Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Dover Athletic 1
by John Mead
This hard fought and frantic game rightly ended in a draw, with the players physically drained.
Referee, Mr. Lymer, must take huge credit for the theatre of football that was witnessed. His style is something that is sadly lacking these days. In letting the game flow and ignoring the modern day histrionics gleaned from “Match of the Day”, he must be praised for his contribution to a breathtaking afternoon’s entertainment. There were clashes, dust ups, yellow and red cards, but only when enthusiasm and the will to win flouted the law.
Lewis Toomey enjoyed just his second start partnering Michael Thalassitis up front and he showed pace and intelligence whilst on the ball to justify his selection.
Both teams were intent on throwing bodies forward which made for an incident filled afternoon. Thalassitis was held back when he latched onto a superb ball from Graeme Montgomery. Dover Athletic then counter attacked in a move combining all of their front three. Moses Ademola, out on the left, crossed, centre forward Ben May turned and shot testing James Russell at his left hand post, before the Wood ‘keeper made a second block to deny Ricky Modeste’s attempted follow up shot.
Toomey then blasted over after Luke Garrard saw his shot blocked. With the game ebbing and flowing at a blistering pace, Modeste showed great technique in lobbing a defender to cross, only for Charlie O’Loughlin to clear at the far post. With both defences consistently under pressure it was the visitors who scored first after nineteen minutes. Ademola showed a turn of pace down his wing leaving Ben Nunn standing, before delivering a cross that O’Loughlin unfortunately knocked on past Russell, gifting the alert Barry Cogan the chance to blast home from six yards into an unguarded net.
Ademola was then half a yard short of making it 0 – 2 just a minute later when May and Modeste combined at lightning pace down the right wing. It took Wood five minutes to draw level when Dover sloppily conceded possession in their own half from a throw in. Morgan unlocked Thalassitis whose exquisite trickery left Lloyd Harrington standing, to the left of goal on the touch line. Thalassitis showed a dogged determination cutting back inside before curling a shot that Mitch Walker could not hold into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Thalassitis then crossed from the left finding Toomey who killed the ball stone dead before shooting at Walker. The best move of the game came after thirty-five minutes. With the Dover defence seemingly impregnable, Garrard stabbed a ball on for Toomey whose quick one touch unlocked Chez Isaac whose first time shot was deflected over the bar for a corner by a Whites defender. Superb defending from Nunn and a low shot just wide by Montgomery after a poor Walker clearance ensured the sides remained level at the end of a frantic half.
Thalassitis, looking to emulate his hat-trick against Dover last Season, blasted a free kick just wide, before Nunn and Ademola clashed whilst a throw in was ordered, both earning bookings. The same happened just five minutes later when Steve Thomson and Isaac failed to control their passions, again at the point of taking a throw in. With both incidents occurring right in front of the benches it just added fire to the quite amazing battle that was unfolding on the pitch. O’Loughlin rarely relies on the enthusiasm of others to offer nothing less than one hundred per cent, but this battle was a challenge that he really rose to, turning in a truly titanic performance. With both sides now clear on each others strengths and weaknesses goal scoring chances dwindled, but the pace and desire did not.
Callum Reynolds and Garrard threw themselves in front of shots as if their lives depended upon it, Substitute Piero Mingoia was inspirational down the right for Wood. Mark Jones saw a definite winner from range blocked by a defender then Mingoia hit a shot wide with Wood looking the more likely in the latter stages.
There was more drama when the previously booked Whites Captain, Ian Simpemba, was shown a straight red after O’Loughlin was left in a heap in the goalmouth. The last effort of the game in the dying seconds saw Modeste clear off the line to safety from Garrard’s low drive from a Mingoia corner. The draw ensured both teams remained in third and fifth places in the League. Wood’s excellent run of losing just once at home this Season remains, whilst returning Dover Athletic Boss Chris Kinnear stays undefeated after four games in charge.
For Wood Boss Ian Allinson it was, “A fair result from a thoroughly entertaining game. This was simply two very good sides having a real go at each other. It was a proper football match that was played at a frantic pace from start to end. A draw was a fair result on the afternoon.”
Team: Russell, Nunn. Jones, Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Isaac, Thalassitis, Toomey (Sub – Lowe 74 mins.), Montgomery (Sub – Mingoia 65 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Akurang, Noto, Hastings.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Thalassitis 24. Dover Athletic: Cogan 19.
Bookings: Nunn, Isaac, Morgan, O’Loughlin.
Man of the Match: Greg Morgan.