Anthony Ladyman
Nicky Pearce 2
Luke Lynam 3
Terry Hogan 4
Adam Gill 5
David Sexton (Capt.) 6
Ryan Duffy 7
Daniel Brown 8
Greg Dinham 9
Ben Trout 10
Jack Bennett 11
Stuart Onslow (8) 12
Scott Purdue (7) 14
Mikkel Thomas (9) 15
Bill Fishenden 16

Northwood under 18’s bounced back from their FA Youth Cup defeat by defeating a hard-working and athletic Wealdstone team. Overall pre match preparation was a big improvement on the previous week and the intensity and focus of the team was much nearer to what is needed.

The Northwood manager made a number of changes as the strength of the squad was fully tested. Anthony Ladyman, Jack Bennett, Daniel Brown and Greg Dinham made their first starts of the season.

Northwood made an assured beginning and within the first six minutes the Wealdstone keeper was forced to make smart saves, firstly from a blistering drive across goal by Ryan Duffy and then a Dave Sexton header a minute later.

In the tenth minute a superb ball inside the right full back found Jack Bennett in the clear and his well angled drive was again brilliantly saved by the goal keeper.

Having weathered this early storm, Wealdstone then started to get a foothold in the game. The Northwood defence dropped a little too deep for comfort, allowing Wealdstone to enjoy parity in possession, without creating any significant chances.

On 20 minutes Daniel Brown almost broke the deadlock with a blistering 25 yard drive, which the keeper did well to gather.

Northwood finally took the lead with the best move of the game in the 26th minute. An interchange of passes, down the left hand side, involving Luke Lynam, Ben Trout, and Jack Bennett ended with a superb run in to the box by Daniel Brown. Brown hit a hard low cross which was coolly finished by the on the rushing Ryan Duffy.

Anthony Ladyman had a quiet and trouble-free first half, although he dealt superbly with a neatly struck Wealdstone free kick in the 29th minute. 

In the 35th minute Northwood almost added to their lead when a Ryan Duffy cross was met by a firm Ben Trout header which the goalkeeper once more comfortably gathered.   This was followed in the 42nd minute by a Jack Bennett drive skimming the near post following another excellent through ball from David Sexton.

The half time score of 1-0 was a little flattering to Wealdstone but the home team had certainly put in a dogged hard working first shift. The Northwood management team’s half time instructions focussed on the need for the back four to push up and squeeze the play to enable the midfield to create a platform to launch attacks. The boys were also encouraged to be a little more patient in their build up play, keep possession and wait for the right moment to play the killer pass. Stuart Onslow replaced Daniel Brown at half time as the latter was struggling with cramp.

The second half started with Wealdstone looking lively and slightly more ambitious.  However, the hosts were almost caught out on 50 minutes when a lightning quick break from Luke Lynam, culminating in an inch perfect through ball, saw Ryan Duffy hit an excellent drive across the keeper. The keeper once more miraculously got a hand on the ball to divert it around the post.

On 55 minutes the tiring Greg Dinham was replaced by Mickel Thomas and this change was to ultimately secure the game for Northwood. However, prior to this and during the mid part of the second half Wealdstone enjoyed their best passage of play and created a couple of half chances which could easily have put them back on level terms.  

This all changed on 75 minutes when Northwood broke with great pace from within their own box. Two wonderful passes later from Ben Trout and Ryan Duffy, and Mikkel Thomas found himself alone in the box bearing down on goal. Thomas finished smartly and Northwood were 2-0 in the lead. This lead was extended 2 minutes later when Ryan Duffy found Jack Bennett with an exquisite pass, Bennett ran at the defence and slipped Ben Trout through in the left hand channel. Trout’s scuffed shot was seized on by Mikkel Thomas who tapped in to complete the scoring. Shortly after this goal Scott Purdue came on to replace Ryan Duffy.

This was a well deserved victory and based on this performance it will not be long before Wealdstone pick up points themselves. There is still much room for improvement in the overall pattern and quality of Northwood’s play, and the forthcoming game with Hayes will be an excellent test of how good this Northwood team are.