Saturday 07 March 2020 | AcreTweed Northwood Park

BetVictor Isthmian League | South Central Division

It was a tale of two halves for the Tangerines away at fellow strugglers Northwood on Saturday.

Billed as a six-pointer by many, Ashford started the stronger from the kick-off. Looking to pile on the pressure and attack they enjoyed a lot of time in the Northwood half and had a god few corners and chances in the opening fifteen minutes. Aaron Petch enjoyed a lot of room and opportunity, especially with the set pieces. His cross come shot on 5 minutes went just over after an initial corner, and was followed by another chance when his shot in from the left forced a good save by the keeper. Ashford came close again on 13 minutes when another cross in from Petch was headed down at the far post but blocked in the six yard box. A further corner curled in from the left by Hafid Bounyafe also caused concern for the home side a minute later. Ashford were getting closer to that breakthrough.

In between the set pieces and attacking breaks, Northwood fashioned their first opportunity, getting clear in on goal with just Rylan Myers the last defender. Thankfully he blocked to keep the hosts out this time. On 22 minutes the Tangerines broke again with Mario Embalo jinking his way through on goal but his shot flashed across finishing wide of the post. Northwood continued to weather the early pressure always looking to patiently knock the ball around trying to find a way through the Ashford defence. Their best chance came just before the half hour mark when a good move saw the ball crossed from the right to the far post, but the chance was hot back across goal and wide of the opposite post for a goal-kick. Both sides were looking to break whenever possible as the half wore on. The home side were forced in to an early substitution in the 38th minute when Radu Stefanoaica was forced off through injury, Eric Lopes the man on to replace him.

The visitors continued to cause problems for Northwood from corners, and were rewarded from another deep in injury half. Max Webb rising at the far post on 48 minutes from another Aaron Petch in-swinger to give Ashford the lead right before the half-time whistle. Always a great time to score!

As the second half kicked off the Tangerines were forced in to their own early change as Sam Humphreys replaced Dan Brown, who looked to have been struggling during the latter part if the first-half. A change in personnel meant a change in system as well for Ashford which switched the momentum back to Northwood as they settled in to the restart better. However, it was the travelling Tangerines that came closest to scoring on 55 minutes when Mario Embalo did well to clip the ball over the advancing keeper at the near post, only for the ball to spin and clip the outside of the post. The hosts made their second change on 60 minutes, Ahmed Elsahib coming on as they looked to add more attacking options. They were rewarded 3 minutes later when Elsahib got on the end of a good move to draw them level with pretty much his first touch.

Ashford were then forced in to another change on 69 minutes. Will Boye seriously struggling after what appeared to be a clash of heads, or certainly a blow to the head. After the restart it was Northwood who pressed on after gaining good momentum from their first goal. The comeback was completed in the 72nd minute when Jaden Sharman connected on the overlap to shoot low and make it 2-1. Kelvin Adkei came on for Ashford a short while later as they looked to add more attacking power, and he had a good chance on 77 minutes as he got in on goal but the final shot was straight at the keeper. The final stages saw both goalkeepers called in to action. First Hafid Bounyafe saw his low effort saved well, and then Aaron Bufton made a point blank reaction save to keep Northwood out.

The final few moments were played out with both sides coming close to scoring, whilst on the touchline paramedics arrived as Will Boye lost consciousness in the dugout following his head injury. Northwood unltimately took the win, and the vital 3 points, but the game lost its significance against what was going on as both teams left the pitch. Thankfully Will was all ok after being taken to hospital and treated there during the evening. As stated at the time, we would like to just say another massive thank you to everyone at Northwood for all their help and support at the end of the game.

Thankfully other results at the weekend went our way to keep it almost as it was at the bottom of the table. The Tangerines now have to regroup and look to get back on track Tuesday night at the rearranged away trip to Chipstead.

Ashford Lineup:

  1. Aaron Bufton
  2. Rylan Myers
  3. Will Boye
  4. Tommy Brunton
  5. Samad Kazi
  6. Darryl Harrison
  7. Hafid Bounyafe
  8. Max Webb (C)
  9. Dan Brown
  10. Mario Embalo
  11. Aaron Petch

Substitutes: 12. Sam Humphreys, 14. Elijah Ogunseye, 15. Joe Green, 16. Joe Noakes, 17. Kelvin Adjei

NEXT GAME: Chipstead (AWAY) | Tuesday 10 March 2020 | BetVictor Isthmian League – match info here