North Greenford Res. 3  Northwood Res. 2

Wednesday 17th April 2013


Premier B Division
Berkeley Fields
Team line-up


1 Garry Malone
2 Theo Hunte
3 James Fraser
4 Ken Obeng
5 Corey Ellis
6 Alex Ishola
7 Lewis Davis
8 Adam Laberosa
9 Hisham El Haddad (77m)
10 Adam El Haddad (62m)  
11 Michael Dixon  
12 Sofian Taghi (77m)  
14 Fraser Robbins  
15 Myles Tang  
16 Denis Nortey  
17 Aaron Watson (62m)  

On a windy evening away to North Greenford United, Northwood reserves can feel a little aggrieved losing a hard fought physical game courtesy of a couple of really strange decisions from the Referee. Over the ninety minutes a draw would have been a fair result as both sides played well with lots of  commitment and determination.

Woods got off to a dream start taking the lead in the 5th minute. A goal kick from Garry Malone found Lewis Davis deep in the Greenford half on the left wing just outside the box; ex Northwood reserves captain Ed Hatcher scythed Davies from behind, conceding a free kick. Adam Laberosa stepped up to take the free kick and his shot/cross sailed over the keeper into the top right hand corner of the net. A minute later Malone was called into action to save comfortably from a long-range effort just outside the Northwood penalty area. Woods dominated the opening ten minutes of the game and went close again when another wonderful ping from Malone found Hisham El Haddad on the edge of the box; he slipped past the Greenford right back and crossed into the box, finding Laberosa at the back post, but his header drifted just wide of the upright.

Greenford were becoming increasingly frustrated during the first quarter of the match and were fortunate not to have a couple of their players sent off for really nasty tackles and strong verbal abuse of the officials. Northwood, on the other hand, were playing some really nice football and nearly extended the lead with a couple of good efforts from Michael Dixon and Theo Hunte in the 12th and 18th minutes. Another foul just outside the Greenford box in the twentieth minute gave Adam El Haddad the chance to whip in a fantastic driven cross from the right that went agonisingly through a wall of players, including four of the Northwood team who were in and around the six yard box but no-one could get a foot on the ball, and it ended up going behind for a goal kick. Greenford had a couple of chances shortly afterwards that sailed over the bar from a free kick just outside the box and from a snap shot that was blocked by Corey Ellis and deflected behind for a corner.

Northwood were continuing to attack down both sides of the pitch, but a lack of composure in front of goal saw several chances wasted. With the visitors going all out for a second, they lost their shape on occasions and were punished in the 40th minute when another free flowing move ended with them losing the ball just outside the Greenford penalty area. With too many players committed forward; Greenford were able to quickly counter attack and when a wonderful forty-fifty yard ball found their left winger just outside the Northwood box; he was able to cross unopposed to the Greenford number 9. His first touch popped the ball up for him to volley with real power and venom from about twelve yards out into the net for the equaliser.

Within three minutes of the restart Greenford’s number 9, who was backing in and holding Ellis, went down in the Northwood penalty area through his own momentum. To the amazement of everyone inside the stadium, including the Greenford players who hadn’t even appealed for a penalty, the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty was converted giving Greenford the lead. Greenford were definitely buoyed by that controversial decision and started to really pile on more pressure over the next ten minutes forcing good saves from Malone in the 50th and 54th minutes. A minute later Greenford were awarded two corners in quick succession that saw the Northwood defence struggling to clear the ball out of their own half. When another home attack resulted in a free kick just outside the box in the 62nd minute, Errol Dyer and Roger Linton decided to send on Aaron Watson to replace A El Haddad. The subsequent free kick was whipped in deep to the back of the six yard box and Greenford’s number 9 did well to head the ball back towards the penalty spot. Unfortunately, four Northwood defenders were unable to clear the ball and a scuffed clearance fell to one of the Greenford strikers just inside the box. His first time shot was on target and was fortunate to find another of his Greenford team mates unmarked three yards out in front of goal; the subsequent touch deflected the ball into the net for number three.

Northwood came back into the game after the restart and were unlucky in the 65th minute when another wonderful free kick, this time from Laberosa, was whipped agonisingly again across the six yard box past three Woods players, who all failed to get any contact. Matt Cooper came on for H El Haddad in the 77th minute. Four minutes later another great kick from Malone found Dixon just outside the Greenford penalty area. He played in Davis, who beat two players and shot from just inside the box; the ball bobbled just before it reached the keeper and went over him into the net to peg the score back to 3-2.

Woods now went all-out for an equaliser and were so close in the 89th minute when a third really good free-kick was whipped into the box by Laberosa, but again none of the Northwood attack could convert the cross and it went wide for a goal-kick. The game was now in added time and when a Woods free-kick from the halfway line sailed high into the box, the Greenford keeper came flying off his line; jumped into the air, completely misjudging the flight of the ball and crashed into four Northwood players, which should have resulted in at least a penalty for Northwood and a possible caution for the keeper. The ball which had continued and drifted over the Greenford keeper dropped on to the six-yard line, bounced up and was headed home for a seemingly perfectly good equaliser. Once again the referee to the amazement of everyone in the stadium blew unbelievably for a foul on the keeper, who was totally at fault and who could on another day with another official been sent off for such a reckless challenge. Instead the four Northwood players were judged to have fouled the keeper! Northwood have had some really poor decisions go against them in the past three or four games. Hopefully come Saturday the much used cliché of "decisions will even themselves out over a season" will come to fruition.

Overall, this was a good team effort in difficult and windy conditions; with stand out performances from James Fraser at the back and Garry Malone, whose kicking and distribution throughout the game was excellent.