ROYSTON TOWN   Tuesday 28 February 2017   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central

  Royston Town 2  Northwood 1  

Bridges 6, 79

Stephenson 83

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Haydn Dodge     1 Thomas Spenser
2 Ryan Towner     2 Daniel Taylor
3 Danny May     3 Andrew White
4 Scott Bridges ©     4 James Budden
5 Ryan Frater     5 Mark Burgess
6 Stuart Bridges     6 Jamie Doolan (75m)
7 Kaan Fehmi (64m)     7 Joakim Ehui
8 Adam Watkins (72m)     8 James Burgess ©
9 John Frendo     9 Hamoud Salum (63m)
10 Martel Powell     10 Myles Stephenson
11 Rod Orlando-Young (55m)     11 Fabian Brown
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Josh Castiglione (55m)     12 Massoxi De Souza Barradas (63m)
14 Gus Scott-Morriss (72m)     14 Jack McDonnell (76m)
15 Matt Nolan     15 Borja Loeches-Teixeira
16 Adam Murray     16 Daniel Lebbie
17 Ryan Ingrey (64m)     17 -

Referee: Stephen Bates; Assistants: Jack Bloxham & Jeffrey Aldous



  REPORT by Alan Evans  



With Filipe Anjos ruled out through suspension, Mark Burgess returned to the back-line for this tough midweek away game at league leaders Royston Town while former youth teamer Jamie Doolan made his first start in midfield as a replacement for the injured Louis Bircham.

The Crows had won seven matches on the spin, so Northwood were long odds to get anything out of this contest and the home side began like a steam train. The game was less than a minute old when the tricky Rod Orlando-Young turned Daniel Taylor inside out and then fired a shot to the near-post that Thomas Spenser had to push wide. On five minutes Myles Stephenson lost the ball in midfield and a neat pass put Orlando-Young through on goal but this time his shot lacked power and it trickled through to the Woods ‘keeper.

Mark Burgess was next to make an error which gave John Frendo a glimpse of goal but his effort was well saved by Spenser and then after just seven minutes Royston were in front. Orlando-Young knocked in a corner and the ball fell kindly to Scott Bridges who fired it into the roof of the net from close range. The overworked Spenser made another near-post save soon after but having ridden the storm the Woods did begin to make some inroads themselves. A Stephenson cross was headed on by Doolan and Andrew White shot low but wide of the target and then a corner saw James Budden head wide of the post.

Royston’s ex-Luton midfielder Adam Watkins was yellow-carded for a dive in the box on 23 minutes and then with the rain lashing down and the win behind him, Orlando-Young finished another speedy run with a shot that flashed over the bar. The home side began to press again. Martel Powell had an effort which curled wide of the target and then Spenser did well to cut out a good cross and then when the ball ran loose, he recovered well to thwart predator Frendo.

On 44 minutes, good work from Powell saw him cross to Frendo whose shot was again brilliantly saved by Spenser. He couldn’t hold it and Frendo was quickly onto the rebound but the ‘keeper reacted well again to make it a double-save. Then, just before the break, the Woods should have been level. Joakim Ehui did well on the break and slipped the ball to Stephenson. His cross picked out an unmarked Hamoud Salum but he sliced his effort and goalkeeper Haydn Dodge was able to keep it out with his legs.

Typically the wind and rain died down in the second-half so Northwood were unable to have that advantage as they looked to battle back. It was again Royston who were to the fore. Ryan Towner set up Orlando-Young who knocked a shot past the oncoming Spenser but the ball rolled wide of the post.

The Woods were still battling hard but Budden conceded a free-kick just outside the box for a foul on Watkins and Scott Bridges curled his free-kick neatly over the wall only for the ball to come back off the crossbar. There was an occasional break for Woods, with Ehui the usual outlet. He made a good run on 64 minutes and then found Doolan in space but his ball sailed wide of the goal. Ehui then had a shot of his own which looped up but also wide.

Another former youth teamer Jack McDonnell was introduced on 76 minutes as the Woods still held hopes of snatching a draw but just two minutes later the Crows doubled their advantage. They won a corner and just as the ball was being delivered, Spenser found himself pushed to the ground. Any infringement went unnoticed by the officials though and when Stuart Bridges headed the ball towards the unguarded goal, it was Scott Bridges who again flicked it home from a couple of yards.

Substitute Matt Nolan looked to make it three with an excellent shot on the turn two minutes later but Spenser made another fine save, diving across to push the ball wide and after 83 minutes Northwood were suddenly back in with a chance. A good ball from Doolan released Stephenson down the right and he did really well to race to the edge of the area unchallenged and fire across Dodge into the far corner.

Having made the scoreline very respectable again, that was the end of the Woods resurgence though as the home side saw the game out comfortably and professionally in the final minutes to strengthen their lead at the top. For the Woods, it had been a spirited and battling performance which they could try to build on with their very inexperienced side as they travel to Fleet Town at the weekend.