Oct 3 2012 By Jon Batham
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
Northwood 1 Chalfont St Peter 3
SCOTT Fitzgerald came back to haunt his old club as Northwood suffered a far from perfect dress rehearsal for their impending FA Cup date with Borehamwood last night.
Back at the ground where he first made his name as a striker Fitzgerald struck twice to lead new club Chalfont St Peter to a comfortable win over Gary Meakins’ side.
Spencer Bellotti provided a rare bright moment for Woods with his fourth goal in two matches with just under a quarter of an hour to go.
However, it was little more than consolation and the hosts will have to play far better if they are to cause a cup upset against Blue Square South opposition on Saturday.
Woods paid the price for not capitalizing on a bright first 15 minutes when they should have taken the lead.
Nine minutes had gone when Saints goalkeeper Michael Power-Simpson punched poorly away following a corner, but just managed to get enough of a hand onto John Christian’s shot from the edge to deflect it to safety.
If Christian was denied on that occasion he was guilty of a glaring miss just two minutes later.
Oliver Hawkin headed a long ball out wide to Adamson Ajayi, but when his cross came in from the right Christian hit the shot wide with the goal gaping – the officials wrongly awarding a corner perhaps in disbelief at the miss.
It was a costly error as the visitors gradually applied a stranglehold on the game they never looked likely to relax.
Daniel Hughes’ shot blocked by keeper James Reading was the first warning sign and Woods were extremely lucky to still be level on 17 minutes as Scott Fitzgerald burst into the box and thundered a right foot shot against the base of the post.
Reading denied Hughes again just beyond the half hour and five minutes before the break the hosts were forced to clear off the line amid a goalmouth scramble following a corner.
It proved merely a reprieve as two minutes later Reece York failed to deal with a long punt forward and Fitzgerald pounced to score from close-range.
Meakin replaced Ryan Phillips with Bellotti at the interval in a bid to turn the tide, but Saints doubled their lead eight minutes after the restart when Woods were penalised for handball and Fitzgerald emphatically despatched the spot-kick.
Barely a minute later came the night’s most controversial incident – one which denied Northwood a possible route back into the match.
A long ball forward had Hawkin bearing down on goal challenged by John Carroll only for Power-Simpson to come charging from his area and clatter the Woods’ front man.
The visiting keeper came off worst and the lengthy treatment earned him the sympathy vote from referee Ben Furneaux who deemed a yellow card and a free-kick sufficient punishment when a red card seemed appropriate.
The set-piece came to nothing and Chalfont soon took control once more.
Reading kept his side in it by tipping over a Gareth Paxton header, but it was all over on 68 when a sweeping counter-attack ended with Hughes sliding in at the far post to make it 3-0 after a superb cross from the excellent Jerome Okimo.
Bellotti, pouncing on a rebound after Power-Simpson could not hold Romaine Walker’s shot from the edge, but Chalfont’s win was never in doubt.