Blue Square Bet South

Boreham Wood – 2
Bromley – 4

by John Mead

A captivating evening’s entertainment involving freak weather, set piece stage fright, two completely different formations from Wood and a second half fight back left the crowd of 200 satiated in entertainment.

Had Wood have been more adept in front of goal they themselves could have cosseted a three goal lead at half time, instead that luxury went to the Kent visitors who were ruthless in converting everything that came their way. This was a new look Wood playing a 3 – 5 – 2 formation in the opening forty five minutes. The four goals conceded before half time in no way reflected the decision to rely on three centre backs, given that all four came from dead ball situations.

There was goalmouth action a plenty with Wood mustering more shots on target than in their last six or seven competitive matches put together. Yet Bromley, a side established at this level oozed quality in every department and rightly fancy their chances of a Play-off spot come April. Lee Allinson recorded the first shot on target before Sherwin Stanley continued Wood’s positive start jinking into the box before squaring for Stuart Blackburne whose on target effort was deflected behind for a corner. Allinson whipped over the cross for Luke Garrard who lent back before striking to see his shot sail over the bar after just six minutes.

Bromley hit back on the counter when James Hawes took the sting out of an effort from Ryan Dolby that needed a brave save from Gareth Williams to deny the visitors. Elliott Godfrey created a chance out on the right for Hawes, a player whom under the old formation would have never seen the inside of the opponents penalty area. He too fired just over.

Bromley opened the scoring after 18 minutes. Bradley Fraser gave away a free kick cheaply forty yards from goal out on the left. The excellent Tony Finn whipped in a low curling cross of the highest quality that Williams failed to decisively deal with, giving Jerrome Sobers the opportunity to dive in and head home at the near post. Immediately rampant Wood responded. Garrard and Blackburne combined setting up Godfrey who was inches away from an equaliser with his fierce rising drive.

A strange decision by Referee Mr. Neil to award Bromley a free kick deep in their own half led to a second goal after 24 minutes. This time ‘keeper Jamie Butler launched a high ball forward. Paul Vines out jumped Ryan Moran to flick on for Nic McDonnell who coolly slotted home under the unguarded Williams.

Godfrey then shot just wide from distance, picking up an injury into the bargain from a late challenge. Mario Noto took full advantage of the free kick crashing home an unreachable effort beyond Butler from twenty five yards out to put Wood back into the game. Then followed a passage of play to forget for the ex-Bromley ‘keeper Williams. He was beaten directly from a free kick delivered low and at pace from fully forty yards out on the left by Finn after 34 minutes, then again six minutes later from an identical shot, this time out on the left from Ryan Dolby.

At this stage Wood lost their way and in a period of stoppage time that ran fully three minutes longer than suggested by the Referee himself, Ryan Kirby tugged at the shirt of the marauding Vines which after lengthy debate led to a spot kick. Williams offered some redemption diving low to his left to repel McDonnell’s effort.

The second half began as if it were being played on another continent. An unrelenting monsoon downpour started on the cue of the Referee’s whistle and somewhere in the reduced visibility and deafening deluge it emerged that Ian Allinson had introduced both Junior Dadson and Greg Morgan on the flanks, reverting to a
4 – 4 – 2 formation. Both players made a massive impact and Wood took the game to Bromley. Dadson fired in shot at the near post on the left which was somehow cleared off the line by John Scarborough. Noto then hit a forty yard screamer that skimmed past the post. Bromley offered a brief respite when Harrison Dunk hit the side netting before Wood deservedly made it 2 – 4. Garrard, Allinson and Stanley played a neat triangle that released Dadson down the left. Fleet footed and skilful he lost his marker before issuing an inch perfect ball into the path of Morgan who kept his nerve to leave Butler no chance with his precision finish from just inside the area.

Hawes then set up Blackburne whose low shot was saved, before a brilliant run down the wing from Morgan took him past three defenders to pick out Stanley who drew a further save from Butler. It was all Wood at this stage with the pitch somehow managing to soak up the incredible downpour. Noto then cut inside with the ball glued to his feet and without looking up hit a memorable curling effort that Butler got a fingertip to.

Wood continued to pressurize with Allinson’s corner knocked down by Garrard into the path of Blackburne who from eight yards would have found it easier to hit the target, only to fire over thus ending Wood’s dream of a comeback with just five minutes remaining. This was confirmed when a minute later Noto slid in on a challenge on what was now a paddling pool surface to earn his second yellow card an an early chance to dry out. Williams then denied Warren McBean a late fifth stopping an effort on what was a simply breathtaking evening at Meadow Park, with both sets of players applauded off the pitch.

Team: Williams, Garrard, Hawes, Kirby (Sub – Dadson 45 mins.), Fraser, Moran, Noto, Godfrey (Sub – Morgan 45 mins.), Blackburne, Allinson (Sub – Hunter 85 mins.), Stanley.

Subs (Not used): Lawal, Lewis.

Bookings: Noto 45, 86 (sent off), Kirby 45. Goals: Boreham Wood: Noto 30, Morgan 54.

Bromley: Sobers 18, McDonnell 24, Finn 34, Dolby 40. Man of the Match: Mario Noto.