Northwood were one of the 6 Middlesex FA member clubs playing in the Second Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday last 9th October. They were entertaining Sussex club Haywards Heath, who are currently sitting unbeaten at the top of the Isthmian League South East Division table. County photographer Chris Benn went along to capture the action.
The Woods gained a deserved victory by winning the penalty shoot-out, following a hard-fought goalless draw. The visitors had the most possession but a solid defensive performance by the home side prevented them from capitalising on this. Goalkeeper, Dan Purdue was particularly impressive, making an outstanding save early on to set the tone for a faultless performance.
Dan Purdue punches a corner away
Haywards Heath Town attacked from the start and soon the Woods’ keeper made a great flying save from Kieran Rowe’s close-range effort which looked a certain scorer.
Purdue takes another high ball
The Woods survived the initial onslaught and got more into the game. Declan Nche was just wide with a fierce drive.
Town again exerted pressure and Tom Gilbert headed over from a well taken Kieran Rowe free kick. Then Dan Purdue saved well low down from Luke Robinson. A series of Town corners followed, enabling Purdue to demonstrate his clean handling and punching abilities.
Dadigildo Crayid’s shot flew across the face of the Woods’ goal without anybody getting a touch.
The Woods mounted some promising attacks as the first half progressed but were unable to breach the visitors’ defence. They had a rare clear chance after 35 minutes. Striker Ismael Ehui, after striving hard for an opening, suddenly received the ball close to goal from a rebound. Unfortunately, his hurried shot was wide.
Score at half time: Northwood 0 Haywards Heath Town 0
Tom Cadman hits Northwood's crossbar
Haywards Heath maintained their pressure and Luke Robinson’s close-range shot was deflected over the bar by a lunging but timely defender’s foot. Then, some intricate approach play between Robinson and Tom Cadman ended with the latter hitting the home crossbar.
Billy Collins saves from Ismael Ehui
The Woods’ midfielder, Declan Nche made a good run to set up Ismael Ehui, whose rather weak shot from around 15 yards was straight at the keeper. At the other end, Luke Robinson cleverly worked himself into a shooting position but he was off balance as he hit his shot which was off target.
Northwood’s Shakeel Morris shot hard across goal but his effort avoided several sets of legs before missing the far post. Ismael Ehui headed Leo Decabo’s free kick wide but was subsequently adjudged to be offside anyway.
Dan Purdue saves from Luke Robinson
The introduction of Town substitute, Jordan Clarke with 20 minutes remaining, gave the Woods defence some additional problems but they successful held on for a clean sheet. The nearest that Town came to scoring were when Dan Purdue made an excellent close range save from a Luke Robinson header and when a piledriver from Jody Ndozid flew just wide.
In the 90th minute, with the penalty shoot-out looming, Woods manager, Ben Murray brought on substitute, Matteo Esposito.
Score after 90 minutes: Northwood 0 Haywards Heath Town 0
Matteo took the first penalty for Northwood and scored but Town’s first taker was Jensen Dos-Santos, who shot wide.
Haywards Heath Town's first penalty goes wide
The second pair of penalty takers, Leo Decabo (Northwood) and Kieran Rowe (Town) and the third pair, Declan Nche (Northwood) and Jordan Clarke (Town) were successful.
Then Billy Collins saved Northwood’s 4th kick, taken by Adam Cash and Luke Robinson scored for Town to bring the score level at 3-3.
Dan Purdue saves Haywards Heath Town's fifth penalty to win the tie...
Woods’ Shakeel Morris converted the first kick of the 5th pair. Then Dan Purdue’s diving save from Tom Cadman’s kick won the tie for his team.
...and receives congratulations
Penalty shoot-out score: Northwood 4 Haywards Heath Town 3
Northwood: Dan Purdue, Adam Cash (capt), Pablo Velasco, Declan Nche, Arnie Linturn, Ryan Avery, Shakeel Morris, Matt Ayres (Matteo Esposito 90 mins), Ismael Ehui (Imani Matthews 75 mins), Leo Decabo and Giovanni Palmer (Sam Coles 68 mins).
Unused substitutes: Matt Surmon, William Dupray, Aaron Petch and Montel Joseph (GK)
Manager: Ben Murray.
Haywards Heath Town: Billy Collings, Hamish Morrison, Tom Cadman, Byron Napper (capt), Tom Gilbert, Nathan Cooper, Josh Clack (Jordan Clarke 70 mins), Jody Ndozid, Dadigildo Crayid (Jensen Dos-Santos 63 mins), Kieran Rowe and Luke Robinson.
Unused substitutes: Sam Remfrey, Sinn Christie and Tom Summerfield.
Manager: Shaun Saunders.
Referee: Tim Godfray Assistant Referees: Chris Wade and Bartosz Chmielecki.
Four of the other Middlesex clubs playing in this round yesterday were successful.
Hanwell Town won 4-1 away to Hullbridge Sports, through goals from Rush (2), Obi and Matthews.
Goals from Pitt, Amissah and Torbett enabled Staines Town to beat Three Bridges 3-1 at Wheatsheaf Lane.
Bedfont Sports overturned an early Romford goal at Bedfont Rec, with three of their own, scored by Andre, Sanders and Postance.
Uxbridge were 2-1 winners at Aveley with Mendy and Martin the goalscorers.
Unfortunately, we have to offer our condolences to Ashford Town (Middlesex), who lost 0-3 at Welwyn Garden City.
As ever we thank our photographer, Chris Benn who has been busy snapping away to capture all the key moments of the match.
Photos available courtesy of Chris Benn