Vanarama Conference South Semi Final 1st Leg.

 Havant and Waterlooville 0-2 Boreham Wood

by John Mead.

Boreham Wood showed exactly how to get ahead in a game and stay there with a superb team display against a side they had failed to beat in the League this season. In fact this was bizarrely the first time that Ian Allinson’s side had won a match against any of the sides that finished in the top five all campaign.

They did so in some style at a rain swept Westleigh Park in front of nearly 1300 spectators. As in the previous two games between the sides it was Wood who took an early lead. Winning their first corner after just thirteen seconds they showed their intent from the off and before the home side had the chance to settle the opening goal came. Sam Cox played through the middle of the park for Lee Angol who found his old Wycombe Wanderers comrade Junior Morias. He took the pass in his stride unleashing a screamer of a shot from twenty yards out that beat The Hawks captain Ryan Young.

Havant troubled Wood when JJ Hooper chased down an over hit pass that Callum Reynolds was forced to guide out for a corner. The delivery was poor and Wood immediately turned defence into attack when Morias turned provider for his old team mate who was tripped on the edge of the area, the culprit Brian Dutton taking one for his team as early as the 12th minute.

Scott Donnelly hit a hopeful shot from distance which went just wide, with the Wood defence stifling any designs the home side had of an early fight back. JJ Hooper found the target but his long range effort failed to trouble James Russell in the Wood goal.

It was the visitors who looked the likelier to add to the scoring and when Graeme Montgomery played in Morias he produced a visionary reverse ball for Angol who shot just wide. Ben Herd’s lob forward forced Young out of his area to head clear with Angol bearing down on the loose ball.

Wood were rampant at this stage and a fantastic sixty yard run from Ricky Shakes allowed the ex Kidderminster Harrier a chance to set up Angol whose volley on the turn was well saved by Young.

The Hawks then created two opportunities in quick succession but found Russell in outstanding form. The first came from Harry Connick after a jinking run across goal, the second the result of the best move of the half from The Hawks. Bradley Bubb was played through and had a clear sight of goal, only for Russell to rush out and make a fine blocking save.

It was a mixture of pace going forward and defending as a team that set Wood above their hosts and they were rewarded with a second goal when Morias ran inside holding off a challenge from Dan Strugnell before laying a pass into the path of Montgomery on the left. The Hawks defence was stretched, allowing Montgomery to catch Young off guard with a drop of the shoulder before striking a fine shot across the custodian, leaving him well beaten.

The predicted fight back from Lee Bradbury’s men after the interval was thwarted by a confident Wood who were in no mood to let their lead slip.

Morias shot just over for Wood after another conceded foul heaped pressure on The Hawks defence.

When Donnelly was tripped on the edge of the penalty area by Sam Cox it set up a rare chance for Havant, but the normally efficient dead ball expert picked himself up to hit over the bar.

Wood rode out a brief danger spell inflicted by their opponents before Morias drew another save from Young.

Hawks substitute Shamir Mullings failed to connect with the best cross of the evening from Warren Cummings and as that chance went, so did the confidence in the Hampshire outfit.

Donnelly was presented a final chance from a dangerous position in stoppage time, but the ball ended up in the stand, leaving Wood to covet their clean sheet and two goal advantage, which is safe until the two sides meet again in three days’ time.

Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas, Shakes, Angol (Whichelow 84), Morias (Walker 87), Montgomery.

Subs not used: Garrard, Martin, Courtnage.

Bookings: Angol, Herd.

Goals: Boreham Wood: Morias 3, Montgomery 39.

Man Of the Match: Ricky Shakes.