Northwood’s once promising season is in danger of quickly unravelling after this fifth successive league defeat left them only above the bottom six as they again drew a blank in front of goal at Aylesbury. And once again it was a former player who sealed the Woods fate as ex-striker Leon Osei notched a quick-fire double inside three minutes to give the Moles a half-time lead that they held onto in a more even second-half.
Oliver Hawkins and Reece Yorke were back from their festive holidays to strengthen the previously depleted Northwood starting line-up and two players made their starting debuts. Jerome Federico has signed on dual-registration from Hendon and took his place on the right of midfield, while youngster George Nicholas, a former Notts County midfielder, had joined from Wealdstone and slotted into the centre of the park.
The Aylesbury pitch had been under water for much of the previous couple of weeks and showed real signs of heaviness, especially in the half defended by the Woods in the first period. After Federico had shown his pace in the very first minute, racing down the right and knocking in a cross which just eluded Hawkins, Aylesbury gradually started to dominate proceedings. After 13 minutes, Brian Haule twisted and turned his way into the box only for his shot to be blocked by Brad Hewitt’s timely interception. From the corner, Osei headed down and goalwards but straight at James Reading.
There was a mad scramble in the Northwood penalty-area on 21 minutes after Sonny French had taken advantage of a defensive slip. His shot was blocked again by Hewitt and then two follow-ups were kept out by a diving Reading before the ball was cleared away. Four minutes later, a poor ball across the field by Federico saw Matarr Touray streak forward and find Brian Haule but his first-time shot was well wide.
Northwood’s best chance came on 33 minutes when Hawkins got on the end of a Tyrell Miller-Rodney cross but it was well saved by goalkeeper Simeon Charles. The ball ran loose and another cross found Hawkins again but this time his effort was blocked. Just a minute later, Aylesbury were in front when French shaped to shoot but instead slipped a ball through to Osei who slotted home an easy opening goal.
There was hardly time to regroup when the Moles got a second goal two minutes later with Osei again on target with a shot through a ruck of players that nestled in the corner.
The second half was going to need real improvement from a Northwood side that had never really got to grips with the surface or really looked like threatening a goal but Lee Grant started to make inroads down the left flank and picked out Hawkins with an accurate cross but yet again his header was straight at the keeper.
Osei and Haule continued to cause problems with their movement up front, well supplied by the darting runs of French but the Woods had Reading in form and he made a couple of good saves to keep the score down.
With half an hour to go, the Woods started to threaten at last. A fine strike from Sam Beale crashed back off the crossbar and fellow Brentford team-mate Miller-Rodney looked sure to score from the rebound but also headed against the bar and Lamar Simpson cleared the danger.
Top scorer Adamson Ajayi replaced Nicholas on 69 minutes and he was soon involved, latching onto a Hawkins knock-down but shooting wide. Two minutes later Beale’s good touch and accurate pass put Ajayi in on goal but, under pressure from Charles, he poked a shot wide of the post.
But that was as good as it got for the Woods with Federico volleying well over with their only other chance on goal and, with Northwood taking risks to get back into the game, Aylesbury exploited the spaces at the back to notch a third goal in the final minute. James Faulkner raced through from the right and found an unmarked Kurt Morlese who knocked the ball past Reading for yet another ex-Northwood forward to notch a goal against his former club.
Northwood now have to regroup for the difficult League Cup tie at home to current Premier Division leaders Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday night before a visit from well-placed Daventry Town next Saturday.