Northwood U18 2 Ashford Town U18 5
Thursday 17th March 2016
|NORTHWOOD UNDER 18||Ryman Youth League|
Staring at the result long and hard, it was hard to visualise a period in the game in which Ashford were on top. Without doubt they tackled and harassed their Northwood opponents and gave 100% for their management team, who were focused and I have no doubts planned this smash and grab with military precision.
From the kick off Northwood were in control, and had several scoring opportunities in the first few minutes. From a corner on seven minutes, Albie Shehan-Cozens rose and met the cross nodding the ball into the far corner, 1-0 Northwood. Several free kicks and a number of chances followed, in the main well defended by Ashford, they changed their formation defensively to counter the dangerous ball through the middle.
On 13 minutes Ashford had their first real venture into the Northwood half, with indecision, the ball bounced and keegan who with Harry Herdman worked tirelessly at the front of the Ashford attack, was brought down by Phil Daniels resulting in a penalty. 1-1.
Jay Thorne took control of Northwood’s midfield and together with Myles Martin and Andy Ali forged some great interplay, Rowland Smith got forward on the right and for 10 minutes Northwood had a string of corners and free kicks which resulted in several saves by Nick Bennett in the Ashford goal. Once again pretty much against the run of play, Harry Herdman took possession of a long clearance from his sturdy central defender, turned and ran at the Northwood defence, who backed off, Myles Martin sprang to block the shot only to see the ball ricochet into the far corner of the net, giving Daniels no chance to recover from his dive to the opposite side of the goal. 1-2 Ashford.
So far, Ashford having two attacks, found themselves in front. Looking out onto the pitch watching the reaction of a Northwood team that genuinely could not believe they were behind. Although we enjoyed a great deal of possession, our passing at times was extremely sloppy, we lacked composure in the final third. Ashford did well for the remaining 15-20 minutes of the first half, they dug in and formed a 4-2-3-1 which was difficult for the Northwood players to break down. The ball was blocked through the central channels keeping the lively Andy Ali at bay.
The second half started as did the first with Northwood attacking and Ashford defending, but Ashford had a solidity in open play about them that they didn’t have in the first half. Northwood upped the tempo but still failed to make that clinical pass, or force any type of save from Nick Bennett. the slight delay on the final pass resulted in the forwards being offside, which became a frustrating feature of our play. Timing issues frustrated the Northwood forwards .On 57 minutes the plan to get level and go onto win the game took a sudden jolt !! Again due to lost possession and the impressive Harry Herdman again with Keegan interplay resulting in a low shot: 1-3 Ashford. I hope I’m not insulting the Ashford team here, but basically three ventures up field = 3 goals! A stat to make any manager happy !!
Northwood once again took the game to Ashford and a quick corner by Jay Thorne met by Jack McDonnell at the near post made it 2-3, game on again! Northwood again within touching distance of a game pretty much controlled by Jay Thorne and Myles Martin. Northwood made several changes, with Zach Rosewitter on for Michael Brown, Freddie Buckley on for Youel Emmanuel. Within a few minutes a cross from Freddie found Zach unmarked at the back post but he mistimed and the shot scuffed off wide of the target. The two Northwood goals had come from set pieces and by the 75th minute these were increasing. The game became slightly fractious and the referee had distributed about 5 yellows in 15 minutes. Myles was by then replaced by Pearse White.
It’s hard to explain the last 15 minutes of the game, Northwood lacked that clinical finish, our passing at times was superb, but when it was poor, Ashford had an outlet in Harry, whose mazy run on 83 minutes, met the outstretched leg of Jack McDonnell, second penalty to Ashford, and although Phil Daniels got a hand to it, 4-2 Ashford. Northwood did not give up and had several scoring opportunities, but you have probably guessed that Ashford had one more venture up field so you know the final score? 2- 5 to Ashford Town.
Credit to Ashford; although they may be slightly flattered by the scoreline, they defended well and their finishing on the night was incredible. I think only once before this season we have given man of the match to one of our opposition, that was Keegan Cole of Hendon, but I think last night, Harry Herdman just pips Jay Thorne.
I believe our last home game of the season is about to be moved to accommodate the Bedfont game on the 4th April. In that case, I shall be in New York that week, so am not available. So a big thank you to all the people at the club this season, especially Mac and Tom for all the help and assistance at our home games.
Report by GARRY MORIARTY