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Watford academy XI 2  Northwood U18 2 

Monday 4th January 2016




Team line-up


1 Charley McInerney
2 Rowland Smith
3 Matt Parsons
4 Will Holland
5 Charlie Carroll
6 Dylan Noble
7 Jamie Roche
8 Dylan Louis
9 Freddie Buckley
10 Jack McDonnell ©  
11 Connor Maher  
12 Myles Martin  
14 Ross Keough  
15 Albie Shehan-Cozens  
16 Jordan Gargani  
17 Lloyd  

For the first time in 10 weeks we actually had a full squad to pick from, so selection was a pleasant headache for a change, and with the League game against Wealdstone 48 hours later we rested, Jordan Williams, Ross Golding-Ramsey, Elliot Wells, Youel Emmanuel and Michael Brown. With Louis Moriarty (knee) and Ben Spires ( heavy cold ) George Adams (back)  hopefully all fit for Wealdstone.

There was a debut for Connor Maher, and it was welcome back to  Charlie Carroll, Ross Keogh,  missing the last few games, with Myles Martin and Will Holland both now recovered from injury.
Firstly a huge thank you to Watford Trust, Nigel Parsons, Gifton Noel-Williams and Stephen Quinn, for their fantastic hospitality through the evening, from arrival in our dressing room pre-match was like a well stocked tuck shop, unlimited bottles of water, Powerade, fresh fruit, together with Mark Fox’s supply of Jaffa cakes it was more like a picnic, and to the after match buffet - absolutely brilliant! Secondly, the facility and the quality of the pitch was a pleasure for our boys to play on.

The first 20 minutes flew past with both sides creating chances but with two confident in-form keepers it looked like it was going to be a hard night to score goals. Watford created the better chances, but Northwood held their own defensively. Dylan Louis and Will Holland worked hard competing against good creative ability in the centre of midfield. Good chances fell for Jack McDonnell, Freddie Buckley and Jamie Roche on the half hour and with the exhilarating Rowland Smith making a number of excellent runs, overlapping from right back, Northwood created some great scoring opportunities early on.

But it was the home side who took the lead on 33 minutes after a break; some excellent one-touch passing, credit the Northwood boys for keeping their shape. Luke the Watford number 10,  was a threat all night, and helped break the deadlock with a perfectly curled ball out wide right to Hamzie, whose mazy run first outside and then cut inside, gave himself the space to slot the ball into the far corner of the net, giving the diving Charley McInerney no chance in the Northwood goal.

Northwood almost equalised straight after, only to see the shot from Jamie Roche well saved again by Louis in the Watford goal. On the half hour Myles Martin came on in centre-midfield for his first start in 9 weeks due to an ankle injury and made a tremendous impact, as did Albie Shehan-Cozens at centre back. Woods upped the tempo and after a corner was initially cleared, the ball won back by Dylan Louis, drove to the corner of the area, turned and played a lovely ball to the oncoming Myles Martin, whose fierce shot finally beat Louis at his near post. 1-1.
The half ended with both teams creating chances, Northwood defence was strong, and the midfield far more mobile than previous games – it was a well contested game of football.

The second period started with the home side on top, and it wasn’t long before Mase had a jinky run on 52 minutes and cut through the Northwood defence and slotted the ball into the far corner. 2-1.

Northwood were playing well, holding good possession and the ability of the back four to pass their way through our opponents gave the team confidence. Will Holland came back into to centre midfield, and the impressive Dylan Louis went out to the right. Team work rate was good, overall quality of our possession improved all through the game and we created some good scoring opportunities. A Myles free kick found the head of Albie, whose header bounced of the Watford bar, as for the second game running Albie was inches away from scoring his first Northwood goal.

Set pieces were improving and after a Dylan Noble header down was initially cleared, Jack McDonnell slipped the ball out to Connor, whose volley back into the box, met by Will Holland but was again well saved by Louis. A cross from Rowland on 82 minutes was met by the head of Freddie Buckley, but again the keeper in the right place at the right time. Northwood pushed into a 4-3-3 formation and the tactic paid off, Will Holland shut down the left, Freddie the middle and Jordan Gargani the right. The ball was slipped into midfield, Connor Maher intercepted and drove back into the box, and one-on-one he slipped the ball into the net to make it 2-2 which capped a fine debut display.

For our players a good run out, a great game, in a great facility, with great hosts.