PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2022
UXBRIDGE 1 NORTHWOOD 0 (HT 1-0)
Uxbridge closed the gap on the clubs at the top end of the Pitching In Isthmian League South Central Division with this hard fought victory over local rivals Northwood on Saturday, despite playing the final stages with ten men following the dismissal of Kensley Maloney. The Woods arrived at Honeycroft as league leaders, following a fine start to the campaign, which saw them amass 28 points from their 12 games. Danny Edwards made two changes from the side that had knocked Wingate & Finchley out of the FA Trophy the previous Saturday. Scott Donnelly and Victor Osobu replacing Alex Witham and Gareth Chendlik.
The opening 45 minutes saw both clubs struggle to create many clear-cut openings, with defences holding sway for the majority of the play. Joe Jackson went close on a couple of occasions. Firstly, he guided a shot towards the top corner which Andy McCorkell plucked into his arms and secondly, he tried to force his way through and appeared to be impeded as he did so, but the referee turned a blind eye to the Reds appeals. At the other end former Uxbridge striker Juwon Akintunde was denied at the death by Mark Goodman, who slid into block his goal bound effort after he had won a tussle with Andy O’Brien on the edge of the box. Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away, as passes went astray and although Uxbridge were patient in their build up, they were unable to find that killer pass in the final third. That was the case until the 44th minute when Jackson was rewarded for his endeavours with the only goal of the game. Alan Hedley won the ball in his own half and passed it down the line to Mark Bitmead. “Bits” in turn found Osobu who laid the ball back to Hedley whose first-time pass found Jackson in space on the right-hand side of the box. Jackson took a touch and steadied himself before unleashing a powerful shot past McCorkell. The Woods responded straight from the re-start as Akintunde’s shot was deflected wide by the outstretched leg of O’Brien. Half-Time 1-0.
Northwood started the second period in the ascendancy as they looked to get back on level terms. Maloney blocked Luke Tingey’s effort following a corner and the Reds were struggling to find a way out of their own half as the Woods dominated the opening five minutes. Uxbridge almost doubled their lead in the 51st minute following a flowing move. Bitmead fed a lovely pass to Osobu who skipped past the full-back and cut the ball back to the penalty spot where Donnelly hit a shot that smacked against the post and was cleared. Akintunde was desperate to mark his return to Honeycroft with a goal and Tyler Tobin was perfectly placed to save his shot from the edge of the box in the 55th minute. Although the visitors were spending more and more time in their hosts half the Reds were looking dangerous on the break. Bitmead sent a shot across the face of goal and just wide of the far-post and Donnelly headed the ball to Osobu who forced McCorkell into scrambled saved at his near-post. Maloney received his marching orders in the 78th minute as he went into a full bloodied fifty-fifty challenge with Andy Lomas. Unfortunately, the laws of the game these days deem you are not fully in control if you don’t stay on your feet - despite clearly playing the ball Maloney was shown a straight red. The Reds defence were in fine form and lead by the impressive Babs Jarra they repelled the league leaders attacks in the remainder of the game. Akintunde failed to get enough power into a close-range header and Tobin saved comfortably as the clock ticked towards the 96th minute. Moments later the cheers rang out from the home supporters as the final whistle sounded and the three points were secured.
This was an afternoon that may not have seen the Reds at their free-flowing best but was a solid display against a side that started the afternoon five points clear at the top of the table. With games in hand on a majority of the teams above them in the league, Uxbridge will be looking to climb into the play-off places in the coming weeks and hopefully a challenge for the top spot in the second half of the season. Your support will be crucial as the club seeks to bring Step 3 football to Honeycroft. COYR…