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Northwood 2  South Park Reigate 1

Saturday 6th August 2022

 

NORTHWOOD
     
     
   
1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 Sam Jenkins (75m)    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Luke Tingey ©    
5 James Budden    
6 Romario Jonas    
7 Ronan Hutchins    
8 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway    
9 Josh Helmore (83m)    
10 Sydney Ibie    
11 Carl Stewart (67m)    
Substitutes  
12 Ergys Pepaj (67m)    
14 Lindell Stewart (83m)    
15 Harry Gallagher    
16 Rahim Jude-Boyd (75m)    
17 James Gurteen    
18 Brandon Kalu    
18 Dan Daggett    
 


SPR: Zak Basey, Lee Dobbs, Sam Tutt, Seanan McKillop , Matthew Faithorn, Joe Bell, Nathan Hogan (James McElligott 71m), Ryan Healy , Mario Quiassaca, Ben Jordan (Ethan Ford 61m), Sam King (Abel Vendrells 78m)

   

Northwood began the long road to Wembley with a narrow win over league rivals South Park in the season’s curtain raiser on a sun-drenched afternoon.

Making their first appearance in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup, Woods began with debutant Ronan Hutchins in the right-channel attacking role, while fellow new boy Romario Jonas took his place in a three-man defence alongside Luke Tingey and the returning James Budden who donned the captain’s armband in the absence of Keagan Cole. The Northwood line-up also included goalkeeper Andrew McCorkell and midfielder Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway for their second stints with the club.

Woods were quickly onto the front foot with South Park having to deal with a couple of early Tingey throws into the danger area, the second of which saw Budden’s flicked header clawed away by goalkeeper Zack Basey. Northwood continued their dominant start as a flowing move from the back involving Budden, Alexander-Greenaway and Andy Lomas ended with Sydney Ibie charging into the box before lifting the ball over the crossbar from a narrow angle.

Having weathered the early storm, the visitors began to make an attacking impression with Nathan Hogan having an effort deflected wide after an incisive move on the edge of the Northwood box. And further South Park pressure saw Ryan Healy bundled over in the box by the backtracking Hutchins with the referee pointing to the penalty spot, only to reverse the decision after the intervention of the assistant referee who had spotted a handball offence.

The Sparks continued to ask questions of Northwood with Benjamin Jordan the next to threaten, the hosts grateful to the well-placed Budden who blocked the goal bound shot. But it was Woods who opened the scoring with 17 minutes on the clock as Ibie turned smartly before breaking down the left flank and delivering a perfectly weighted centre which was swept home by Josh Helmore.

Photos by JAMES BROWN

Boosted by the goal, Northwood enjoyed a period of sustained pressure as they looked to increase their lead, winning a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions which they failed to capitalise on before Helmore almost latched onto a volleyed pass from Lomas after the latter had been picked out by Tingey’s searching ball from the back. And both Helmore and Tingey had bites at the cherry as their stabbed shots were blocked after Hutchins’ corner caused a scramble in the South Park box.

However, Northwood were halted in their tracks as Mario Quiasacca turned sharply on the edge of the box before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net to restore parity on 27 minutes. Woods looked to respond before the break and another sweeping move involving Alexander-Greenaway, Ibie and Helmore saw the over-lapping  Lomas send in a cross-shot which was gathered by keeper Basey. But Northwood were not to be denied as they regained the lead on the stroke of half-time, Ibie teeing up Hutchins, who fired a low shot into the far corner of the net for a debut goal.

The visitors came out with renewed energy after the break, Quiasacca with an audacious overhead attempt which failed to trouble McCorkell before Sam Jenkins was on hand to block a shot from Hogan after Woods conceded possession in a dangerous position. And the Sparks maintained their bright start to the second period as they worked a good position, but Samuel King’s shot flew wide of the target.

The contest proceeded to become a rather disjointed affair with neither side enjoying any meaningful possession. And Woods were forced into their first change on 67 minutes as they lost Carl Stewart to cramp with debutant Ergys Pepaj his midfield replacement.

Northwood regained a little bit of attacking cohesion as they forced a free-kick on the edge of the South Park box – Hutchins’ effort clearing the crossbar before Ibie once more outstripped the Sparks defence but his shot was comfortably dealt with by Basey. Woods made another change on 75 minutes, Rahim Jude-Boyd replacing Jenkins for his first Northwood appearance as the hosts looked to consolidate for the latter stages.

But Woods were given a scare as Seanon McKillop’s intended cross rebounded off the far upright with a relieved  McCorkell gathering Jordon’s shot from the rebound. Northwood made a third substitution with seven minutes remaining on the clock as Helmore made way for Lindell Stewart for the latter’s second outing in the red shirt after his sole appearance last season on a brief sojourn from Windsor.

South Park had a wonderful opportunity to level the tie as Woods struggled to clear their lines but Quiasacca failed to capitalise as his shot hit the side-netting.

With the contest into seven minutes of added a time, both sides had chances to add to the scoreline -  Stewart twice being denied by Basey while South Park substitute James McElligot sent a wild shot over the home crossbar with the last meaningful action of the afternoon, Woods going through to the next round where they will again meet league rivals with a trip to Ashford Town.

Report by ROBIN PIPER

Check out Adam Millership's video highlights on Woods TV here.



         
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