Southall 1  Northwood 1

(Woods won 5-4 on penalties)

Wednesday 8th November 2023

1 Roraigh Browne
2 Teddy Stacey
3 Deago Dunbar Bonnie
4 Carl Stewart
5 Luke Tingey © (64m)
6 Harry Gallagher
7 Harry McKenna (82m)
8 Harry McCorkell (90m)
9 Dan Williams (83m)
10 Reece Cameron
11 Kofi Anokye-Boadi
12 Sam Jenkins (83m)
14 Godlove Oppong (82m)
15 Romario Jonas (64m) (75m)
16 Curtis Brown (90m)
17 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway (75m)

Michael Edegbe, Kevin Diamande, Azeez Alabi, Dimitri Savva , David Amate (Darreon Mark 57m), Frankie Taylor (Jaiden Celestine-Charles 84m), Lewis Putman, Connor Holland (William Montague 57m), Kevin Songolo (Shyon Dennis 57m), Luke Heneghan, Harvey Jay Jarry (Nabil El-ghaidouni 58m)

The Woods made it through to the quarter-finals of the Middlesex Senior Cup for the fourth year in succession with this narrow victory at high-flying Southall in a penalty shoot-out on Wednesday night.

It was only the second time that the two clubs had met in Senior Cup competition and certainly the first time Northwood had played a county cup tie outside of Middlesex! While the Woods last won the Senior Cup in 2015/16, it has been nearly seventy years since Southall were successful in the competition; 1955 being the year they won it for the twelfth and so far last time.

The home side, unbeaten in eight games, rested a few key players included the prolific Jaden Thompson-Brissett who has notched twenty goals already this season. Woods Manager Ben Bukowski had to cope without young defender George Milner-Smith whose loan spell from Aldershot Town had come to an end. There was a first start for another Aldershot player with dual-registered Harry McKenna coming into the midfield.

And the Woods made the best possible start in just the third minute. Harry McCorkell was tripped wide of the box by Kevin Diomande and when Harry McKenna delivered to the near-post, it was Harry Gallagher who flicked in a header for his fifth of the season in only twelve games.

The earlier rain on the 3G surface at Burnham’s ground meant the ball zipped nicely off the surface and it made for a lively game but it wasn’t until the 19th minute that there was another effort on goal. McKenna was the provider again with a great cross from the right and Dan Williams was up for a header which wasn’t far wide of the upright.
Just a minute later Southall created the first chance of their own as Kevin Songolo cut in from the right flank and let fly but Woods keeper Roraigh Browne made a good save. The Watford Youth loanee was in action again just three minutes later, this time dealing well with a long-range effort from Dimitris Savva.

The Woods hit back again with Williams firing a shot too high to test goalkeeper Michael Edge and then a neat free-kick delivery from Reece Cameron picked out Gallagher but he couldn’t quite connect for a shot as he was under pressure from his marker.

The ‘All made Northwood pay for a misplaced pass in midfield on 33 minutes though as former Woods midfielder Luke Heneghan slipped a good pass through to Savva who raced through, took the ball past Browne’s challenge and the flicked home from a tight angle to level things up.

The Woods responded well and enjoyed the better of the remainder of the half. Cameron latched onto a loose ball in the box but saw his shot deflected wide for a corner and from that it was Cameron again who flicked a header wide of the far post.

After 43 minutes, the Referee played a good advantage to ignore a foul as Kofi Anokye-Boadi burst through the centre but his powerful shot was well over the bar and just before the break McKenna combined well with Williams again but saw his shot deflected wide of the target.

All-square as the second-half commenced, there was a more low-key start and little to report until the home side made a triple substitution after 57 minutes. It gave them more of a threat but the Woods dealt with it well and after 70 minutes they went close when Anokye-Boadi and McKenna both had shots blocked by some excellent defending from Southall.

Just a minute later, the impressive McKenna did really well down the right again and cut the ball back to Williams in space but though his shot beat Edegbe, it came crashing back off the crossbar.

Almost immediately the ‘All broke quickly down the left and substitute Shyon Dennis looked likely to score but his chip dropped over the target.

Romario Jonas had only replaced Luke Tingey eight minutes earlier but had to be replaced by Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway in an unfamiliar defensive role as the mist and fog started to descend at the 1878 Stadium. On 82 minutes there were further subs introduced with Godlove Oppong and Sam Jenkins replacing Williams and McKenna in attacking roles.

The Woods looked for a winner as Alexander-Greenaway flicked on a cross from Anokye-Boadi but had his effort saved by the keeper. Then substitute Curtis Brown, on for McCorkell, had his long thrown headed on by Gallagher but again Edegbe was well-placed to save. The game was into stoppage-time when Oppong worked enough space to shoot from the left but his effort flashed wide of the far post.

Time was running out when Southall finally created a chance of their own but some top defending blocked two efforts on the line in quick succession and it would be kicks from the penalty spot that would decide this tie.

Southall went first and were successful but Carl Stewart soon levelled and it was the home side’s second penalty that proved decisive as Browne dived to his left to save low down. After that it was clinically converted spot-kicks from Cameron, Anokye-Boadi, Alexander-Greenaway and finally Gallagher that secured the fifth and final penalty to win the game 5-4 on penalties.

REPORT by Alan Evans