NORTHWOOD FC   Tuesday 26th September 2017   ASHFORD TOWN FC

Evo-Stik League South, East

  Northwood 1  Ashford Town 7  

Newman 60

Bitmead 7, 20, 37, 55
Labara 70, 85, Jonas 91

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Andrew McCorkell     1 Tyler Tobin
2 Pat Kelly     2 Romario Jonas
3 George Robinson     3 Alex Fisher
4 Michael Buckley © (83m)     4 Yahya El-Khabouche
5 Marcus Rose     5 Russell Canderton ©
6 Lewis Hobbs     6 Samad Kazi
7 Tom McDonnell (51m)     7 Mark Bitmead
8 Evans Kouassi     8 Max Webb
9 Meshach Williams (58m)     9 Dan Fleming
10 Tayshan Hayden-Smith     10 Tommy Brunton
11 Harry Newman     11 Jack Beadle
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Mahlondo Martin (58m)     12 Scott Weight (69m)
14 James Gurteen     14 Jabir Laraba (69m)
15 Arash Abdollahi     15 Will Boye (83m)
16 Wilson Chingoka (51m)     16 Jamal Harvey
17 Jamie Doolan (83m)     17 Jake Taylor
      Referee: Shaun Farrer; Assistants: Scott Orchard, Zach Jacquart      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  

The Woods lost their form completely as in-form Ashford Town (Middlesex) stormed to a stunning victory as an ideal warm-up for their forthcoming FA Cup tie against Leatherhead at the weekend.

Goalkeeper Andrew McCorkell kept his place after his misdemeanour at Uxbridge on Saturday but a stomach injury rules out skipper Brad Hewitt so Marcus Rose was rushed back into action for his first game in a month after his wedding and his honeymoon was certainly over by the end of this match. There was also a debut at left-back for George Robinson.

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The visitors came storming out of the traps and quickly had the Woods rookie defensive line-up under pressure. Jack Beadle got forward well in the left and slipped a neat ball into Dan Fleming whose shot was well blocked by Robinson for a corner. From that Romario Jonas was allowed a totally free header but he powered the ball the wrong side of the post.

After just eight minutes the Woods backed off and gave Mark Bitmead too much space just outside the box and the Tangerine’s sharp-shooter took aim and fired low inside the post with McCorkell stranded.

The Woods ‘keeper did save well when Fleming got his head on the end of a Jonas cross and the side tried to play their way out of trouble but they were hit on the counter-attack again on 20 minutes. A ball from Michael Buckley was intended for Tom McDonnell but he failed to control the ball and was robbed. It was quickly played across to Bitmead, once again in space and this time he picked the top corner with unerring accuracy.

Northwood needed to get themselves back in the game and Meshach Williams flicked a header that flew across goal but well wide before also latching onto a long-ball with a shot that was well saved at the near-post by goalkeeper Tyler Tobin.

Unfortunately, in between those efforts, Rose was adjudged to have fouled thirty yards from goal and Bitmead seized upon the opportunity to complete a first-half hat-trick with a free-kick that was floated over the wall and through the hands of the diving McCorkell.

Harry Newman tested Tobin with a long-range effort just before the break but Ashford led 3-0 and there was a mountain to climb for the Woods in the second-half.

No yellow cards in the first-half but suddenly it all changed as first Rose and then Ashford’s Tommy Brunton were cautioned within four minutes of the restart. Newman made some inroads down the left and knocked in a dangerous cross that wasn’t cleared and in the scramble that followed Williams had a shot blocked and then Buckley’s effort deflected and looped up into the arms of Tobin.

Wilson Chingoka was introduced for Tom McDonnell to try to freshen things up but then Ashford grabbed a fourth against the run of play after 55 minutes. Evans Kouassi was robbed by Alex Fisher who broke quickly to feed Bitmead who continued his personal field day with a fourth goal.

The Woods did respond quickly and with the introduction of Mahlondo Martin for Williams and a slight adjustment to the formation, they suddenly put the visitors under pressure. On the hour Robinson got forward down the left and knocked in a cross that Newman headed past Tobin for his first goal for the club. For about ten minutes, there was a few thoughts of a stirring comeback. Lewis Hobbs made a strong run from out of defence and slipped in Newman but his effort was well saved by Tobin. Then Pat Kelly attacked from the right but shot well wide.
But Ashford were able to restore their four-goal advantage after 72 minutes when some defensive errors presented substitute Jabir Laraba with a simple task of scrambling the ball home from close-range.

Northwood continued to show some great spirit and a long-range effort from Chingoka again brought Tobin into action as he just held on under pressure while an excellent exchange of passes between Martin and Kelly seemed to get the substitute in on goal but he delayed too long and was tackled. After 82 minutes Kelly put in another cross which saw Chingoka’s shot whistle just wide of the post.

But the horror show wasn’t finished yet. After 85 minutes Rose picked up a second yellow after a tussle just outside the box to leave the defence even more short-handed for the closing stages and it showed. Laraba’s shot from distance somehow eluded defence and ‘keeper as it crept in for number six and in stoppage-time Jonas again got his head to a corner and this time made no mistake. It was the Woods fifth defeat in succession since their victory over Hayes & Yeading back on the August Bank Holiday and there is still much to do to get their season back on track.