PETERSFIELD TOWN   Saturday 24 September 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Petersfield Town 1  Northwood 2  

Simmonds 90+3

Stead 54, 65

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Aaron Bufton     1 Montel Joseph
2 Ben Buckland     2 Alex Nolan
3 Matthew Graham     3 Callum Wright
4 Harry Giles (68m)     4 Mark Burgess
5 Matthew Page     5 James Budden
6 Olly Searle     6 Louis Stead
7 Ben Neal (84m)     7 Frankie Jones
8 Stuart Green ©     8 James Burgess (76m)
9 Alex Miroy (61m)     9 Ryan Debattista (69m)
10 Dan Simmonds     10 Louis Bircham
11 Alfie Whittingham     11 Luke Heneghan (85m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Ryan Woodford (68m)     12 Julian Smith (76m)
14 Mike Needham     14 Filipe Anjos
15 Harry Wedlake     15 Joakim Ehui (85m)
16 Callum Coker (84m)     16 Ismael Ehui
17 Gari Judd (61m)     17 Myles Stephenson (69m)
      Referee: Damith Bandara
Assistants: Greig Walker & James Humphries
  REPORT by Alan Evans    PHOTOS: James Brown  




The Woods notched their second away win of the season with a narrow win at fellow early-season strugglers Petersfield Town thanks to a double-strike from Louis Stead. Mark Burgess made just one change to the side that had drawn with Aylesbury United the previous week with Frankie Jones replacing Julian Smith as Callum Wright moved to the left-back position.

The Woods played up the slope in the first half and also against a brisk wind that had picked up in the hour before kick-off and the patch pitch surface was hardly likely to make this an epic encounter. It was Petersfield who shaded the early exchanges. A long ball saw Dan Simmonds steal between the two central defenders and with no offside flag, he will have been disappointed not to have connected as the ball went through to goalkeeper Montel Joseph.

Northwood hit back, forcing a corner which Wright lofted to the far post. James Budden nodded the ball forward and James Burgess headed across goal but it finished on the roof of the net.

Good combination play between Simmonds and Alex Miroy set up a chance for the latter but he failed to get a shot in on goal and Alex Nolan managed to clear the ball away. Then Miroy turned provider with a good cross which fell kindly to Harry Giles but his effort was blocked on the edge of the six-yard box.

The Woods gradually began to start to edge things and after 17 minutes a tricky run from Louis Bircham led to him being crowded out eventually but the ball ran loose and Louis Stead’s strike was deflected only just wide. From Wright’s corner Budden dived forward at the near-post to flick on a header but it was always going wide.

The speedy Ben Neal got in a couple of dangerous crosses for the home side but with no-one on hand to get a touch and as half-time approached there was the first sighting of a yellow card, issued to Stead for an innocuous-looking challenge in the centre-circle.

Northwood looked much the better side after the break. They should have been ahead on 52 minutes. One-time Woods goalkeeper Aaron Bufton fumbled a free-kick on the edge of the six yard box and Budden got his head to the loose ball. It was blocked but Mark Burgess turned on the rebound only for his effort also to ricochet across goal and then Budden again had an attempt blocked.

But just three minutes later, Wright came away from defence on a storming run down the middle. He linked up twice before being played into the box where he was tripped by for a clear penalty. Stead stepped up for the first spot-kick of the season, and made no mistake to put the Woods in front.

The Rams had a brief chance to level on 69 minutes when a corner again fell to an unmarked Giles but he shot wide. Referee Bandara was by now issuing yellow cards for almost every foul on the pitch. Jones and James Burgess were in the book for the Woods while Alfie Whittingham was cautioned for the home side. None looked necessary.

And on 65 minutes, Stead was brought down when looking to shoot just outside the area. He stepped up for the free-kick and hit a shot that bounced awkwardly in front of Bufton and the keeper could only push the ball up and into the roof of the net.

The Woods were well on top by now. Luke Heneghan fired a shot across goal and wide before Stead turned provider with a cross that dropped nicely to Bircham, who hit a sweet half-volley that was pushed over the bar by Bufton. From the resulting corner Bufton punched a Budden header away to just outside the box where Heneghan hit a crisp strike which deflected but went straight through to the waiting keeper.

However, with ten minutes to go, a long ball appeared to see Simmonds get ahead of substitute Smith and the Woods defender appeared to be all over him as he went to ground but appeals were waved away by the Referee. Controversy wasn’t far away, though, as just seconds later Jones’s challenge was considered reckless enough for a second yellow card but the reaction from Rams substitute Ryan Woodford also earned him a straight red from the referee, who wasn’t gaining any plaudits from either side.

It was still one-way traffic on the field, with substitute Myles Stephenson missing out when he didn’t connect with a Heneghan cross and then Bufton earned some plaudits with a good save low down by the post to deny Stead a possible second-half hat-trick. Stephenson had another good chance as he battled through on goal but he failed to pull the trigger and Bufton grabbed at the loose ball.

The game was drifting in stoppage-time when there was another flashpoint as this time Mark Burgess was adjudged to have fouled in the box with a penalty against him and, after consultation with his assistant, the Referee showed another red card to the Woods manager. Simmonds made no mistake from the penalty to deny Woods goalkeeper Montel Joseph a first clean-sheet.

There was a minute to be played and there was a half-chance for the home side to take advantage of their extra man as a long ball was pumped into the box but substitute Callum Coker was unable to keep his header down and the points stayed with the Woods.

Northwood will be hoping to continue their winning form over the next week as they play two home games in quick succession. Bottom club Histon come to Northwood Park on Tuesday night and then on Saturday promoted side Kempston Rovers, who have continued with good form at the higher level, pay a visit.