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Saturday 28th August 1976

Northwood  let a third minute lead and a substantial margin of skill and know-how slip in their opening Middlesex League game with Rayners Lane on Saturday when they dropped a point. Woods were without Nigel Franklin, Glyn Jones, Brian Ashley and Geoff Mills, but they should have still proved to be too strong for Rayners Lane.

Northwood should have had the stimulus for an onslaught early on when Harman’s free kick sailed tantalisingly into the box between an array of legs where Chris Curran seized on a chance to head in.

The problem was making the final pass positive enough to give the sharp Ellis and Jones enough space to score. At the other end Gould and Merison were so effective that keeper Currell was almost redundant.

Rayners Lane grew in confidence after the break, and their efforts paid off with a spectacular goal in the 75th minute that earned them their point. Northwood had several chances to clear the ball from the edge of the box, before it fell for Frimley to crack in a super drive from 25 yards.

The goal stunned Northwood, and Rayners Lane went surging forward after a would-be winner, but the tide quickly ebbed. Northwood were back in the match and looking for the winner. King twice went down in the penalty area, and then Jones missed an easy chance.

At the end of the day Northwood were left wondering whether it was a point won or lost, and manager Paddy Coburn will want better than that when he returns from his hospital bed.

Northwood: Currell, J. Harman, Gould, Merison, Heslop, Tidd, Curran, Pearce, Jones, King, Ellis. Sub. R. Harman.