On the 8th February 2020 Northwood FC encountered Bedfont Sports in a tough asking task in the BetVictor Isthmian South Central division. Before the game Northwood sat rock bottom of the table at 20th and Bedfont Sports sat 13th but during the week Northwood appointed new manager Rob Ursell who brought in several new players to turn this seasons disappointment around.
On a cold but sunny day at The Acretweed Stadium, it was a very efficient performance from Bedfont who took their chances when they came. Although the score line doesn’t suggest it, Ursell’s debut game in charge of the Woods displayed numerous signs of hope, promise and potential.
Bedfont played well but weren’t as dominant as the score suggests and maybe on another day they wouldn’t have scored five but you can’t take away how clinical they were in front of goal on the day. There were seven debutants for Northwood, and the unfamiliarity was evident as the Woods rotten form continued nevertheless under former player and new manager Ursell.
It was a nightmare start for the Woods because in just the 3rd minute Captain Charlie Hayford’s awful touch in the middle of the park set up the first attack for Bedfont as he got dispossessed by Darryl Sanders on the turn. The Woods defence was then caught out by the quick turnover in possession and Sanders slid the ball behind the defence which could’ve been dealt with by Dominic Rhone but the bobble takes it away from him allowing Ezekiel Bademosi to get on the ball and slot it in the net in a cool and composed manor.
The onslaught continued in the ninth minute when Bayley Brown made a horrendous loose pass into midfield which was gobbled up by Joe Jackson and played forward into a good team move from Bedfont which was clinically finished off by winger Max Oldham, whose strike hit the woodwork and went in.
Although they had a shaky start and were under the cosh very early on Northwood stuck to their plan and continued to play the way they wanted. They played neatly from out the back and retained possession confidently which eventually paid its reward, when Romario Hart was foolishly taken out in the box by Bedfont’s keeper Dimitrios Kyriatzis who was stuck in No man’s land
This resulted in a penalty being awarded which Eric Lopes buried confidently and unfazed in the 19th minute after having to wait a while whilst Hart was getting treatment.
Northwood started to look more inspired and kept the pressure up, enjoying possession whilst playing some expansive football. However, in the 33rd minute against the run of play Max Oldham produced a bit of magic and flew past two players down the wing and drove a low cross straight into an unmarked Darryl Sanders, who made no mistake and rocketed the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards out leaving Chris Rackley with no chance.
Just before halftime Chris Rackley was called into action from a freekick about 30 yards out which was struck well by Sanders. It kept very low and forced a great save from Rackley who guided it around the post.
Northwood came back out with intent and five minutes after the whistle the Woods brought it back to a one goal deficit. Eric Lopes scored his second and a contender for goal of the season as he took down a ball from over the top and cut in from the right flank using great footwork to get beyond two men and onto the edge of the box. He then bent the ball inch perfect over the keeper and into the top left corner.
The Woods appeared to gain more confidence from Lopes’ goal, and it was Bayley Brown who was working hard in midfield trying to create chances for his team-mates but to no avail. That was the tale of the game for Northwood, dominating the play but not being able to find the killer ball.
Bedfont picked up two yellows through petty fouls from Ed Cook and Max Oldham during their period of inferiority and frustrations boiled over in the 57th minute when Ryan Phillips and Andy Ali had a coming together who both received a yellow for their parts to play.
Although Northwood controlled the half Bedfont’s hard work and resilience was rewarded as they punished the home side for not capitalising on their dominance. They scored again against the run of play in the 81st minute and this time it was substitute Nathan Wood who also scored a contender for goal of the season as he drove in from the left and smashed it from 25 yards out into the top corner.
In the last five minutes Bedfont went down to ten men as Max Oldham gave away a very silly shirt tug on Bayley Brown. He was already on a yellow so this was a very stupid decision and he let himself down as he actually had a really good game but left the referee with no choice.
The red card had no real effect on the final minutes of the game, and it was the visitors who scored again before the final whistle, Brian Testolin coming off the bench to score against his former club.
Overall, it was a very important three points picked up for Bedfont away from home and they punished Northwood for not capitalising on their dominance. On paper it looked like a bad result for Northwood but there’s a lot of promising signs for the new manager and they can take the positives into the remainder of the season.
Highlights of game can be found here.
Northwood FC: Chris Rackley, Charlie Kuehn, Ryan Phillips, Bayley Brown, Craig Carby, Dominic Rhone, Marcelo Graca, Charlie Hayford © (Festus Lori, 75 mins), Romario Hart, Lucas Toti, Eric Lopes.
Subs not used: Jaden Sharman, Aeez Alabi, Charlie Malin, Samuel Adetiba.
Bedfont Sports: Dimitrios Kyriatzis, Ed Cook , Mekhail McLaughlin (Brandon Kalu, 63 mins), Michael Kinsella, Joe Jackson ©, Ezekiel Bademosi, Ricky Wellard, Veron Kokurinkov (Brian Testolin, 77 mins), Andy Ali (Nathan Wood, 64 mins), Darryl Sanders, Maxwell Oldham.
Subs not used: Jayden Clarke, Paul Johnson.