Match report from Northwood FC official website
Report courtesy of and copyright Alon Farrow at northwoodfc.com
Image courtesy of and copyright Len Kerswill at Watford Observer
Northwood got their season off to a slow start after a frustrating 3-0 loss to Westfield. Two goals from winger Aaron Watson and a towering header from striker Max Blackmore sealed an opening day victory for the visiting side.
Manager Scott Dash gave a handful of debuts, with Jaiden Irish, Sacha M’Baye, Andrew Tirivanhu, Luke Holness and Harry Lodovica all making their first league appearances at the AcreTweed Stadium. Karl Stevenson and Louis Bircham were also named in the starting eleven, making their return after spells away from the club.
The Woods got off to a slow start, and within the first five minutes were already a goal down. Westfield’s big number nine, Max Blackmore, got his head on the end of a lofted cross guiding the ball looping over Northwood’s goalkeeper Rob Partington.
No more than four minutes later, it looked to be a horror start for the home side. Sonny Black’s shot, from outside the box, was perceived to be blocked by captain M’Baye’s hand and a penalty was subsequently given.
Aaron Watson stepped up and calmly sent Partington the wrong way to give the away side a two-goal advantage within 12 minutes.
M’Baye looked to make amends for his penalty awarding error but he could not keep his header down from Northwood’s first real goal-scoring opportunity. The captain’s chance lead to a string of well-worked attacking transitions, the first of which coming through Northwood’s instinctive one-touch link-up play.
Kweku Lucan played the ball from the right into Lodovica, who cleanly back-heeled it into the winger’s path. With the ball back at his feet, Lucan played a decisive one-two with Luke Holness to put him through on goal, but the strike went agonisingly wide.
The second well-worked opportunity came when Stevenson played an inch-perfect lofted ball into Bircham, whose ferocious volley was tipped wide of the post by Westfield’s goalkeeper and captain Gary Ross.
The second half started off slowly, and it took almost 20 minutes before a key chance arrived for either side. Debutant Tirivanhu made a powerful run up the left-flank to the bye-line, cutting the ball back across the face of the goal, but it was well cleared of danger by the visitor’s defender Greg Hayden.
Having kept Westfield’s attack quiet in the second half, Northwood almost shot themselves in their foot. Partington’s lackadaisical pass went straight to Blackmore who had an open goal from 25 yards, but his shot lacked sufficient power and the gift of an opportunity was squandered.
Deep into injury time however, Westfield had their third. Watson first-time strike from the edge of the box rattled the crossbar, bouncing down over the line.