KEMPSTON ROVERS   Saturday 18th February 2017   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Kempston Rovers 2  Northwood 2  

Watson 30, Goodman 90+2

Stephenson 45+2, 60

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Carl Knox     1 Borja Loeches-Teixeira
2 Munashe Sundire (66m)     2 Conor Clarke
3 Phil Draycott     3 Andrew White
4 Robbie Goodman     4 James Budden
5 Seb Simpson     5 Filipe Anjos
6 Grant Fryer     6 Alex De La Salle (75m)
7 Ben Shepherd     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Sam Macrae (75m)     8 James Burgess ©
9 Jamaine Ivy     9 Fabian Brown (63m)
10 Danny Watson     10 Myles Stephenson
11 Ash Fuller     11 Kieran Barnes
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 George Boland     12 Louis Bircham
14 Sam Johnson (75m)     14 Massoxi De Souza Barradas (75m)
15 Gary Ridgway     15 Daniel Lebbie (63m)
16 Martin Conway (66m)     16 Daniel Taylor
17 -     17 Thomas Spenser

Referee: M Gospes; Assistants: M Wetherall & S Wade



  REPORT by Alan Evans  



The Woods’ fledgling side came within a few seconds of earning three valuable away points but, as in their meeting at Northwood Park back in early October, Kempston struck late to grab a point towards their fading play-off hopes.

With Malachy McGovern unavailable due to a couple of Middlesex County Under 18 rep games coming up and Louis Bircham ruled out with injury again, Mark Burgess made two enforced changes to the starting line-up, with Alex De La Salle returning to the midfield and Joakim Ehui on the wing. Two further new signings took their place on the bench in former Southampton Academy winger Daniel Lebbie and ex-Watford youth Massoxi De Souza Barradas.

Kempston had gone seven games without a win, four draws and three defeats, so needed a confidence booster and the Woods made the first attack on goal after just two minutes. Wearing a kit colour combination probably never seen in the history of football, the Woods attacked through Fabian Brown whose cross was pushed out by keeper Carl Knox and although the ball fell to Ehui, his effort was well blocked.

The game developed into a midfield battle of little quality over the next twenty minutes with neither side able to string too many passes together but Kempston began to threaten after around twenty-five minutes with a couple of dangerous crosses flashing across the six-yard box. On 28 minutes Sam Macrae got in the first shot on target but shot straight at Borja Loeches-Teixeira before the opening goal did arrive two minutes later. There was a fine ball played through by Ben Shepherd and it caught out the Woods defence as the division’s top scorer Danny Watson raced through to slot home neatly.

The Woods responded well to going behind though with Hitchin Town loanee Kieran Barnes forcing Knox into a good save to push his stinging effort wide of the goal. They could have been level after 44 minutes though as Andrew White combined with Barnes who set up De La Salle whose excellent strike crashed back off the crossbar. The ball was knocked back into the danger area but White’s shot flew well wide.

Watson had a chance for a second almost immediately but fired wide of the target and then, two minutes into stoppage-time, Northwood did get level. It was a quick break down the right from Barnes who raced to the edge of the box before stabbing a cross into the patch of Myles Stephenson who swept the ball home.

The home side came out quickly in the second half, looking to regain their lead but an unmarked Watson was denied by a superb save from Loeches-Teixeira after being set up by Shepherd again. The Woods keeper was kept busy to save twice in quick succession and after James Burgess and Kempston’s Jamaine Ivy picked up yellow cards for a bit of a set-to, full-back Munashe Sundire fired just over after a good run from Ashley Fuller.

Having been under the cosh a bit, Northwood rallied well and Ehui shot just wide after a good turn on the edge of the box. Then, after 61 minutes, the Woods were in front as a defensive error from Robbie Goodman was seized upon by an alert Stephenson and he crashed a shot into the bottom corner that gave Knox no chance in goal. It was the striker’s first two-goal haul for the Woods.

Both sides made changes with the Woods introducing both new signings to freshen things up but it was Kempston who began to threaten with Macrae hooking over from a good position on 72 minutes. Loeches-Teixeira saved comfortably from Ivy’s direct shot and then Goodman headed over from a corner before the Woods threatened again as Stephenson found Barnes but his cross was blocked for a corner.

The final ten minutes saw the home side continue to press for an equaliser and they forced a succession of corners which the Woods defended well with James Budden always at the heart of the clearances and Loeches-Teixeira making a couple of important saves, falling on loose balls in the box. But in the third minute of stoppage-time, Kempston finally forced home an equaliser from the last of their corners. The ball again dropped loose, the Woods defence failed to clear and Goodman found enough space to fire a shot across goal and inside the far corner to earn his side a point.

The Woods now have rearranged away games against top sides coming up in successive midweeks with Barton Rovers this Tuesday being followed by a trip to leaders Royston Town the following week. Sandwiched in between, a home game against near-neighbours Chalfont St. Peter.