AFC RUSHDEN & D.   Saturday 18th November 2017   NORTHWOOD FC

Evo-Stik League South, East

  AFC Rushden & D. 4  Northwood 0  

Bunting 57, Farrell 67,
Brown 72, Diamond 82


Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Ben Heath     1 Brendan Hazlett
2 Blaize Punter     2 Isaac Olorunfemi
3 Sam Brown     3 Pat Adamson (88m)
4 Joe Curtis     4 Michael Buckley (65m)
5 Liam Dolman ©     5 Lewis Hobbs
6 Ben Farrell     6 Brad Hewitt ©
7 Joel Gyasi     7 Lewis Ochoa
8 Richard Bunting (79m)      8 Tayshan Hayden-Smith
9 Tom Lorraine (85m)      9 Harry Newman (81m) 
10 Richard Robbins (65m)      10 Evans Kouassi
11 Luke Fairlamb     11 Mahlondo Martin
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Callum Westwood (79m)     12 George Robinson (88m)
14 Ben Diamond (65m)     14 Wilson Chingoka (65m)
15 Ben Ford     15 Declan Nche
16 Cameron Gilchrist     16 Nebay Haile (81m)
18 Chief Boateng (85m)     17 Kojo Gyimah



Referee: Gareth Davis; Assistants: Robert Cairns & Naji Naji



  REPORT by Alan Evans  



Northwood’s six-match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end as they crashed to a heavy defeat at title-hopefuls AFC Rushden & Diamonds with all the goal coming inside twenty-five second half minutes. The Woods had to go into the match missing top scorer Jermaine Osei, ruled out with injury so had to switch Harry Newman into an unfamiliar role at the head of the attack with Tayshan Hayden-Smith restored to the midfield.

The home side had had followed some improved recent form with a midweek defeat of local rivals Kettering Town in the League Cup and they started this game in confident fashion. With just seven minutes on the clock a well-delivered free-kick from Joel Gyasi presented Tom Lorraine with a free header but he steered it wide of the far post while three minutes later Joe Curtis tried his luck from distance but was well adrift.

The Woods were struggling to get a foothold in the game and after 11 minutes Ben Farrell latched onto a loose ball that flew goalwards until goalkeeper Brendan Hazlett flew across goal to push it wide for a corner which the keeper also punched clear. It took 14 minutes for Northwood to finally break into the final third with Mahlondo Martin getting forward and sending over a good cross but goalkeeper Ben Heath was able to intercept it well.

Diamonds were soon back on the attack with Richard Robbins being put through after good work from Gyasi and he cut in before forcing Hazlett into a good block at his near post. Martin managed to get the first shot on target for the visitors a minute later as he also cut in from the right but his strike lacked the power needed to trouble Heath between the sticks.

After 24 minutes Michael Buckley picked up a yellow card for his first foul of the game in the middle of the park. It was to hamstring the Woods midfield for the rest of the game as he had to be careful for such a long period but he was also next to shoot for goal; his effort always arrowing wide of the upright. Northwood were gradually getting into the match and after 34 minutes further good approach work from Martin led to Pat Adamson feeding Evans Kouassi out wide and his cross had Newman stretching for a header which flew wide of the goal.

The home side were still getting the lion’s share of the refereeing decisions though, going to ground easily and Lewis Hobbs was somewhat unlucky to pick up a yellow card for an innocuous trip but the Woods were getting closer as Kouassi put in an inviting cross but there was no-one to slide in.

Just before the break it was back at the other end with Lorraine getting his head to another Gyasi cross but again Hazlett was equal to it, pushing the ball over the bar but it was almost Northwood who nicked a lead in stoppage-time. A ball played forward had Heath racing out of goal to clear but, as happened to many players during the afternoon, he slipped on the greasy surface and it gave Martin half a chance. He did well to go for a first-time shot from a tight angle but an excellent defensive block from Sam Brown kept it out.

So, it was still all to play for as the second half began and Kouassi was first to go for goal as he did well to find some space but then shot wide. A minute later Brad Hewitt appeared to make a good tackle on Lorraine just outside the box but again the referee gave the home side a free-kick. Liam Dolman saw his strike blocked by the wall for a corner.

But Rushden were beginning to threaten more as the half wore on with Luke Fairlamb starting to cause problems for young defender Isaac Olorunfemi, beating him before seeing a dangerous cross-shot blocked by Hewitt. And after 57 minutes, just after another run and cross from Martin had flown across the face of the goal, the home side got their breakthrough with a superb strike. It was Fairlamb that produced the cross again and when Hewitt’s clearing header dropped just outside the box it was Richard Bunting who met it with a cracking half-volley that flew inside the post to give Hazlett no chance.

Despite the goal, the Woods showed good spirit to try to get back on level terms quickly with Kouassi’s turn and shot deflecting wide for a corner and then Hobbs got forward to set up Martin for a similar strike that forced Heath into a good save. After 64 minutes Hewitt just got his head to a corner but the ball flew over the top.

Wilson Chingoka replaced Buckley for some fresh legs in midfield and the home side picked up their first booking as Gyasi pulled back Newman but after 67 minutes Diamonds notched their second killer goal when Lorraine knocked a cross down for Farrell to score with an excellent finish into the top corner. It was game over six minutes later when a rare mistake from Hewitt failed to clear his lines and Brown drove the ball home from close range, then after 82 minutes substitute Ben Diamond was put through and he finished really well to make it 4-0.

Kouassi went for a consolation effort but his shot was well blocked and the ball trickled through to Heath and the Woods afternoon got even worse five minutes from time when Adamson and Callum Westwood both went in for a crunching tackle and it resulted in what turned out to be a broken leg for the Woods teenage left-back.