Player Ratings: Northwood FC 2-1 Ashford Town – Super-sub Ahmed Elsahib proves decisive in vital comeback for the Woods.

Massive celebrations as Northwood grab the winner against Ashford Town.

On the 7th March 2020 Northwood FC hosted Ashford Town in a bottom of the table battle in the BetVictor Isthmian South Central Division. Before the game the two teams sat down the bottom of the league with Northwood 1 place off bottom and Ashford 17th but this didn’t reflect the quality or desire shown on the day.

On a cloudy but warm spring day at the AcreTweed Stadium, it was a tale of two halves as Ashford took the lead on the brink of halftime but Northwood responded late in the second half with two goals in quick concession to snatch all three points from the grasp of Ashford.  Both teams showed quality, fight and passion but it was Northwood who came out on top who continued to play their football and capitalised when Ashford were caught napping.

Northwood FC:

Tyla Dickinson (7): Really good debut from the youngster who commanded his area, organised the back line and distributed calmly. Made some unreal saves and was always quick off his line to supress any danger.

Luke Jones (5.5): Was calm plus composed on the ball and tried to get forward to aid the attack as much as possible, especially in the second half. When out of possession he tracked runners well and made some good tackles.

Jaden Sharman (7):  Very inspiring performance from the youngster who got the nod on the day. Was always eager to go forward and did well in possession trying to create something with crosses into the box, a few shots and runs out wide. He was involved in both goals, one he scored and the other he put a great ball in the box which eventually fell to Elsahib who tucked it away. He also was very good off the ball, positionally aware and knew when to go forward.

Haluna Masembe (5): Nothing amazing from him and he did the basics well. Lost his man on the corner which resulted in a goal but other than that he worked hard throughout and made some vital challenges.

Craig Carby (6): Strong at the back and organised the line well. He was also a threat down the other end off set-pieces where he won quite a few of the aerials but to no avail.

Dave Thomas (6.5): Solid performance from the skipper who worked tirelessly from start to finish to drag his team over the line. He distributed the ball well and kept things ticking over for the Woods as well as doing the dirty work when needed to.

Radu Stefanoiaca (6): He was beginning to make an impression on the left flank with a couple of useful runs plus crosses but sadly had to come off in the 38th minutes as he was unable to continue due to a knock to his ankle which he couldn’t recover from.

Marcelo Graca (6.5): Very composed player who loves the ball at his feet. He always got into little pockets to pick the ball up and made some great passes as well as some tidy linkup play. Also did his fair share of defensive duties and worked hard throughout.

A picture of Marcelo Graca making a pass for Northwood.

Romario Hart (6): Didn’t have many chances or much of the ball but when he got it he didn’t disappoint as he brought other players into the game and made some great supporting runs. He could’ve scored if Lopes passed to him on two occasions and he got involved in a needless confrontation with Joe Noakes on the fulltime whistle which he got cautioned for.

Lucas Toti (6): He was positive going forward and put some threatening crosses into the box. He could’ve been more decisive in attacking phases but was decent defensively, despite a few errors and worked hard from start to finish. He also played a key part in the first goal linking up with Hart and Jones.

Mihai-Andrei Chiriac (6.5): Promising signs from the youngster who got in between the lines well and looked really confident when in possession of the ball. Decision making could’ve been better but overall played his part working hard and digging in.

Substitutes:

Eric Lopes (7): He was impactful when he came on and took players on with pace and directness. Sometimes he was a little too greedy and should’ve passed as other players were in better shooting positions but got involved in both the build up play for the goals and worked hard.

A picture of Eric Lopes running down the wing for Northwood.

Ahmed Elsihab (8) MOTM: Injected an attacking breath of fresh air when he came on and turned the tide of the fixture. He was an immediate impact as he scored three minutes after being introduced and then nine minutes later set up Sharman for the winner. Flawless attacking performance from Elsihab who also contributed defensively to see his team over the line.

Ryan Phillips (6): Came on as a defensive substitution to shore things up at the back and allow the Woods to hold onto the precious lead they had. Won second balls and cleaned up at the back, keeping things rock solid in order to prevent an equaliser.

Ashford Town:

Aaron Bufton (5.5): He made some very good saves including one from point blank range which definitely saved them from going further behind and he commanded his box confidently. His biggest downfall was his distribution as it didn’t allow the team to utilise a passing goalkeeper to relieve some pressure and he tended to lump it down the field.

Rylan Myers (5): Worked hard throughout and defended fairly well down his side. Could’ve also tried to play more instead of lumping it up the field expecting the strikers to create something from it all the time. Overall, not the best performance but not the worst in the team today.

William Boye (5): Decent when out of possession and defended his flank well but sometimes was caught too far forward allowing the Northwood to break away. Unfortunate his game ended with a serious concussion forcing him to come off but luckily all was ok in the end.

Tommy Brunton (5.5): He organised well, played nicely with the ball and worked tremendously hard at the back but didn’t react to the danger in the box on the first goal which could’ve been prevented.

Samad Kazi (4.5): Wasn’t as good as his partner and was at fault for the second goal as he didn’t pick up the run from Sharman to stop him from scoring. Made a few good challenges but he was caught napping which resulted in the team conceding.

Darryl Harrison (5): Bit of a passenger and didn’t do anything to really get noticed. Worked tirelessly as but couldn’t get a hold on the game and influence the flow.

A picture of Darryl Harrison battling for Ashford Town in midfield.

Hafid Bounyafe (6.5): Energetic performance from the midfielder who was full of ideas. He played well in possession finding a nice flow to his game by keeping the ball moving and getting it into areas to cause problems. Also had some threatening shots coming close on occasions, especially when he rattled the woodwork near the end.

Max Webb (6.5): Well-rounded performance from the skipper who did his fair share of attacking and defensive duties. He got into good scoring positions throughout and managed to put Ashford ahead just before half time. He also was good at transitioningdefence to attack allowing Ashford to break away multiple times.

Daniel Brown (4.5): Pretty average game, nothing spectacular and didn’t really get involved. He tracked back and ran hard but didn’t influence the game at all.

Mario Embalo (5.5): Had chances to finish the game off but was denied from some very good saves. He held the ball up well and utilised his pace to get in behind to cause problems but it was to no prevail. 

Aaron Petch (6): Dangerous off set-pieces and delivered deadly balls including one Webb scored off. He controlled the ball well and ran at players to create space for the crosses but his efforts didn’t always come off.

Substitutes:

A picture of Ashford Town defending a free-kick against Ashford Town.

Sam Humphreys (4): Came on for Brown but couldn’t really impact the flow of the game. Also had some wild shots which didn’t help and overall was ineffective.

Joe Noakes (5): Brought some energy into the game and caused a few issues for Northwood but fizzled out quickly. He also got involved in a palaver with Hart at the end of the game and got cautioned for his part to play.

Kelvin Adjei (3.5): He was also ineffective as he made a lot of errors and loose touches and didn’t really help the team push on in any way, shape or form.

Highlights of the game can be found here,

-Dan Davies

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