Northwood 3

North Greenford 0

Jerome rederico made a goal-scoring return to Northwood as they won their Boxing Day derby with North Greenford.

The former ‘Wood’ produced a stunning first half strike out of character with the rest of a contest in which the hosts proved more clinical in both boxes than the men of Berkley Fields.

Victory leaves Mark Burgess’ (pictured) men still on the heels of the Southern Central play-off race ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Daventry, while by contrast United remain embroiled in the relegation scrap as they prepare to host another of the title challengers Rugby.

Burgess made four changes to the team which lost 3-2 to Dunstable on Saturday. Federico took up residence on the left wing, Tom Sherman returned to keeper’s duties, while James Duncan slotted in at right-back and Steve Brown’s one match ban meant there was a debut at centre-half for Giles Townsend.

United were ravaged by suspensions and other absentees, meaning five changes from the side beaten at Kettering 12 days previously. Daniel McDonnell got a start against his former club and there were recalls for David Taylor, Danny Bennell, Anton Robinson and Daniel Vincent.

Karl Oliyide fired wide for Woods with just five minutes on the clock, but this chance aside North Greenford began the brighter of the two sides.

Louis Stead twice fired over, while young striker Myles Stephenson beat keeper Sherman with another effort only for a defender to block the shot to safety.

Omar Vassell also shot too high for the visitors and the missed chances would come to haunt them as Federico showed them how it should be done on 16 minutes.

Picking the ball up on the left just inside the North Greenford half, the former Hendon winger drove forward brushing off two challenges and as the rest of the defenders backed off he produced a stunning 25 yard strike which whistled past Lee Pearce and inside the near post.

Leading scorer Nico Muir then tested Pearce with a low drive, before failing to get on the end of an Oliver Sprague free-kick delivery missed by United’s custodian.

North Greenford were enjoying plenty of possession, but the closest they came to levelling was from a Louis Stead free-kick on 34 minutes. The midfielder did well to get the set-piece up and over the wall, but Sherman saved well low down to his right.

It looked an even more important save when the home side doubled their advantage six minutes before the break in controversial fashion.

Oliyide slipped the United cover down the right hand-side before appearing to pass the ball forwards for Muir to tap into an empty net, but despite vehement protests by the visitors for offside against Woods’ leading scorer the goal stood.

James Burgess’ timely intervention prevented Daniel Vincent cutting the deficit to one, while Pearce clung on to an Oliyide volley as the first half came to a close.

United’s experienced keeper was soon in action again after the interval as he parried Federico’s shot to safety before United enjoyed a concerted spell of possession which led to several half chances.

Wayne Jackson fired a 51st minute free-kick into the wall, while Vincent’s shot three minutes later deflected off his own team-mate, though it was already going wide.

Taylor too headed off target with 25 minutes left and with those chances went North Greenford’s hopes of a comeback as despite seeing plenty of the ball, they failed to test Sherman again until deep into stoppage time.

Pearce kept them in it at the other end with an excellent parry to deny Muir his second of the game with 15 minutes to play.

He was however powerless to prevent a killer third five minutes from time which is many ways was a microcosm of the game.

North Greenford forced a corner at one end, but the delivery was poor allowing Woods to launch a counter-attack.

The ball was worked left to Federico whose cross shot was saved by Pearce before substitute George Nicholas’ follow-up was cleared off the line, but it was third time lucky as Oiiyide pounced to drive the ball home and seal the points.