Anthony Ladyman
Nicky Pearce 2
Luke Lynam 3
David Sexton 4
Adam Gill 5
Stuart Onslow 6
Ryan Duffyl 7
Daniel Brown 8
Mikkelle Thomas 9
Ben Trout 10
Chris White 11
Feye Obileye (8) 12
Kyle Findlater (9) 14

A break of two and a half weeks since their last match was evident as a rusty Northwood managed to scramble a late winner against Chesham, despite playing the last 20 minutes with only ten men.

Northwood started well, and should have taken the lead in the opening minute when Ben Trout got clear on the right hand side and pulled the ball back for the on rushing Stuart Onslow. The goalkeeper made a good save but it was certainly a chance that went begging. 

After 10 minutes Woods worked another opening when a slick passing move between Mickele Brown and Ryan Duffy once more released Stuart Onslow in space with just the keeper to beat. This time Onslow didn’t get his shot off cleanly and the keeper made a routine save.

After this Chesham started to come back in to the game and after 12 minutes were unlucky when a header from an inswinging corner tipped the top of the bar and went behind for a goal kick.

Young Woods took the lead, which they probably deserved on the balance of play, after 21 minutes.  Mickele Thomas won a towering header to release Ben Trout in to the right hand channel. Trout hit a peach of a cross which the keeper reached, but could only deflect in to the path of Mickele Thomas, who finished coolly with his left foot.

Three minutes later and it was almost a repeat of the Northwood goal. This time, Trout crossed to Thomas with his left foot. The striker’s right foot half volley was brilliantly saved by the keeper, who somehow managed to get the ball over the bar.

There was not a lot of goal mouth action after this but Woods remained in control for the rest of the half, although not playing particularly fluently. Half time was reached with Woods still one nil to the good.

The team talk at half time focussed on a few technical points around how Northwood should defend tighter as a unit and look to release our wide players a little earlier. 

The second half started quietly and in truth Northwood failed to pick up the pace sufficiently.  Stuart Onslow was unlucky with a free kick after 62 minutes, which the keeper did well to tip over the bar.   However it wasn’t a complete surprise when Chesham drew level on 65 minutes. A wonderful bit of skill and an exquisite cross from the left winger picked out one of the Chesham strikers on the far post who had an easy job of tapping the ball in. 

This goal certainly gave Chesham a lift and they pushed forward energetically in search of a winner. Woods were wobbling at this stage and seemed short of energy and fluency. Passes started to fall short and a red shirt was frequently second to the ball. Perhaps reflecting this loss of control there was a number of Woods players who found it in to the referee’s book, including captain David Sexton. This was a real shame because Sexton was once again Northwood’s best player on the night. 

The Woods’ management team made a change on 70 minutes, bringing on the energetic Feye Obileye for Daniel Brown, to provide a bit more bite in the middle of the park. This seemed to do the trick but things turned sour for Woods on 80 minutes when David Sexton was sent off for a second yellow card. No complaints over this decision, but David knows himself the first card he received was avoidable.

Woods gambled and kept two men up front, with Obileye dropping in to central defence and the two wide players tucking in along side Onslow. Not surprisingly the game now became very stretched, and the midfield was at times wide open. 

There was an unfortunate injury to the Chesham keeper on 85 minutes when he rushed out of his goal to deny Onslow. The keeper looked to be second favourite to the ball, and this is how it turned out and in truth the keeper should probably have gone for a rather clear foul. However the referee didn’t see it like this…we have to accept these decisions. But this was soon forgotten when to everyone’s disappointment it became clear that the keeper was actually badly injured as a result of this incident (we wish him well). 

After this it was end-to-end stuff for the last five minutes. However, fortune finally favoured the brave when after one piece of sustained pressure from Northwood, Mickele Thomas pulled out a gem of a cross. Ben Trout ducked, and Chris White arrived beautifully on cue to win the points with a powerful header in to the bottom right hand corner. A great finish and well deserved for a player who has got better and better over the last month or so. 

Kyle Findlater came on for the last couple of minutes to replace Thomas and Ben Trout dropped back in to a conventional four man midfield to ensure Woods successfully ran the clock down. 

This wasn’t a classic Woods performance, probably resulting from the lack of action over the last three weeks. Until his red card David Sexton had been excellent, Mickele Thomas ran the line very well and just needs to learn when to run with the ball and when to release it. Adam Gill did well returning from a long absence and Anthony Ladyman had a very steady game in goal. On the minus side, the discipline levels were not great and there seemed to be a reluctance to accept that doing the simple things well (marking, passing, talking, moving) is the key to playing good football. Hopefully these lessons will have been assimilated as Northwood travel to both Chesham and North Greenford next week and these will be very tough games. Woods can finish the season on a high if the lads knuckle down and work for it.