 Roy Byron (61m)     8 James Burgess
9 Jermaine Hall (89m)     9 Ryan Debattista (70m)
10 Josh Humbert     10 Myles Stephenson
11 Bernard Christie     11 Callum Wright
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Kyran McGhan-George (61m)     12 Luke Heneghan (70m)
14 -     14 Simeon Owen (89m)
15 Joe Hankin (89m)     15 Georges Ehui
16 Jack Waldren (61m)     16 Thomas Spenser
17 Moses Olaleye     17 Frankie Jones (80m)
      Referee: Martyn Gospel
Assistants: Andrew Burston & Mark Wetherall
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS: James Brown  




The Woods were hoping to build on their excellent Bank Holiday Monday victory over Potters Bar Town nearly two weeks ago as they travelled to newly-promoted AFC Dunstable, who had only lost one of their opening six matches. Mark Burgess named an unchanged starting line-up, but the home side had several players missing through injury and had transferred in two players from Premier Division Kings Langley to strengthen.

With the persistent rain leaving the good surface slick for their passing game, the Woods started well and in the very first minute Myles Stephenson made good ground on the left, battling past Courtney Massay to send over a good cross which was blocked for a corner by Terry Griffiths as Ryan Debattista looked to get the decisive touch.

Three minutes later home goalkeeper Ricky Perks made a timely punch to clear a corner just as it was dropping onto the head of Louis Stead and then another good move involving Callum Wright and Alex Nolan led to a Louis Bircham strike which was deflected wide. From the resulting Wright corner, James Budden headed over the bar.
Wright was next to go close with a powerful drive from distance but the ball whistled just over the bar and as the home side struggled to get a foothold in the game James Bishop picked up an early yellow card for a poor challenge on Nolan.

The home side had hardly threatened on attack but they had worked their way into the game and they stole the lead on 32 minutes when a long-ball forward out of his own half by Griffiths was met by BJ Christie, who either timed his run superbly or was well offside. He applied a great finish into the roof of the net with no defender near him.

It was a big blow for the Woods and they needed to hit back quickly to revive their fortunes. However, after 38 minutes a dangerous free-kick was headed back into the danger area by Jermaine Hall and Montel Joseph chose to kick a clearance that only just missed the home striker closing in on him. Then a cross from Josh Humbert found Hall in the centre but he missed the target.

But Northwood raised their game again and in the final minute of the first half Julian Smith did well down the right and whipped in a fierce drive towards the far post which Ryan Debattista managed to head past Perks for the equaliser.  The home side tried to get back in front in stoppage-time and Joseph had to get down well to push away a shot from Roy Byron and he recovered well to smother the loose ball too.

The rain was heavier when the second half commenced but the Woods again enjoyed plenty of possession and looked more likely to score in the opening third. Louis Stead latched onto a Stephenson knock-down but saw his low strike saved well by Perks. Then a good ball slipped through the channel seemed to have put Debattista in on goal but his first touch let him down and the ball ran through to the keeper.

The home side made a double-change on 61 minutes and with Kyran McGahn-George sitting in front of the shaky back line, it seemed to blunt the Woods attack. Just two minutes later some good work by Christie out wide saw him hit a cross deep to the far post where substitute Jack Waldren met it but steered a header the wrong side of the upright. If that had been a warning for the Northwood defence, they didn’t heed it as AFC Dunstable were back in front a minute later with a fine solo effort. Jermaine Hall is currently the League’s top scorer and he showed why when taking advantage of a misplaced pass from Nolan. He took the ball down just outside the box and turned quickly to perfectly curl a shot beyond Joseph and inside the far post.

The Woods were still playing some neat football at times but were getting very little luck around the box. Nolan got forward well and sent over a dangerous and inviting cross which was just too high and no-one could quite reach. Luke Heneghan and Frankie Jones were both introduced for some fresh legs and they spread the ball around well. A Heneghan corner on 82 minutes dropped for Budden but he headed wide of the goal.

But the home side wrapped up the points after 84 minutes from a corner of their own as it swung in and a downward header bounced up into the net with the goal credited to Humbert.  Even then the Woods could have netted a second close to the end as Stephenson, long throw was flicked on by Budden but Wright volleyed over the top from close-range.

With no midweek game, Mark Burgess has arranged a friendly at Bedfont & Feltham on Tuesday night as he looks to address the run of away defeats and try out a few new recruits. Next Saturday, the Woods are at home to surprise package fourth-placed Aylesbury United who have won all three of their away games to date.