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Ashford Town Mx 2  Northwood 2

Saturday 20th August 2022

 

NORTHWOOD
     
     
   
1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 James Gurteen    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Keagan Cole ©    
5 James Budden    
6 Luke Tingey    
7 Lindell Stewart    
8 Ric Alexander-Greenaway (81m)    
9 Josh Helmore    
10 Sydney Ibie    
11 Carl Stewart    
Substitutes  
12 Ergys Pepaj    
14 Harry Gallagher    
15 David Taylor (81m)    
16 Brandon Kalu    
17 Ronan Hutchins    
18 Nebay Haile    
19 Dan Daggett    
 


Ashford: Fred Chapman, Abraham Henao-Enomorado , Isy Nzelo, Wayne Ridgley, Dale Burnham , Lewis Taylor (Leonardo De Carvalho Pedro 46m), Danyaal Iqbal (Nash Doukoure 77m), Prince Mbengul, Ricky Johnson (David Pitt 67m), Lewis Flatman , Sam Humphreys


   

Northwood had to settle for a replay after coming from a goal behind only to concede a late goal in a closely fought affair at the Robert Parker Stadium.

There were a couple of changes to the starting line-up from the midweek win over Bedfont Sports, Sam Jenkins failing to recover from a dead leg with Luke Tingey moving across to right wing-back and James Budden returning to central defence. There was also a change to the front line as Josh Helmore replaced Ronan Hutchins, the latter switching to the bench.

Woods goalkeeper Andrew McCorkell was called into action early on as he palmed over a half-volley attempt from Sam Humphreys following a quick break. But Northwood broke away from the resulting corner with Lindell Stewart threading a pass through to the overlapping Carl Stewart whose shot was pushed over by Tangerines keeper Fred Chapman.

After a fairly even opening period, Ashford began to get the upper hand and proceeded to enjoy a spell of domination, with Northwood struggling to get any sort of foothold in midfield, Ricky Johnson squandering a good opportunity after being set up by Danyaal Iqbal before Wayne Ridgley had a close-range shot blocked by Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway.

And the Tangerines deservedly took the lead on 14 minutes as Woods squandered possession to allow Johnson to play in Lewis Flatman, who gave McCorkell no chance with a low shot into the far corner.

Northwood would have been hoping for a quick response, but they continued to be second best to an eager Ashford who went close to extending their lead as Iqbal saw his shot skim the crossbar while Humphreys dragged his shot wide after Woods failed to clear Flatman’s cross.

Having struggled for cohesion in attack up to that point, Northwood tinkered with the front three with Helmore reverting to his more familiar central position with Ibie and Lindell Stewart either side of him. And the switch seemed to have the desired effect as Woods began to offer more of a threat – Lindell Stewart getting between defenders but seeing his goal attempt cleared before a slick move involving Helmore, Lindell Stewart and Lomas ended with Ibie shooting over from a good position.

Woods were finding increasing space down their left flank and another cross from Lomas found the head of Lindell Stewart whose skimmed header flew the wrong side of the upright. But Woods were given a scare on the stroke of half-time as they failed to clear their lines, Johnson wasting a wonderful opportunity to increase Ashford’s lead as his shot failed to test McCorkell.

Photos by JAMES BROWN

Northwood needed to up their game in the second period, and they showed their intentions from the off as Ibie cut in from the left and saw his shot blocked by the home defence. And Woods were immediately back on the offensive, Keagan Cole’s short throw to Ibie being chested into the path of Helmore who sent a looping shot over Chapman to bring Woods back onto the tie on 48 minutes.

Woods went in search of further goals as Lindell Stewart powered beyond the Ashford back line but his near post shot flew narrowly wide while Carl Stewart created an opening for Ibie who had his shot was blocked by the covering Abraham Henao-Enomorado.

Northwood were firmly in the ascendancy as they kept the Tangerines pinned in their own half, Chapman keeping out another Ibie effort before the latter’s junking run ended with his pullback going behind both Helmore and Lindell Stewart who were waiting to apply the finish.

The hosts had a brief respite as they made some progress into Northwood territory with Dale Burnham heading wide from a Wayne Ridgley freekick. But with all their substitutes used, Ashford had some more defending to do as Tingey’s cross-volley drew a smart save from Chapman.

However, Chapman was unable to prevent Northwood from putting themselves in front on 80 minutes as Budden’s head back from Coles’s deep corner was helped on by Helmore to James Gurteen whose shot was blocked on the line, Ibie lashing home the loose ball.

Northwood made their first substitution as Alexander-Greenaway succumbed to a hamstring problem, David Taylor his replacement for his first appearance since his return to the club. But Woods’ joy at turning around the tie was short-lived when they afforded the Tangerines too much space on the edge of the box with substitute David Pitt taking advantage with his side’s first shot on target in the second half, which curled beyond McCorkell to draw the hosts level on 84 minutes.

Both sides went looking for a winning strike – Tingey latching onto Lomas’ deep cross, but Chapman clawed the ball away at his near post while at the other end Ridgley’s free-kick into the danger area was headed behind by Gurteen.

With the contest deep into stoppage time, Ibie looked to break clear but was cynically dragged back by Henao-Enomorado, who earned himself a caution. And Woods had one last opportunity as they were awarded a free-kick on the angle, Tingey’s header from Cole’s delivery being safely gathered by Chapman to earn his side a replay.

Report by ROBIN PIPER



         
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