F.A. Challenge Cup (Sponsored by E.on) – Second Qualifying Round

Bedford Town – 0
Boreham Wood – 2

by John Mead

A comfortable victory thanks to two goals at the end of the first half granted Wood its first win of the Season at The Eyrie.

It was a game that Wood dominated for large periods after working patiently to break down a packed Town defence in the opening half hour. Thereafter a strong looking Wood side took the upper hand and the game was over by half time, given the dominance of Ian Allinson’s side after the break.

More importantly the confidence gained by winning for the first time this Season, coupled with a very strong and tight team performance, are factors that possibly make the prize money a mere bonus.

This was a new look Wood and Allinson’s team selection proved spot on. The excellent David King proved his versatility in playing a more forward role linking up well in attack, whilst Justin Cochrane’s pedigree having spent three Seasons playing professional football was evident with a silky effortless performance in the centre of the park. The defence was again on top form and Lee Kersey proved his worth in both boxes executing some timely challenges before opening the scoring after 42 minutes. Joe Benjamin played his part with some darting runs and efforts on goal, with Elliott Godfrey unlucky not to open the scoring, denied only by a top class save from Ian Brown.

The Eagles protected their goal to good effect stifling Wood who played at a much slower tempo than of late, in doing so creating some defined possession play. Having conceded just seven goals in ten games The Eagles commanded respect from their higher League visitors. Godfrey headed just wide after Benjamin set up the Canadian with a fine curling cross from the left. He went closer after eleven minutes when Cochrane found the attacking midfielder who turned to hit a brilliant curling effort from the edge of the area bound for the top corner which needed the save of the match from Brown to keep Wood at bay.

Craig Rydeheard recorded a shot on target after twenty-three minutes but it failed to trouble Ashlee Jones, before a superb move involving Luke Garrard, King and Godfrey ended with a weak effort from Garrard as Wood began to find the way into the Town penalty area. Mario Noto’s corner found Kersey whose initial effort struck Godfrey, yet Town failed to completely clear the danger. Daniel Brathwaite lofted a cross from the left which Kersey met superbly rising over a defender to send a looping header beyond the reach of Brown.

The goal was on the cards and just four minutes later the advantage was doubled. Noto drove forward through the middle and his slide rule pass allowed Leon McKenzie to glide in between two defenders coolly striking home across Brown just before the interval. The lead never looked like being eroded in the second half and Benjamin almost added a third when he went the wrong side of a defender cutting in from the right to unleash a fine drive to the near post which Brown again did well to keep out. Garrard again failed to find his shooting boots when King played him clean through, before Jones was forced to tip a left sided corner over the bar at the other end.

Benjamin hit the crossbar in the dying moments after Lee Allinson’s ball across goal was turned back by McKenzie. The performance left Ian Allinson in a reflective mood. “This showed just how tough life in The Blue Square Bet South is. We have not had a game like this so far where we have been allowed to dominate for periods. We did a job today and will take comfort from the confidence that winning brings.”

On his new look Squad he added, “In David King and Joe Benjamin we have two players under 21 who bring a strength and energy to the side without compromising the overall age group. Justin Cochrane showed today he has an invaluable experience that we can benefit from.”

Team: Jones, Garrard, Brathwaite, Moran, Kersey, Noto, Cochrane, Godfrey (Sub – Allinson 69 mins.), McKenzie, King (Sub – Morgan 79 mins.), Benjamin.

Subs (Not used): Seanla, Dadson, Kirby, Scott-Morris, Baker-Owers.

Goals: Boreham Wood: Kersey 42, McKenzie 45+1.

Man of the Match: Lee Kersey.