Pre-Season Friendly

Boreham Wood    1    Reading X1    2

by John Mead

Seventeen year old Robert Hastings has more than one eye on the First Team after his sixteenth minute equaliser against full time opposition capped an assured full first team debut.    It was fitting that Hastings showed his class in a game that marked the historic partnership that the Reading Academy and Boreham Wood Football Club have entered into for the coming two Seasons.

On a blisteringly warm evening it was tired legs that gave way to a youthful Reading side, with the classy Dominic Samuel hitting the winner in the eighty-ninth minute, completing his brace.

The game burst into life after four minutes when a finely threaded ball forward found Samuel in the inside right position and he made no mistake hitting a first time slide rule shot into the bottom right hand corner of James Russell’s goal.    Hastings playing on the right wing quickly showed his pace winning a corner.    It was to be the first of many that Wood earned on the evening.    However, a superbly disciplined Reading defence were resolute throughout, offering Wood no route to force the game from set pieces.

It was no surprise that the equaliser came from open play therefore.    Ben Nunn played a superb ball out of defence down the right finding Omer Riza.    He flew at the defence picking out Graeme Montgomery who managed to control and square for Hastings whose low shot took a late deflection beating Grant Smith at his right hand post.    Wood were now in the ascendency with Montgomery hitting a fierce rising drive just over the bar.

The Royals went close when a long pin point cross from the left to the far post from Shane Griffin was headed bk across goal by Lawson D’Ath.    It needed a goal line clearance from Luke Garrard to thwart the danger.    Russell was then forced out of his area to head clear as far as Jake Taylor who  spurned his chance hitting high over the bar.

A hamstring forced Garrard out of the game, with Lee Close deputising in an unfamiliar centre half role, which the England Schools International accomplished in his stride.    Montgomery continued to threaten when linking up with Hastings making full use of the width of the pitch.    Another long range Montgomery effort was inches high, before Close did extremely well reading the movement of Samuel when clean through on goal.

David Hutton replaced Montgomery at the interval, with the game taking a while to settle, until Chez Isaac ended a blinding run with a real screamer of a shot that tested Smith.    Two Wood Substitutes, Inih Effiong and Harvey Scott-Morris then combined with the giant forward running his shot just wide.

A pass of real vision from Mark Jones from a quickly taken free kick picked out Hastings who went around his marker to supply a cross that Riza laid up for Effiong.    His shot was charged down as the Reading defence continued to impress.

Scott-Morris had a decent effort saved before the fresh legs from The Royals bench delivered the coup de grace.    Craig Tanner out-muscled Mario Noto in the middle of the park and he picked out Charlie Losasso’s blistering run down the right.    His cross was perfect for Samuel who again showed his goal scoring ability with another inch perfect low shot that left Russell with little chance.

Ian Allinson was in an upbeat mood at the final whistle.    “I can take a lot of positives out of tonight.    Like the Arsenal game we tired in the last fifteen minutes, but were more than a match for the opposition beforehand. We look sharp when our energy levels are up.    It has been a tough two weeks given the teams we have faced.”    Looking to the new Season, just three and a half weeks away, Allinson added, “We have Charlie O’Loughlin back for the trip to Biggleswade Town on Saturday.    We will have a look at the Squad and maybe explore the Loan market before the Season starts.”

Team:    Russell, Nunn, Jones (Sub – Wallace 75 mins.), Noto, Garrard (Sub – Close 30 mins.), Reynolds, Hastings, Isaac (Sub – Scott-Morris 61 mins.), Riza, Buchanan (Sub – Effiong 55 mins.), Mongomery (Sub –  Hutton 46 mins.).

Subs (Not used):    Lewis.

Goals:    Boreham Wood:    Hastings 16.            Reading:    Samuel 4, 89.