KEMPSTON ROVERS   Saturday 27th January 2018   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik League South, East

  Kempston Rovers 1  Northwood 1  

Newman 8

Kouassi 43

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Martin Conway     1 Xavi Comas
2 Robbie Goodman     2 Isaac Olorunfemi
3 Jordan Lee     3 Tom Gilbey
4 Seb Simpson ©     4 Wilson Chingoka
5 Alex Stoyles     5 Joe Russell
6 Alex Collard     6 Hakim Nyariki
7 Sam Johnson (60m)     7 Meshach Williams (80m)
8 Ben Shephard     8 Tyler Hatherly ©
9 Jake Newman     9 Jermaine Osei
10 Jamaine Ivy (83m)     10 Evans Kouassi (66m)
11 Luke Heneghan     11 Harry Newman
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Nathan Tshikuna (60m)     12 Paolo Montella (66m)
14 Ash Fuller (83m)     14 Nebay Haile (80m)
15 Hateley Mercer     15 Declan Nche
16 Ieuan Riley     16 Femi Azeez
17 Carl Knox     17 -



Referee: S Cheek; Assistants: T Cartwright & M Mackey



  REPORT by Robin Piper    PHOTOS by James Brown  



Northwood extended their unbeaten run to four games with a hard earned draw in an entertaining encounter in Bedfordshire.

Interim manager Jake Heracleous was forced into making a number of changes, with Joe Russell and Hakim Nyariki forming a new central defensive partnership following the departures of Lewis Hobbs and Matt Hall allied to the continued unavailability of  Brad Hewitt. Woods’ cause was further hampered by the late withdrawal of David Taylor. But there was a return on loan from Wealdstone for Evans Kouassi as he partnered Jermaine Osei in attack.

Northwood’s rookie defence was immediately put under pressure as Kempston forced a couple of early corners which saw Sam Johnson squander a good opportunity with a wayward shot when well placed. But Northwood succumbed to the early pressure as the hosts took the lead on nine minutes with a goal straight out of the route-one manual, Jake Newman latching onto a knockdown from keeper Martin Conway’s free-kick into the box to shoot past Xavi Comas.

Kempston’s dominance continued with their direct approach as Ben Shepherd went close with a curling effort before ex-Wood Luke Heneghan was denied by Comas.

However, Northwood gradually found their feet and began to ask questions of the home side, with Meshach Williams finding space on Woods’ right flank to send over a succession of dangerous crosses. Harry Newman was twice the recipient but his first effort was blocked before another attempt found the side-netting. Kouassi was the next to threaten from another Williams cross but he shot high and wide from a good position.

Woods were enjoying a sustained spell of pressure and Kempston were forced into a couple of rash challenges as they looked to wrest the initiative back with Sam Johnson and Shepherd picking up cautions. And Woods proceeded to create further opportunities, Kouassi’s jinking run into the box capped with a weak shot before Osei latched onto Tom Gilbey’s ball over the top but could only send his attempted lob into the arms of Conway.

Osei had another couple of opportunities to bring Woods level but the chances went begging as before. And Woods were almost made to pay for their profligacy as Johnson was through on goal for Kempston but Comas stood up well to keep his side in the contest.

Woods could breathe a sigh of relief and they made the most of the let-off as they finally gained their reward for their first -half efforts as they drew level two minutes before the break, Kouassi capping a mazy run with a neat finish beyond Conway.

The early part of second period followed a similar pattern to the first, with Kempston pinning Northwood back with a constant wave of attacks. Comas continued to enjoy a fine afternoon with another one-on-one save to deny Johnson one again while Newman saw his shot hit an upright before Heneghan wasted another opportunity to put his side back in front.

Paolo Montella was introduced for the tiring Kouassi on 66 minutes, but all the action continued to be in the Northwood half with Comas on hand once again to gather a long range strike from Jordan Lee. Woods  had been struggling to make any sort of impression as the game reached the latter stages with Williams the next to make as Nebay Haile entered the fray in the hope that fresh legs could ignite a shift in momentum. And the substitute was presented with an early chance but he was wide of the target with a free header from Isaac Olurunfemi’s pinpoint cross.

Things were now opening up as both sides went in search of the deciding goal. Montella tried his luck with a shot after being teed up by Tyler Hatherly but Conway was alert to the danger while at the other end, Comas denied Shepherd.

Joe Russell almost put into his own net from a Kempston corner before the Woods debutant was making an impression at the other end with a surging run into home territory before feeding Montella, who miscued his shot as the ball took an unfortunate bobble.

The strong-running Montella was in the thick of it once more as the game entered the final minute, his low drive being parried by Conway who was quickly up to block Haile’s follow up.

And there was still time for Comas to produce more heroics to deny Shepherd to cap an impressive display from the Northwood stopper and to ensure his side took a deserved share of the spoils.