ASHFORD TOWN FC   Saturday 3rd February 2018   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik League South, East

  Ashford Town 2  Northwood 2  

Poley 9, Fisher 64

Chingoka 23, 64

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Tyler Tobin     1 Xavi Comas
2 Eliott Pooley     2 Isaac Olorunfemi
3 Alex Fisher     3 Sam Tring
4 Scott Weight     4 Wilson Chingoka ©
5 Russell Canderton     5 Hamilton Bunga
6 Romario Jonas     6 Joe Russell
7 Samad Kazi     7 Meshach Williams (82m)
8 Tom Howard (79m)     8 Hakin Nyariki
9 James Cottee     9 Jermaine Osei
10 Tommy Brunton     10 Evans Kouassi (73m)
11 Jack Beadle     11 Harry Newman (56m)
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Max Webb (79m)     12 Tyler Hatherly (56m)
14 Leo Decabo     14 Nebay Haile (73m)
15 Nathan Pooley     15 Paolo Montella (82m)
16 Festus Lori     16 Declan Nche
17 Jake Taylor     17 Femi Azeez



Referee: Lee Dyson; Assistants: Luke Donaldson & William Davis



  REPORT by Robin Piper    PHOTOS by James Brown  



Draw specialists Northwood extended their unbeaten run to five games as they twice came from behind to secure a well-deserved point in tricky conditions at the Robert Parker Stadium. Persistent rain meant the heavy pitch soon became a quagmire, so it was credit to both sides that they produced such an entertaining spectacle.

There were a couple of changes to the Woods’ starting line-up, with new signing Hamilton Bunga coming in at left-back for Tom Gilbey due to the latter’s recall by parent club Staines Town. Hakin Nyariki moved into midfield with Tyler Hatherly reverting to the bench, which meant a debut for Sam Tring, on loan from Kings Langley, to partner Joe Russell in central defence.

The Tangerines were coming off the back of a six game losing streak in the league and they started in a manner that suggested a keen determination to put an end to the poor run. So it was no surprise when they opened the scoring on nine minutes as Eliott Pooley slid in at the far post to add the finishing touch to a Jack Beadle free-kick. And the hosts threatened another score as Tommy Brunton fired across the face of the Northwood goal.

Having struggled in the early stages, Woods gradually got to grips with the difficult conditions, Russell sending a shot over the bar from the edge of the box as he latched onto a half-cleared Evans Kouassi free-kick.  And Kouassi was to the fore once again as he burst into the Ashford box, but his low shot was comfortably dealt with by keeper Tyler Tobin.

At the other end, Xavi Comas made the first save on what would become a busy afternoon for the Woods stopper as he collected Tom Howard’s long-range effort. Moments later the lively Samad Kazi shot beyond Comas but the stretching Beadle was unable to apply the finishing touch at the far post.

Northwood were seeing their fair share of the ball and a sweeping move saw Harry Newman sending over a delightful left-wing cross with skipper Wilson Chingoka timing his run into the box to perfection to head home via the upright for an equalising goal on 23 minutes.Newman found space again on the left-flank to send over another teasing cross with Meshach Williams arriving at the far post , but his effort was clawed away by Tobin. And the Northwood pressure continued as a Kouassi corner caused panic in the in the Ashford box with a game of ping-pong ensuing before the Tangerines cleared the danger.

Another swift Woods counter-attack involving Kouassi, Newman and Jermaine Osei saw the latter’s shot deflected for a corner.  However, the remainder of the first half action was to be in Northwood territory as Comas was called upon to deny Alex Fisher and Beadle before James Cottee’s flick from Brunton’s cross flew narrowly wide.

Cottee was quickly into the action after the restart as he went close again following a Beadle cross before Howard was unable to keep his shot down after a strong run deep into the Northwood half. But it wasn’t all one-way traffic, as a Kouassi shot on the turn was parried by Tobin with Williams unable to convert the rebound.

Substitute Hatherly was introduced for Newman just before the hour-mark as Woods looked to regain some control in the middle of the park. And the visitors went close as Russell headed wide from a Williams corner. Despite the tiring conditions the play was flowing from end to end with Comas again on hand to deal with a shot and header from Cottee while Tobin was kept busy as he produced a double save to deny Hatherly and Osei.

But it was Ashford who regained the advantage as they were awarded a penalty following Russell’s trip on Beadle, Fisher sending Comas the wrong way to restore the host’s lead on 64 minutes. However, the Tangerines’ lead lasted barely a minute as Chingoka showed great determination to battle his way through a sea of bodies to force the ball home for his second goal of the afternoon and restore parity in the 65th minute. And Northwood almost took the lead moments later as a Kouassi combined with Williams to send over a cross which just evaded the waiting Osei and Bunga.

Chances continued to be created at both ends, Comas saving well from Pooley, whilst Williams was denied by Tobin. And both sides added fresh legs as the game entered the last quarter with Nebay Haile and Paulo Montella replacing Kouassi and Williams for Northwood. But the latter stages of the match turned into the ‘Xavi Comas Show’, with the Woods keeper repeating the heroics of the previous week at Kempston as he produced a succession of  saves to deny Russell Canderton, Cottee and Brunton to keep his side in the contest.

Woods suffered further scares as they conceded a couple of free-kicks right on the edge of the box as the game moved into added-time, the hosts adamant that the second infringement from Nyariki warranted a penalty award. However, Northwood saw off the threat to secure the hard fought point and to continue their progress under interim manager Jake Heracleous.