Blue Square Bet South

Boreham Wood – 2
Dover Athletic – 3

by John Mead

Two stunning individual goals from Sam Hurrell were answered by two exceptional volleys from the visitors’ Harry Baker, before a freak goal undid Wood’s best performance of the campaign so far against high flying Dover Athletic.

Three more Wood First Team debuts came in the shape of twenty-nine year old Gareth Risbridger, a midfielder joining from Staines Town, eighteen year old Loanee and central defender Luke Wilkinson, currently working for John Still at Dagenham & Redbridge and wide man Danny Charge who came off the bench last week.

Pound for pound Risbridger, a long term target for Ian Allinson has hugely increased Wood’s chances of survival with a superb dogged and stylish performance in the middle of the park. Wood deserved something from this game and left Dover Athletic battling all the way.

Luke I’Anson sent an early left sided cross for The Whites into danger that squirmed through a sea of players running just wide of the far post. Wood forced a corner through Sam Hurrell and Elliott Godfrey’s cross was missed by Ryan Moran when well placed.

Baker hit a free kick that took a deflection off the wall forcing Jones into a one handed save as the visitors looked the sharper outfit in the early stages. They continued to press from the resultant corner and Baker thought he had scored when he shot through a packed defence. Hurrell was on hand to clear, with the travelling support convinced the ball had crossed the line.

Wood played some fine passing football and took the lead through a piece of individual brilliance. Daniel Brathwaite, who was outstanding against his old Club slid in to cut out a cross field ball on the half way line. The loose ball was picked up by Hurrell on the left wing and he ran fifty yards passing three defenders with the ball glued to his feet, twisting and turning into the penalty area at breathtaking pace before clipping the ball beyond Ross Flitney in the Dover Athletic goal.

Wood were dominant at this stage but the visitors equalised after 38 minutes. A cross from the left was helped across the penalty area by Wilkinson, falling for Baker, who quite brilliantly killed the ball before hitting an unstoppable half volley into the top right hand corner of the net. Flitney was the busier of the two ‘keepers before the interval, saving from Hurrell and Risbridger, before Jones was forced to tip over Adam Birchall’s header after the break.

Hurrell’s goal of the Season accolade lasted just twenty-six minutes. He produced something even more magical when picking up a pass just inside the Dover half he drove at incredible pace past Aisien and I’Anson into the penalty area before executing a superb finish wide of Flitney, to put Wood back in front.

Minutes later and the sublime Hurrell rounded the hapless Aisien then Joe Tabiri, threading a beautiful pass through to Ali Chaaban who finished wide of Flitney, only to be undone by a very late flag. This was the turning point of a superb game, with the standard of football improving with time. Ollie Schulz saw his power header from a corner cleared off the line by Mario Noto, for a second corner. Wood cleared as far as Baker on the edge of the area who for the second time in the game produced a brilliant volley that looped into the net through a packed penalty area.

Two minutes later and Jones dallied on a back pass. With Norville closing down he smashed a clearance against the centre forward which looped back into the net, making it 2 – 3. Wood almost responded immediately when Wilkinson just missed poking home Moran’s downward header from a Noto corner. Noto and Godfrey, along with Substitute David King fought tooth and nail for an equaliser with Noto going close with a long range trademark effort. Baker looked for his hat-trick with a low drive from the left that forced a diving save from Jones after Chaaban and Brathwaite made way for Joe Benjamin and Michael Kamara. The Substitutions clearly worked in the opposition’s favour with neither player imposing themselves.

Twice Dover Substitute Ben Hunt netted from an offside position, on the first occasion wasting a fine opportunity when the Whites counter attacked with four players against one. Disappointed Wood Manager Ian Allinson declared “Ali was onside for the disallowed goal, which would have put us three one ahead then they go down the other end and score with another class volley. The winner came off the raised hand of Jason Norville. I questioned the decision to let the goal stand with the Referee after the game and he said that he relied on his Assistant’s decision who was just yards from the offence. Penalties are given for such actions at the other end of the park. That said the game was a great advert for the League and we are not far away from the required standard now.”

Team: Jones, Garrard, Brathwaite (Sub – Kamara 79 mins.), Moran, Wilkinson, Noto, Charge (Sub – King 68 mins.), Godfrey, Chaaban (Sub – Benjamin 79 mins.), Risbridger, Hurrell.

Subs (Not used): Kersey, Lewis.

Goals: Boreham Wood: Hurrell 26,52. Dover Athletic: Baker 38, 62. Norville 65

Man of the Match: Sam Hurrell.