Royston Town Res. 0 Northwood Res. 1
Saturday 5th January 2013
|NORTHWOOD RESERVES||Suburban Lge
Premier Div B
|8||Chris Ngun (46m)|
|9||Michael Bonsra (46m)|
|12||Michael Dixon (46m)|
|15||Lewis Davis (46m) (85m)|
|17||Frederick Barra (85m)|
Northwood Reserves’ return Suburban League Cup leg against Royston Town finally took place on Saturday, and trailing 4-0 from the first disappointing leg at Northwood Park, the Woods’ new-look team needed to be at their best to have any chance of progressing to the next round of the competition. The new management team of Errol Dyer and Roger Linton were forced to make a number of changes for the game with Harry Wright opting to play for Hillingdon Borough in search of first team football and George Nicholas and Adil Salih being drafted into the first team squad for their away game against Aylesbury.
Royston Town would have been expecting an easy second leg tie against Northwood; but the new look visiting team were in no mood to give them an easy ride, and from the start they were the stronger and more ambitious of the two teams. In the first quarter of the game Northwood dominated possession and were unlucky not to go ahead in the sixteenth minute when
Lamein Cole’s snap shot from just inside Royston’s box went inches wide. On a boggy, heavy pitch Northwood matched and battled a Royston side who previously were unbeaten all season; and when Jeffrey Twumasy burst down the right wing in the 28 minute and floated a superb cross in to the centre of the six yard box it look certain that Michael Bonsra would open the scoring, but his header went harmlessly over the Royston crossbar.
Three minutes later Theo Hunte drove forward down the left wing and played in Sam Labinjo, who crossed to Bonsra on the penalty spot; Bonsra laid the ball off to the fast approaching Twumasy, who shot just over the Royston crossbar. Royston where clearly rattled by the grit and determination of the Northwood side and were becoming increasingly more frustrated when their couple of first half chances were dealt with easily by Northwood keeper Garry Malone. Tempers threatened to boil over just before half time when Royston resorted to a number of pretty unsavoury challenges that forced Chris Ngun off through injury, and but for an extremely lenient referee could have resulted in two Royston players being sent off, instead of just a single yellow card.
Northwood were definitely the better of the two side throughout the first half and but for greater composure in front of goal; they could easily have been 3-0 up. Instead they went in at half time at 0-0 after a really good team performance. Dyer and Linton made two changes at half-time, replacing the injured Ngun with Lewis Davis and Bonsra with Michael Dixon. Northwood started the second half a bit shakily, allowing Royston back into the game. However, their early pressure once again led to only a couple of half chances that Malone was able to comfortably deal with. Northwood weathered the early onslaught and settled again; twice going close to taking the lead; on 55 minutes when Cole’s snap shot from just outside then box went wide of the post and Dixon’s shot ten minutes later from outside the Royston box blazed just over the bar.
Dixon went close again in the 72nd minute when he ran on to a wonderful through ball from Cole that split the two Royston centre-halves, leaving them helpless and stranded outside their area; however although Dixon managed to chip the oncoming keeper from within the penalty box his shot sailed harmlessly over the bar. Woods continued to press Royston all over the pitch and when a rapid counter attack in the 78th minute led to a corner, Theo Hunte’s late run at the back post paid dividends as he smashed the corner ball into Royston’s net. With five minutes to go Dyer and Linton decided to make a tactical change by replacing Davis with Frederick Barra.
The referee seemed to find lots of extra time from nowhere, giving Royston the chance to press hard for an equaliser. However, Northwood’s defence stood resolute and two good punches from Malone in the dying minutes, first from a Royston corner and a then from a free kick helped seal the win. Overall this was another fantastic battling and entertaining performance from the entire new look Northwood reserves team, with an excellent debut for Matt Cooper and a third clean sheet in a row for Malone and his excellent back four of Hunte, Ken Obeng, Correy Ellis and Alex Ishola. Since Dyer and Linton took over they have played three won three whilst conceding no goals making them the inform Premier Division B side during December 2012.