Boreham Wood FC Oaklands, progressed to the final of the All England National College Cup, after a hard fought semi-final against the competition favourites, Walford & North Shropshire.
Woods U19s, who were yet to concede in the competition, started sharp, with great tempo. And lone striker Simeon Akinola working tirelessly up front to deal with the two opposition centre half’s.
Woods first opportunity fell to winger Connor Lancaster, after Akinola dinked a teasing cross but he failed to react quick enough and the chance was gone.
Wood maintained the pressure and again went close, when Akinola went clear, only for him to drag his shot wide of the mark. To leave the score 0 – 0 at half time.
The second half began with Wood again in the ascendency and Harvey Scott-Morris missing a sitter, then after some neat play, Jordan Lawal broke the defensive line but could only strike his shot into the advancing goalkeepers arms. However after relentless Wood pressure for the rest of the half, the game remained 0 – 0 after 90 minutes.
The first period of extra time finally produced fireworks with two goals. Firstly with Walford & North Shropshire, against the run of play worked the ball down the right hand side, to deliver a pin point cross for the sharp Walford striker to drive the ball into the near post.
Wood responded instantly from a set piece of great quality, midfielder Charlie Hunter fizzed a cross into the danger zone, for Simeon Akinola to lead head & shoulders above his opposite number to direct his header into the far top corner.
Wood piled forward in search of a winner in extra time and could of won the game on numerous occasions. No more so than when influential Charlie Hunter had the opportunity to seal the win from the penalty spot. However his drilled spot kick hit outside of the far post and the game finished 1 – 1.
The ensuing penalty shootout could not of began worse for young Wood, with top scorer Akinola and skipper Lawal, Both missing their penalties and Walford now leading 1 – 0, after they had their 1st penalty saved by Cameron Baker-Owers and then scoring with their 2nd.
Wood finally opened their account when Charlie Hunter stepped up to convert Woods third penalty. It was now the turn of Woods Goalkeeper Baker-Owers, to come into his own. As he again guessed the right way to save low to his right and keep the shootout score at 1 – 1.
Ruddock Yala then stepped up to give Wood the lead, before keeper Baker-Owers, made a stunning save to keep Woods lead at 2 – 1.
It was now down to David Sesay to convert the winning penalty, as he coolly struck the ball into the top left hand corner and deservedly send Boreham Wood Oaklands through to the National Cup Final, amid fantastic scenes of celebration amongst the players, coaches and supporters.
Manager Luke Garrard reflected on the team’s performance, said “I’m very pleased with how the boys reacted after going behind against the run of play. We could and should have been more clinical and on another day our finishing would of worked their goalkeeper a lot more”.
“We now have a big end to the season with league deciders to play and other cup finals to deal with. So with this crop of boys, injuries and resting individuals will be key. We must continue our momentum across the board with our U16s, U18s, U19s and reserves, to hopefully bring as much success to the club as possible this season”. He Concluded.