Northwood 2  Raynes Park Vale 2

Saturday 3rd February 2024


1 Roraigh Browne
2 Harry McKenna
3 Deago Dunbar Bonnie
4 Sam Jenkins
5 Luke Tingey © (90m)
6 Harry Gallagher
7 Adam Laaref
8 Teddy Stacey
9 Dan Williams (85m)
10 Kofi Anokye-Boadi (90m)
11 Carl Stewart
12 Archie James (90m)
14 Lucas Sinclair (85m)
15 Stephan Langley (90m)
16 Harry McCorkell
17 Stephan Langley

Ben Bridle-Card, Archie Harland-Goddard (James Dickson 74m), Jordan Stepney, Nathan Lewis, Brad Sweeney (Chinedu McKenzie 89m), Louie Donny (Jermaine Green 74m), Jordan Gallagher, Daniel Moody, Tom Barnes , Danny Dudley , Charlie Penny

The Woods rescued a valuable point against play-off seeking Raynes Park Vale in a highly-entertaining contest at the Skyline Roofing Stadium. It was a rare result for Northwood – the first Isthmian League score-draw since April 2022 when a home game against Westfield ended 1-1; a run of 63 matches. Only four of those 63 games ended all-square and all of them were goalless.

Manager Ben Bukowski made just one change to the starting line-up with Deago Dunbar-Bonnie restored to his left wing-back role as the Vale made their first ever visit to the Woods, looking to complete a double having won 1-0 at Prince George’s Field back In October.

Northwood made a good start to the game and created the first half-chance after just eight minutes when Dunbar-Bonnie picked out Adam Laaref with a cross from the left. He had time to turn but was unable to get a clean strike off and the ball deflected up off a defender and into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Ben Bridle-Card.

The two wing-backs almost combined when Harry McKenna knocked over a deep cross but an unmarked Dunbar-Bonnie was just unable to reach it in front of goal.

At the other end, a rare error from Luke Tingey presented an opportunity for Tom Barnes but he delayed his shot just long enough for the Woods skipper to recover and nip the ball back off him.

The visitors needed to remain strong in defence as the Woods continued to push forward with Dan Williams cross being helped on by Dunbar-Bonnie towards Laaref but his attempted overhead-kick was thwarted by a nudge in the back and then Kofi Anokye-Boadi saw his follow-up blocked.

PHOTOS by James Brown

And the pressure finally told on 22 minutes. Tingey launched a long throw which Bridle-Card punched away firmly but gave Tingey the opportunity to play the ball back across. It should have been cleared but was only sliced and Harry Gallagher took a touch with his back to goal before an overhead-kick flew into the net.

Williams had a great chance to double the lead on the half hour. His attempt to knock the ball across the six-yard box was blocked by Jordan Stepney but it rebounded back to the Woods top scorer with the goal at his mercy but his shot was wide of the near-post.

After a slow start, Raynes Park were gradually working their way into the game and went close from a corner after 34 minutes as a powerful header from Stepney was kept out by Roraigh Brown in the Woods goal.
Two minutes later, Laaref worked space for a shot which had Bridle-Card diving low to his left to save while, at the other end, Brad Sweeney skied an effort from outside the box.

But the Vale were starting to threaten and Browne came to Northwood’s rescue to smother another accurate header as Charlie Penny looked to swoop. On 43 minutes, a corner was swung over and headed on Archie Harland-Goddard and Danny Dudley struck a shot on the half-volley that flew into the net. The visitors went close to grabbing the lead just before the break as Jordan Gallagher curled in a cross from the left but again Browne did well to save under pressure.

Northwood still had time for two efforts on goal before half-time though, Gallagher heading well over from a Sam Jenkins free-kick and then Laaref also well off-target with a powerful strike from just outside the box.

The second half continued in the same end-to-end manner with the Woods creating a half-chance on 56 minutes when Williams knocked a Laaref cross into the path of Anokye-Boadi but his fierce shot deflected just over the bar.

Laaref was next to go close himself as he twisted and turned his way into the box from the left but his shot was kept out easily at his near post by the keeper.

But after 73 minutes Raynes Park were in front. A corner was half-cleared, headed back into the box by Dan Moody, flicked on again by another head and it freed Penny to smash the ball into the net from close-range.
Northwood responded well though and after 80 minutes, a good jinking run from Anokye-Boadi was halted just outside the box on the left. From the free-kick, Gallagher flighted a superb curling effort at pace which flew over Bridle-Card and under the crossbar for his second goal of the game.

It was the Woods who now had their tails up and they should have taken all three points in the final minute of normal time. Tingey threw-in from the right, first Gallagher and then Anokye-Boadi headed on and the ball fell to Jenkins who controlled but then saw his shot from five yards come back off the bar. It came back to him but his instinctive header was wide of the target so both sides had to settle for a point.

REPORT by Alan Evans