APPROACHING the end of the first half, Ventnor were cruising ­— two goals to the good inside 25 minutes.

Harry MULHOLLAND buried the first on the ten minute mark, and Martyn BARROW took the second well 15 minutes later to give his team a comfortable lead.

Northwood struggled to get a foothold in the game, but fortunes changed on the 34 minute mark, when Ventnor captain, Simon Crates, was booked for decent and sin binned.

Northwood capitalised on the numerical advantage, hitting two quickfire goals inside ten minutes to go into the break level, with Ventnor crumbling in their captain’s absence.

Toby COUSINS buried the first, and Nicky VYSE scored the second.

Ventnor started well after the break with some expansive play down the wings, but Northwood settled and looked dangerous on the counter.

On 50 minutes, Northwood went ahead, with VYSE scoring his second of the afternoon ­— tapping the ball into the empty net from close range, latching onto a low drive into the box from out wide.

Ventnor responded well, and missed a glorious chance on 52 minutes.

Captain Crates played a sumptuous ball over the Northwood defence, playing in Barrow who dragged his shot narrowly wide.

The game opened up, with Crates running the show for Ventnor ­­— routinely finding a forward with lofted balls and driven passes ­— but his team couldn’t find the rhythm.

Northwood defended well, and played a good counter-attacking game, with Ventnor goalkeeper Matt Gifford called into action and sweeping clear on a number of occasions.

Nicky Vyse looked dangerous on the wing for Northwood, and substitute Luke Flux was full of energy.

Ventnor fashioned a couple of half chances, playing predominantly in the Northwood half, but lacked the cutting edge necessary to pull level.

Late into the second half, frustrations spilled over, with Ventnor’s Crates dismissed for a petulant late challenge on his opposing number.

Northwood’s Cousins missed a glorious chance to put the game to bed and get a brace soon after, skying his shot over the crossbar from close range.

Northwood controlled the remainder of the game, notwithstanding the blunder, to emerge victorious.

Northwood return to Ventnor next week for Island League action.

“We know what to expect,” said Northwood captain, Joe Tigwell.

“If we play as well as we did second half, we’ll take all three points.”

“I think the ref was poor for both teams,” said Ventnor player-manager, Liam Mulholland.

“The sin bin killed it for us today.”

Ventnor: Gifford, S.Mulholland, Squires, Cuthbert, Crates (capt), Groundsel, H.Mulholland, L.Mulholland, Turner, Brown, Barrow. Subs: Croad.

Northwood: Read, J.Butt, C.Butt, Hibberd, J.Flux, Tigwell (capt), Dumbrell, Vyse, Malcolmson, Lambert, Cousins. Subs: Collins, L.Flux, Cook.