Blue Square Bet South

Boreham Wood    1    Woking    2

by John Mead

A gutsy Wood display was not enough to thwart runaway League leaders Woking from maintaining their eleven point cushion at the top of the table.    In truth, Woking were by far the more dangerous outfit going forward, yet Wood were never out of the game, giving Garry
Hill’s men a stern test on the afternoon.

With Daryl McMahon’s midweek departure to Eastleigh there was a berth for young Charlie Hunter to fill in the centre of the park and the eighteen year old enjoyed possibly his best performance for the senior side to date.    There was no place in the starting line-up for Luke Wilkinson who may have played his last game for Ian Allinson with his Loan spell now over.    His replacement on the day Omar Beckles did not disappoint alongside the ever reliable Charlie O’Loughlin in the centre of defence.

Mario Noto created the first test for a goalkeeper on the afternoon as The Cards gave away numerous free kicks in danger areas.    His curling effort on the left from twenty yards out was destined for the top right hand corner, tipped magnificently over the bar by Aaron Howe after twelve minutes.    The resultant corner played short by Hunter allowed the free Noto a first time effort which went just wide.    Billy Lobjoit who was a real threat on occasions for Wood then shot just wide before the visitors threatened with Elvis Hammond finding space to turn and shoot only for the resolute Wood defence to block.

There was a call for a penalty when David Bryant went over Alan Inns’ leg, but Referee Mr. Coggins waved play on.    Mike Cestor, the second ex-Wood player on show, then almost got lucky with an over hit cross from the left which had the beating of Michael Jordan before hitting the underside of the bar.

A moment of hesitancy by Jordan led to The Cards opener after twenty-three minutes, allowing Elvis Hammond to take a touch around the ‘keeper before stroking home into an empty net.    Wood however never gave the League leaders a chance to build upon their lead and an even contest ensued.    Cestor ran past four Wood players finding Hammond who scuffed his shot.    Beckles then made a superb challenge to deny the goal scorer further plaudits.

Woking came out after the interval in commanding form and mounted a period of extreme pressure on the Wood defence.   Moses Ademola should have done better hitting a loose ball out of the ground, before Jordan’s spill fell kindly for Wayne Gray who again frustrated the large visiting support with another errant shot.    The antidote to the pressure was delivered when Wood stunned The Cards with a quite brilliant equaliser after fifty-five minutes.    Hunter picked up play playing a short ball for Bryant.    His threaded pass down the right was perfect for Lobjoit who showed pace in bursting past a defender before delivering a superb cross along the touch line at pace.    It was perfect for Noto who arrived at the far post to fire home.

Keiran Murtagh tried his luck from distance for the visitors before Referee Mr. Coggins made a poor decision after Noto’s brilliant tackle was handled by the falling Woking player.    The free kick went to the visitors which Murtagh delivered into danger finding Joe McNerney
whose shot cannoned back across the goal mouth via a post.    O’Loughlin then caused concern in The Cards defence with his looping header just cleared behind by Jack King.    However the sucker punch came after eighty-four minutes when Substitute Luke Medley got in behind the defence on the left cutting a fine ball across goal which Moses Ademola reacted to quickest firing home beyond the reach of Jordan, leaving the visitors to see out proceedings to claim the slightest of victories.

For Wood boss Ian Allinson it was , “Disappointing that we switched off in key areas which as we know against the big sides like Woking and previously Cambridge United you cannot afford to do.    I cannot fault any of the side today.    They all put in a shift, yet if our delivery from set pieces had been a little better and we had maintained concentration throughout it may have been a different outcome. We have had a very tough run of games of late including this one where it was obvious to see why Woking are top of the table.”    On the player front Ian was “Very pleased to have secured the services of Sam Cox until the end of the Season.    Luke Wilkinson is keen to play at a higher level and with his current Loan spell now over I stayed loyal to Charlie O’Loughlin and Omar Beckles who along with Luke Garrard did a fine job in central defence.    I would love to strengthen this week as the transfer window comes to a close but there is no need for a knee jerk reaction.    We must ensure that whoever comes in is of a high standard to better ourselves as a unit.”

Team:    Jordan, Sankofa, Jones, Garrard, O’Loughlin, Beckles, Hunter (Sub – Lechmere 75 mins.), Cox, Bryant, Noto, Lobjoit.

Subs (Not used):    Hutton, Wilkinson, Brathwaite, Akinola.

Bookings:    Bryant, O’Loughlin.

Goals:    Boreham Wood:    Noto 55.            Woking:    Hammond 23, Ademola 84.

Man of the Match:    Mark Jones.