NORTHWOOD FC   Saturday 1st October 2016   KEMPSTON ROVERS

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central

  Northwood 4 Kempston Rovers 4   

Stead 8, 49,
Debattista 20,34

Ivy 70, Simpson 79,
Watson 80, Macrae 90+4

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Montel Joseph     1 Martin Conway
2 Alex Nolan     2 Tom Guiney ©
3 Callum Wright     3 Seb Simpson
4 Filipe Anjos     4 Grant Fryer
5 James Budden     5 Alex Stoyles
6 Louis Stead     6 Ieuan Riley (37m)
7 Joakim Ehui (60m)     7 Dom Marsala (37m)
8 James Burgess ©     8 Sam Macrae
9 Ryan Debattista (67m)     9 Josh Winters (51m)
10 Louis Bircham     10 Danny Watson
11 Luke Heneghan     11 Sam Johnson
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Simeon Owen     12 Jamaine Ivy (37m)
14 Ismael Ehui (67m)     14 Ben Shepherd (37m)
15 Myles Stephenson (60m)     15 Lee Hawkes (51m)
16 Thomas Spenser     16 Ashley Fuller
17 -     17 -
      Referee: Andrew Loe; Assistants: Matthew Ball & Terence Barnes      
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS by James Brown  


Following the midweek goal-fest against strugglers Histon, this was a completely different challenge for the Woods as they took on the joint leaders Kempston Rovers, who were only behind Farnborough at the top by way of goal-difference. Yet for a long time it looked as if a similar result was on the cards, only for the visitors to show some great spirit to earn a point. With Mark Burgess and Frankie Jones both suspended following harsh red cards a week earlier, there were places in the starting line-up for Filipe Anjos and Joakim Ehui and the Woods were fast out of the blocks.

Luke Heneghan had an early effort blocked, Joakim Ehui fired over the top and then on seven minutes more good work from the Woods winger Heneghan saw him find Callum Wright in support and his cross was blocked by a defenders hand with the Referee pointing to the spot. Louis Stead converted the penalty to give Northwood an eighth minute lead. Four minutes later Ryan Debattista tried to get in on the act with some clever footwork working some space for a shot but it kept rising and flew over the top. Then it was Stead’s turn to go for goal but his effort was well blocked.

Kempston notched their first attack on goal after 15 minutes when Josh Winters did well to turn in the box but Alex Nolan was with him and blocked his shot. It was only a brief respite for the visitors though. Nolan found Debattista in space and his chip flew across goal and only just wide of the target. Then, on 20 minutes, Debattista latched onto an Ehui cross and saw another effort blocked but when the loose ball was returned, Debattista pounced again to force home a second goal.

The visitors should have pulled a goal back on 24 minutes as a cross from Sam Johnson dropped between Nolan and Anjos. Neither cleared the ball and Danny Watson had a great chance to fire home but scuffed his effort and it was cleared. The Woods were far from finished, though, with Heneghan to the fore down the right. He cut in to shoot but saw his strike crash back off the crossbar. Then Stead curled a free-kick only just wide of the far post before goalkeeper Martin Conway dived low to keep out another shot from the same player.

It was after 34 minutes that Northwood grabbed a third goal as an excellent ball from Heneghan found Debattista and his goalbound shot could only be helped over the line by defender Grant Fryer. The clearly shocked visitors made the unusual decision to make a double substitution after just 37 minutes but it didn’t stop Heneghan continuing with his purple patch in the first half. He enjoyed almost free rein as he ran at his markers and got in two shots which were well saved by Conway before the half-time break.

Kempston had rallied just before the whistle, though, with Winters having a shot blocked and Alex Stoyles trying his luck from distance and only just being too high. But any hopes of a recovery must have been completely dashed just four minutes after the restart as Debattista was taken down in the box by Fryer and Stead was able to make it 4-0 from another penalty-kick.

But from the hour mark, Kempston just began to start making some inroads. James Budden had to make a last-ditch tackle to stop Watson in his tracks and then Woods keeper Montel Joseph had to react quickly to get to a flicked-on header from substitute Jamaine Ivy. Stead was denied a hat-trick as Conway got across to push his curling effort wide while at the other end James Budden’s sliced attempted clearance of a long throw cannoned off the Woods crossbar.

So perhaps it was no real surprise that Kempston did pull a goal back after 70 minutes as Ivy pounced on a loose ball and fired home. It seemed to cause a few problems for the Woods defence. Joseph pushed a deep cross over the top for what was the first in a series of corners but they came to nothing and Northwood had a chance to wrap up the win when Heneghan and Stead broke through the defence again but the latter had his effort saved again.

The visitors were restricted to long-range efforts, which saw Joseph keep out strikes from Seb Simpson and Dom Marsala but after 79 minutes Simpson’s next long-range strike flew in to reduce the arrears and then, just a minute later, poor defending allowed Watson an easy chance to bring it back to 4-3.
Alarm bells were really ringing now as Kempston pushed forward in numbers, but of course it did leave gaps at the back which Northwood should have exploited. Myles Stephenson failed to convert after a good run and cross from Nolan picked him out and then Louis Bircham showed good footwork to get in a shot which Conway kept out at the near post. Bircham then turned provider with a great ball through to Ismael Ehui but his strike was pushed wide by the ‘keeper for a corner.

It was into stoppage time now and Northwood seemed to have ridden out the storm. Joseph came and claimed a chip towards goal from substitute Ben Shepherd but in the fourth and final minute of stoppage-time, Stephenson’s attempted header away from the danger area dropped kindly to Scott Macrea and the midfielder’s shot from just outside the box flew in for a dramatic equaliser.