Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Sutton United 1
by John Mead
Top five Sutton United snatched a point with a 94th minute equaliser after Michael Thalassitis gave Wood an early lead in his penultimate game for the Club.
It is the second successive game that the visitors have relied on a late goal for a point. Yet such was their dominance for large swathes of the game Wood can consider themselves lucky to get something from the game on an afternoon when only three matches reached a positive outcome.
Nathan Koranteng and Jon Clements back in the country for his winter break from his American Scholarship were preferred on the wings in place of David Hutton and Sam Lechmere, whilst Daniel Brathwaite replaced the suspended Mark Jones at left back.
The first fifteen minutes belonged to Wood. Koranteng got beyond Michael Boateng down the left with his cross finding Thalassitis. He chested down before drifting across goal to pick his spot with an excellent finish across Kevin Scriven after just five minutes.
Brathwaite, who was excellent after a spell out of the First Team, then provided a tantalising cross that almost sent Thalassitis through again. Thalassitis then turned provider on the left flank, his ball across the box was left by Sam Cox for Daryl McMahon whose curling effort was just wide of the top left hand corner.
Further efforts by Thalassitis and McMahon were well defended before the visitors settled into the game. Craig Watkins was released down the middle forcing Michael Jordan to rush off his line blocking with his legs. The loose ball fell for Harry Beautyman who tried his luck at an empty goal from thirty yards out. His effort came back into play off the crossbar and Wood were off the hook.
Sutton United turned up the heat with Osei Sankofa clearing a cross off the line before a far post header from Joel Ledgister went behind off the body of David Bryant for a corner.
The dangerous Anthony Riviere attacked down the left and when Charlie O’Loughin made a rare mistake it was left to Jordan to save well at the near post. Five minutes later it was O’Loughlin who won the duel with the Sutton number seven making a superb blocking tackle.
Wood were struggling to maintain possession such was the pressure exerted by United.
Half time allowed Ian Allinson’s men time to regroup restricting the visitors to a chance for Riviere who went shoulder to shoulder with Luke Wilkinson who won the duel. The game remained even with McMahon’s superbly weighted ball allowing Thalassitis to turn and power towards goal. Simon Downer’s challenge was exemplary as was his overall performance in the heart of the Sutton United defence.
A treble Substitution by Paul Doswell with fifteen minutes remaining tipped the balance in his side’s favour with Wood still managing to frustrate the visitors with some superb defending. Sam Page headed straight at Jordan who was the busier of the two custodians.
Downer denied McMahon before Brathwaite made a fine block to deny Ledgister. As the game rolled into five minutes of added time O’Loughlin stood his ground to prevent Ledgister running through on goal.
Yet the sting in the tale manifested itself in the 94th minute. Downer played Ledgister through on the right.
His low cross along the goal line was intercepted by Sankofa who slid in, yet the ball spilled towards the far post where the fortunate Romone McCrae was in the right place to bundle home from close range, a goal which the visitors deserved for all their efforts on the afternoon.
For Wood boss Ian Allinson it was game in which, “We were under the cosh for long periods. We would dearly have loved to push more players forward and get the second killer goal, yet they made it very hard for us. We struggled to retain possession and were under pressure for long periods. Bear in mind last Season’s top scorer is still out injured! We need to find the personnel to create more goals and that is something we will work on in the January Transfer Window.
However I cannot fault the effort today. Everybody put a shift in and we will go again at their place on New Year’s Day.”
Team: Jordan, Sankofa, Brathwaite, Cox, O’Loughlin, Wilkinson, Clements (Sub – Beckles 90+3 mins.), McMahon, Thalassitis, Bryant, Koranteng (Sub – Lechmere 72 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Hunter, Hutton, Akinola.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Thalassitis 5. Sutton United: McRae 90+4.
Man of the Match: Charlie O’Loughlin.