The Skrill South.
Bishops Stortford 1 Boreham Wood 3,
by John Mead.
Wood recorded only their second win in eight matches, ending the Blues six match winning streak at home in the League.
The opening forty five minutes was as good as the preceding forty five minutes just two days earlier was awful. Anthony Jeffrey and Austin Lipman ran the show from the front for Wood , the young Arsenal pair forcing the Stortford defence into a litany of errors which gave Ian Allinson’s side a two goal lead at the break.
Allinson’s squad selection made much more sense than in the previous game. The side was balanced and as he explained, “was stripped bare and we went back to basics”. It had the desired effect with Callum Reynolds sending Lipman through with a fine ball down the right channel after 18 minutes. The move unlocked an even start to the game with Lipman driving past his marker before cutting in from the goal line. Callum McNaughton could only pull the young forward back for a clear penalty.
It was more coincidence than masterstroke on Allinson’s part that Mario Noto was given a rare start, but a thankful one as his penalty taking is the best at the club. His first of two offerings found the precise bottom corner of the net leaving Joe Wright no chance.
Wood went on to dominate proceedings until the interval, with Jeffrey causing problems for the Blues defence with his pace. The home side were restricted to counter attacks until the sustained pressure exerted by Wood yielded goal number two after 40 minutes
McNaughton fluffed a clearance straight to Lipman who set up his parent club colleague. There was only ever going to be one winner as Jeffrey went one on one with his marker, allowing him space to squeeze a low shot between keeper and post.
A double substitution at half time from Rod Stringer signalled intent as The Blues changed the complexion of the game completely. They cancelled out Wood’s previous supremacy forcing them to defend deep as they looked for a way back into the game. The first five minutes yielded three corners and it was from the final one that Wood crumbled. As the ball was swung over Cliff Akurang was bundled over by Charlie O’Loughlin, forcing referee Mr Young to point to the spot.
James Russell was sent the wrong way and the hosts were back in it, although celebrations turned into nastiness when a mass brawl broke out over the apparent ownership of the ball and who should retrieve it from the net.
Health and safety decreed that Mr Young should remain a safe distance until safe to encroach. A ringleader from each side was carefully picked and Greg Morgan and Prestedge were given straight reds and sent from the playground. Play resumed some five minutes after the goal was scored, but not before Mark Jones was cautioned for his reaction to the whole affair.
Liam Enver-Marum headed wide when well placed for The Blues, before substitutes Josh Fagbohun and Harry Baker combined in setting up George Allen who saw his header saved by Russell.
The game flowed from end to end with Ben Nunn featuring at both ends of the field before Mr Stringer was sent to the stands by Mr Young , closely followed by Tony Fenn, the assistant coach.
Back on the field Wood had seemingly weathered the storm and looked to be hanging on for a priceless victory. That was made certain when substitute Graeme Montgomery played the superb Jeffrey through. He showed Tommy Fletcher a clean pair of heels which were too tempting to resist and a third penalty was awarded, all correct decisions on the day.
It was left to Noto to seal the tie and he made no mistake with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Noto then went close from a free kick opportunity, before Jones saw red in the dying seconds, dispatching a Stortford player into his own dugout to earn a well deserved place at the front of the shower queue.
A great result for Wood on a hostile afternoon with a lot of criticism aimed at Mr Young, whose only crime appeared to be his application of the laws of the game, which he appeared to carry out to a higher standard than some were possibly used to.
Speaking after the final whistle Ian Allinson said, “The first half was some of the best football we have played all season and we could have been out of sight by the interval. I told the players the first fifteen minutes of the second half would be crucial and we failed to keep them out, which called upon good organisation and we had to dig deep to win the game. Bishops Stortford are very organised and a real threat from set pieces but we managed to get eight behind the ball and let the forwards do their job, which worked superbly today.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Cox, Lipman (Montgomery 83), Jeffrey (Moli 90+4), Noto.
Subs not used: Ball, Sterling-Parker, Courtnage.
Bookings: Morgan sent off , Jones sent off, Reynolds.
Goals: Bishops Stortford: Prestedge 52.
Boreham Wood: Noto 18, 88 pens. Jeffrey 40.
Man Of The Match: Anthony Jeffrey.