Mann to the rescue!
A dramatic penalty-save from Charlie Mann, in the dying seconds of this game, rescued a well-deserved point for the Blues and brought to an end their disappointing run of five straight defeats.
To have lost this game would have been harsh on the Blues. Their second-half performance was worthy of more than the single goal that they got through Ruben Soares-Junior’s 78th minute header from Macauley Joynes’s corner and only the width of a post denied a second through the identical combination.
The damage to the Blues’ confidence through their recent run of defeats – albeit to strong opposition – was clearly evident in the early exchanges but, despite this, the goal they conceded to give Northwood a 14th minute lead came a little ‘out of the blue’. A long ball down the left found their wide man in space; he cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that Charlie Mann could only parry into the path of Andrew Ofosu, who followed up and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
The Blues battled back gamely and were denied an equaliser when Ben Ward-Cochrane’s header in the 21st minute was cleared of the line amid confident claims that the ball had, in fact, crossed the line.
Six minutes later Elliott Bailey almost got himself on the score-sheet when he almost got onto the end of a Ben Ward-Cochrane ball across the face of the goal and, a similar time after that, debutant Louis Bowen had a goalbound drive deflected narrowly wide with what some thought had been an arm!
With the slope in their favour, the Blues were much the stronger team in the second half with the hosts often looking dangerous on the break. Ruben Soares-Junior was causing the home side a lot of problems with his pace and sharpness down their left and it was he who looked most threatening for the Blues. He had a good effort blocked in the 73rd minute and saw his follow-up shot agonisingly deflected onto the bar.
He wasn’t to be denied for long, though, and only five minutes later his surging run and jump saw him power a header into the net from Macauly Joynes’s corner, to claim a deserved equaliser for the Blues. And, with three minutes of normal time remaining, he very nearly repeated the feat in identical circumstances only that this time the ball came back off a post.
With the Blues pressing forward in search of a winner, they were leaving holes at the back and with three minutes of added time having been played Charlie Mann was adjudged to have fouled a breakaway forward in the box and a penalty was duly awarded. What would have been a devastating defeat for the Blues was, however, dramatically avoided when Charlie made a save with his legs when the ball was driven down the middle of the goal and a point apiece was the - probably fair - outcome.
Team:, Charlie Mann, Joe Clemo, Macauley Joynes, Jordan Lawal, Louis Bowen, Ollie Sharman, Ruben Suarez-Junior, Charlie Edwards, Ben Ward-Cochrane, Elliott Bailey and George Lutaaya.
Subs not used: Ben Crilley, Brian Simpson, Ahmed Mohammed, Alex Washbourne and Mark Twumasi.