Walton & Hersham 2  Northwood 1

Wednesday 26th April 2023


1 Andrew McCorkell    
2 James Gurteen    
3 Andy Lomas    
4 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway    
5 Luke Tingey ©    
6 Romario Jonas (87m)    
7 Shane Cojocarel (89m)    
8 Carl Stewart    
9 Josh Helmore    
10 Osaretin Otote (68m)    
11 Teddy Stacey    
12 Sam Jenkins (89m)    
14 Gareth Chendlik (87m)    
15 Keagan Cole    
16 Harry Gallagher    
17 Micah Jackson (68m)    

Liam Allen, Harry Mills, Joe Pratley-Jones, Arsen Ujkaj, Mitchal Gough, Joe Hicks, Teo Kurtaran , Alex Kelly (Darryl Siaw 88m), Eddie Simon, John Gilbert , Jordan Adeyemi (Taurean Roberts 74m)


Northwood’s promotion ambitions were finally ended as they suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Walton & Hersham for a fourth time this season. Woods named an unchanged team for a third game running in what was their first appearance in an end of season play-off game as they looked to take a step closer to their first promotion in 20 years.

The Woods showed some early nerves as a wayward pass out from the back by James Gurteen went straight to the feet of Alex Kelly, who strode into the box before firing over while Romario Jonas’ attempted back pass was intercepted by Eddie Simon with keeper Andrew McCorkell keeping out the shot from the prolific striker.

And having survived the early scares, Woods silenced the majority of the 1,047 crowd by taking a fifth minute lead with their first attack – Andy Lomas playing the ball up the line to Osaretin Otote who squared to Josh Helmore who spun smartly in the box before firing a low shot into the far corner of the Swans’ net.

The hosts looked for a swift response bit McCorkell was up to the challenge again as he kept out close range efforts from Jordan Adeyemi and Simon. And the Swans kept up the pressure on Northwood as Simon blazed over after he latched onto a Mitchal Gough pass.

Having been pinned back into their own half since taking the lead, Woods began to break out with a slick move involving Lomas, Carl Stewart, Teddy Stacey and Helmore creating an opening for Otote who was unable to the required purchase on his shot while Shane Cojocarel saw his half-volleyed attempt from just outside the box gathered by keeper Liam Allen.

PHOTOS by James Brown

However, parity was restored as Gough lost his marker to head home from a corner on 28 minutes. But Northwood had an immediate opportunity to restore their lead as Cojocarel released Stacey who sent over a delightful first time cross but Otote was unable to keep his header down as he arrived at the far post.

With the contest nicely poised at the halftime break, Northwood were the first to show upon the resumption as Cojocarel worked his way into the Swans’ box but his shot was comfortably dealt with by Allen.

But the hosts seemed to have a renewed purpose as they stepped up the pace with Kelly seeing his header rebound off the Northwood woodwork from a corner before the same player found himself in great position before snatching at his shot which flew wide of the upright.

Northwood continued to resist the Swans while reminding the hosts of the threat they posed as Lomas combined with Otote who dragged the ball back to Helmore who looked to turn in the box but this time was foiled by the home defence.

Woods had some more defending to do as McCorkell produced another fine save to keep out Kelly’s near post shot before the Northwood stopper comfortably dealt with a long-range attempt from Arsen Ujkaj.

Woods made their first substitution on 70 minutes as Otote made way for Micha Jackson but the majority of the play was now happening in the Northwood half with Teo Kurtaran the next to try his luck with a shot from distance which flew over the bar.

But Woods’ resistance was finally broken in unfortunate circumstances – McCorkell parrying a fierce cross-shot from John Gilbert leading to Jonas being penalised for a challenge as he looked to clear the loose ball, Harry Mills stepping up to make no mistake from the penalty spot to put the Swans in front with nine minutes left on the clock.

With time running out, Northwood utilised their remaining substitutions as Gareth Chendlik and Sam Jenkins entered the fray for Jonas and Cojocarel. However, Woods were unable to find a way through with Jackson coming closest in the 90th minute as he saw he had his close-range shot blocked with Stewart shooting wide on the rebound.

And so it was the Swans who progressed to the play-off final where they would meet Hanworth Villa in the battle for the second promotion place leaving Northwood to reflect on what might have been but looking forward to finishing the season with a chance of silverware in the final of the Middlesex Charity Cup where they will meet near-neighbours Broadfields United for a first ever competitive encounter between the two sides.

REPORT by Robin Piper