Bill Fishenden
Nicky Pearce 2
Luke Lynam 3
Terry Hogan 4
Adam Gill 5
Stuart Onslow 6
Ryan Duffy 7
David Sexton (C) 8
Mikel Thomas 9
Ben Trout 10
Chris White 11
Jack Bennett (9) 12
Scott Purdue (7) 14
- 15

Despite a less than perfect pre-season build up, the under 18’s started off their Allied Counties League Premier Division season with a comfortable and at times scintillating win over Chalfont St Peter. On a pitch that was far from conducive to slick passing, the lads nevertheless put on a great exhibition of flowing football which frequently had their hosts chasing shadows.

Northwood got in to gear straight away and after laying siege to the Chalfont goal for the first period of the match were rewarded when a superlative piece of individual skill by Ryan Duffy on 13 minutes,  ended with a devastating strike, from all of 25 metres, high in to the roof of the net.

Northwood continued to dominate possession and on 25 minutes a superb flowing move involving Nicky Pearce, Ben Trout, and Chris White ended with a Luke Lynam cross being desperately scrambled away from goal by the Chalfont defence. This was swiftly followed by another Ryan Duffy shot which went narrowly past the post.

On 36 minutes Northwood were unlucky not to extend their lead when a Chris White corner was hooked off the line.  At this stage the only danger Chalfont were posing was from speculative long balls forward for their strikers to chase.  Half time was reached with Northwood good value for their one nil lead but a little frustrated that their dominance had not produced greater rewards.

The second half started in much the same way with David Sexton pulling the strings in midfield, Adam Gill and Terry Hogan totally dominant at the back and the full backs Nicky Pearce and Luke Lynam rampaging forward at will. The Chalfont goal continued to lead a charmed life with the goalkeeper making a stupendous save from a Stuart Onslow pile driver on 49 minutes. From the resulting corner another Ryan Duffy strike was spectacularly headed off the line.

The only concern at this point was the lack of a second goal, and in future games Northwood will have to be less profligate with their finishing. Mikel Thomas was leading the line with pace and style, but had one of those days where the finish wasn’t quite there.

However the tension finally evaporated on 74 minutes when a swift transference of play ended with a neat set from Ben Trout on the edge of the box and an unstoppable drive from Stuart Onslow in to the corner of the net. This provided the opportunity for Jack Bennet to be blooded on the left side of midfield, with Chris White moving up front and Mikel Thomas taking a rest.  Jack Bennet made an instant impact and within 2 minutes of his arrival set about a fine dribble and low cross which was deflected in to Chalfont’s own net for our third goal.

After that it was champagne football as Chalfont ran out of steam and heart. Scott Purdue came on for the last 10 minutes, replacing the excellent Ryan Duffy. Scott made a very lively contribution as the team pushed forward continuously right up to the final whistle. Not to be left out, Bill Fishenden made a great reflex save in the final minute of the match to prevent Chalfont getting a consolation goal.

In the final analysis, it was a very satisfying first performance of the season but there will be much tougher tests ahead. Attitude and commitment were first class. It's hard to pick out any stars in such a good team performance, but David Sexton, Adam Gill, Terry Hogan, Ryan Duffy, and the effervescent Luke Lynam certainly caught the eye. The team will rightly move forward with confidence but for sure will need to go up a few more gears yet if they are to make a serious challenge in the Premier League. 

Next up is Enfield in the FA Youth cup…hardly a walk in the park!