SUN SPORTS   Saturday 20th August 2016   NORTHWOOD FC

Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round

  Sun Sports 2  Northwood 0   

Walsh 36, Dominic 77


Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Matthew Evans     1 Thomas Spenser
2 Jamie Speer     2 Alex Nolan
3 Nathan Pooley     3 Julian Smith
4 Ayodeji Ikusemori     4 Simeon Owen
5 Joe Horwood ©     5 James Budden
6 Gary Wallace     6 Georges Ehui (62m)
7 Jack Johnson     7 Luke Heneghan (78m)
8 Ryan McMahon     8 James Burgess ©
9 Chris Blunden     9 Myles Stephenson (78m)
10 Tommy Walsh     10 Louis Stead
11 David Dominic     11 Callum Wright
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Dan Taylor     12 Ryan Debattista (78m)
14 Reece McCarthur     14 Marinos Andreou (78m)
15 Alex Ward     15 Elias Moses
16 Liam James     16 Luke Preedy
17 Lewis Craze     17 Louis Bircham (62m)
18 Tom Gibson        
19 Clement Asante   Referee: Wayne Bright;
Assistants: Gifford Manyange & Kevan Atkins
  REPORT by Alan Evans  




Northwood’s hopes of a money-spinning FA Cup run was brought to an abrupt end as a dismal performance allowed their Spartan South Midlands League neighbours to notch a deserved success that sees them reach the first qualifying round for the first time in their history. Mark Burgess was ruled out from playing so Simeon Owen came in for a starting debut at the back but there was otherwise no changes. Recent signing Louis Bircham, a forward who scored over thirty goals in Spartan South Midlands’ football last season, was added to the bench.

The home side played with the strong wind behind them in the first-half and on a hard but reasonably flat pitch, the Woods were unable to establish the upper hand from an early stage. Myles Stephenson had an early effort well taken by goalkeeper Matthew Evans, while a quick break by Sun Sports saw Chris Blunden feed David Dominic but he fired miles wide of the target.

But on 13 minutes, a good forward move saw Louis Stead and Stephenson feed Callum Wright and his cross picked out Stephenson but he was dispossessed in the area. A similar move two minutes later had the same result while a chip forward put Wright in with an opportunity but his shot rolled wide of the far post. Neither side was creating much but the home side were looking solid in defence and when Luke Heneghan knocked in a corner, neither Owen or Budden could get their head to the inviting ball.

On 35 minutes, the home side recorded their first effort on goal when Dominic beat his man and forced goalkeeper Thomas Spenser down to save but just a minute later they stole a shock lead. A cross from Jack Johnson was only half-cleared and Tommy Walsh controlled the ball before stroking it inside the post from the edge of the area to put his side ahead. Walsh, son of former Woods manager John Walsh, had played twenty matches for Northwood a couple of seasons ago without scoring but made no mistake here.

The Woods were clearly taken aback by finding themselves behind and offered nothing in response before the break as only another skied shot from Dominic was recorded in the final ten minutes. There were no changes at half-time, with the hopes that playing with the wind would make a difference to the lack-lustre Northwood performance but in fact they failed to pick up at all in the opening fifteen minutes.

On the hour, the Woods were perhaps denied a penalty when Julian Smith got forward to feed Heneghan and his route into the box appeared to be ended by a trip but the Referee wasn’t impressed. Stephenson then worked some space for a shot which was deflected wide and some good work from Heneghan out wide was met by some good defending from the home side.

Bircham was introduced on 62 minutes for Georges Ehui but with little immediate effect. There was a half-chance after 68 minutes as Heneghan provided a good cross that was met by James Burgess at the far post but the ball flashed wide. Marinos Andreou was brought on for Heneghan and soon after this Stead tried his luck with a low drive that was only just wide of the post.

But it wasn’t consistent pressure and there was no real cutting edge at all before Sun Sports bagged a second goal out of the blue on 77 minutes as Dominic, not for the first time, went for goal from wide on the left. This time though the ball sailed over Spenser and nestled in the far corner for a spectacular finish that in all honesty deserved to win a cup-tie.

Ryan Debattista was added to the forward line for the final ten minutes or so and there was some frustration as Andreou and Nolan both picked up yellow cards but the Woods did have two chances to get back into the game. After 79 minutes, the ball fell kindly to Bircham unmarked just outside the box but he steered his shot the wrong side of the post.

Then, in the first minute of stoppage time, a free-kick was flicked on by a pushed-forward Budden and then by Wright to put Debattista in on goal but his shot was well-saved by Evans in goal and the home side could celebrate a memorable victory that gives them a home tie against Hayes & Yeading in the next round.  Mark Burgess will know he has work to do to improve the performances of his fledgling side in the week leading up to their next game away at Marlow next Saturday.