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Westfield 1  Northwood 3

Saturday 27th August 2022

 

NORTHWOOD
     
     
   
1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 Sam Jenkins    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Keagan Cole ¬© (83m)    
5 Luke Tingey    
6 James Gurteen    
7 Ronan Hutchins    
8 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway (80m)    
9 Josh Helmore    
10 Sydney Ibie (87m)    
11 Carl Stewart    
Substitutes  
12 Ergys Pepaj (80m)    
14 Lindell Stewart (87m)    
15 Harry Gallagher    
16 Nebay Haile (83m)    
17 Brandon Kalu    
 


Westfield: Sonny Wheeler, Jonathan Sanchez, David Amate, Nathaniel Mensah, Luke Elliott, Jeremiah Debayo (Jacob Breckon 68m), Samuel Faniyan, Harry Carter, Bradley Walsh (Billy Oram 62m), Andrew Crossley (Troy Timothy 61m), Troy Walters

   

Northwood bounced back from their disappointing Emirates FA Cup exit to claim the points in the top of the table clash at Woking Park.

There were a number of changes to the Woods team which switched to a flat back four with James Gurteen partnering Luke Tingey in central defence in the absence of James Budden due to work commitments while there was a return from injury for Sam Jenkins at right-back. Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway was restored to the Northwood midfield having recovered from his hamstring problem while Ronan Hutchins resumed his attacking role.

Both sides had early chances to open the scoring in a lively start to the contest, Tingey seeing his header cleared off the line by Harry Carter following a Hutchins corner while Sydney Ibie’s progress was thwarted by a combination of goalkeeper Sonny Wheeler and defender. At the other end, Bradley Walsh broke clear as he latched onto a long ball from the back but dragged his shot wide.

Ibie, who was a constant threat all afternoon, was almost in on goal again but was denied by a brave block from Wheeler before the Northwood attacker turned provider as he got to the bye-line but Keagan Cole and Hutchins had their close-range attempts blocked by some brave Westfield defending.

However, Woods were rocked as they fell behind on 13 minutes after Westfield quickly turned defence into attack as they cleared a Hutchins corner, Samuel Faniyan turning sharply before releasing Troy Walters who squared the ball to Nathaniel Mensah for a simple finish.

Northwood went close to posting an immediate riposte as Cole’s quickly taken freekick found Ibie whose shot from the edge of the box narrowly cleared the home crossbar. But the visitors were not to be denied as Ibie caused more problems for Westfield as they conceded a freekick in a central position, Hutchins stepping up to send a delightful, curling effort from 25 yards beyond Wheeler to restore parity on 22 minutes.

Woods were enjoying territorial advantage as Westfield conceded another freekick with Gurteen latching onto Cole’s delivery to send in a firm header which was safely gathered by Wheeler. And Northwood reinforced their dominance as they took the lead on 29 minutes, Ibie being upended in the box by Luke Elliott before the Woods danger man picked himself to make no mistake from the penalty spot for his sixth strike of the season.

Photos by JAMES BROWN

The hosts were now struggling to make much of an impression after their bright start although they did make progress into the Northwood half as Walters saw his shot charged down by Andy Lomas. But Woods were soon back on the offensive as Jenkins was crowded out after a surging run into the Westfield box before good play between Hutchins and Ibie had the home defence scrambling as Josh Helmore threatened.

Westfield did have another opportunity on 45 minutes, but Mensah dragged his shot wide from a good position. And as the clock ticked over into the second minute of added time at the end of an entertaining opening half, Woods extended their lead as Jenkins laid the ball off to Cole, enjoying his afternoon in a free role behind the front three, who stroked the ball home from the edge of the box for his first goal of the season.

Woods were given a scare at the start of the second period as Mensah squandered another opportunity as he scooped over from close range. But the visitors responded with a slick move involving Ibie, Hutchins and Jenkins with the latter firing wide of the far upright. And Jenkins, enjoying a fine game on his return, was involved again as he combined with the impressive Hutchins who played in Helmore, his shot being blocked in the box.

The hosts made a double substitution on the hour and it seemed to have the desired effect as they offered an increased attacking threat, the covering Lomas on hand to clear the danger as Faniyan took the ball beyond Woods keeper Andrew McCorkell before the latter intercepted a low cross-shot from Carter.

Northwood remained a danger on the break and Ibie had a great chance to put the game to bed as he got beyond the home defence, but his shot ended up in the side-netting.

Woods made a couple of changes as Alexander-Greenaway was replaced by Ergys Pepaj while attacker Nebay Haille made his first appearance following his return to the club as Cole made way.

Westfield were looking increasingly dangerous as they looked to get something in the closing stages, substitute Troy Timothy sending a long-range freekick over the woodwork before Faniyan’s low cross found Mensah who was unable to convert.

Northwood made their final substitution as Lindell Stewart came on for Ibie with three minutes left on the clock, But the action was down the other end as the hosts squandered another gilt-edged opportunity as the ball flew across the face of the Woods goal with no yellow shirt able to apply the finish.

But Woods kept their two goal cushion intact to maintain their 100% Isthmian record, replacing Westfield at the top of the table and registering their best league start since 2015 when they won their opening four games.

Report by ROBIN PIPER



         
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