NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 11th March 2017   FARNBOROUGH

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Northwood 2  Farnborough 4  

Bircham 36, Budden 50

Huggins 10, Ciardini 63,
Smith 66, Donnelly 85

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Borja Loeches-Teixeira     1 Aaron Bufton (55m)
2 Daniel Taylor (81m)     2 Josh Huggins
3 Andrew White     3 John Onunga
4 James Budden     4 CJ Fearn ©
5 Malachy McGovern     5 Keith Emmerson
6 Louis Bircham     6 Sam Pearse (58m)
7 Joakim Ehui     7 Jordan Graham (58m)
8 James Burgess ©     8 Scott Donnelly
9 Mickey White (70m)     9 Pat Cox
10 Benjy Aghadiubo (87m)     10 Perry Coles
11 Kieran Barnes     11 Nic Cardini
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Fabian Brown (81m)     12 Dennis Oli (58m)
14 Jamie Doolan (70m)     14 Eddie Smith (85m)
15 Kieron Loughney     15 Jack Barton (58m)
16 Jamie Clark-Samuel (87m)     16 Ethan Allen
17 -     17 Jordan Goater
      Referee: Dan Richardson; Assistants: Mario Stetakovic & Chris Bodell      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown    

When looking to recover from the mauling at Fleet Town a week earlier, a home game against former giants Farnborough, currently second in the table wouldn’t have been ideal opposition for the beleaguered Woods side. And with Mark Burgess, Filipe Anjos, Myles Stephenson and Thomas Spenser all ruled out through suspension, it was a side that included five teenagers in the starting line-up that took on the task.

Perhaps it was no real surprise that the Hampshire side were quickest out of the traps and after a constant spell of pressure, they took an early lead on ten minutes. A corner was swung in, cannoned off recent signing Pat Cox and onto the crossbar but when it rebounded Josh Huggins was quickest to react and he headed into the roof of the net.

The domination continued with the experienced Nic Ciardini firing a shot across the face of goal and only just wide of the far post before Perry Coles latched onto a header down from Sam Pearce but was denied by a superb tackle from James Burgess. Another new signing, Scott Donnelly chipped just wide from distance but the Woods began to get their counter-attacking going as the first-half entered the last ten minutes.

Louis Bircham’s strike was not far wide of the post but after 36 minutes and after Coles had seen another shot pushed wide by Woods ‘keeper Borja Loeches-Teixeira, a quick break and cross from Joakim Ehui saw Kieran Barnes tripped in the box by John Oyenuga and a penalty was awarded. Bircham tucked away the spot-kick comfortably and the Woods were level.

Farnborough looked to restore their advantage in the closing stages of the half and Donnelly shot wide following good work from CJ Fearn before Coles did well with a tricky run but Loeches-Teixeira palmed his effort wide once again.

Just five minutes into the second half came a possible game changing moment. Bircham angled in a free-kick and James Budden ghosted in to volley the ball home as one-time Woods goalkeeper Aaron Bufton collided with defender Pearce. Northwood were suddenly in front, Farnborough lost their goalkeeper to a badly gashed shin and soon after Pearce limped off too. The visitors reached by putting outfield player Fearn in goal and then immediately brought on the experienced strike pair Dennis Oli and Ed Smith for younger midfielders.

It was a tactic that proved decisive. After 63 minutes Ciardini went on a typical run down the left and then got lucky with a shot that took a big deflection off Burgess to wrong-foot the Woods ‘keeper and pull Farnborough level. Just three minutes later Coles cut in from the left past Dan Taylor and after Loeches-Teixeira spilled his shot, the poacher Smith pounced to restore the visitors' lead.

The Woods ‘keeper then made a good save to deny Coles after a good flick on from Cox and the latter then headed wide himself after another good cross from Ciardini.

But there was no way back into the game for Northwood and Farnborough wrapped up the three points on 85 minutes when Cox was put through and rounded the oncoming keeper while also steering wide of the goal but he recovered it well and set up Donnelly for a cool finish.