Blue Square Bet South
Maidenhead United 2 Boreham Wood 1
by John Mead
With the closure of the M40 leaving the Maidenhead area in gridlock, Wood did not arrive at York Road until fifteen minutes before Kick Off. This caused the game to be put back to 8.00pm with The Magpies wasting little time in punishing Wood’s own delayed start to the game.
It was the fancied Alex Wall who latched onto a long clearance running on to slot home precisely beyond James Russell with less than two minutes played.
Wood looked shell shocked and were under the cosh again with David Pratt’s shot coming back into play off the crossbar. Wall then threatened to punish Wood further with Russell forced to make a mad dash off his line to clear. Graeme Montgomery saw his shot deflected behind off Leon Solomon for a corner, a rare occasion in the half when Ian Allinson’s side managed to record an effort on goal.
The home side used the notable slope in the pitch to good effect increasing their lead after twenty-seven minutes. Daniel Brown curled a telling free kick into danger from the left, which ricocheted off the Wood wall before looping over Russell into the net.
Another Brown cross from open play in a similar position evaded the defence and the dangerous Wall looked to score at the far post, only for Russell to make a fine save from the close range effort. A Luke Garrard header from a Montgomery cross cleared the crossbar, meaning Wood had failed to register a shot on target before the interval.
Cliff Akurang made a huge difference replacing the ineffectual Jamal Lowe for the second half. Montgomery played in by Chez Isaac hit a sweetly struck effort that required a fingertip save from Billy Lumley.
Harry Pritchard then roasted Montgomery down the left wing crossing for Wall who was adjudged to have fouled Callum Reynolds in his pursuit of goal.
Wall was spearheading a very competent Magpies outfit on the night and he left Reynolds and O’Loughlin spectating before fluffing his lines and blasting over.
Greg Morgan and Lewis Toomey were then introduced in place of Piero Mingoia and Montgomery, with Wood now hell bent on attack. However the two Loan centre backs, that Johnson Hippolyte has brought in, were in the main unbeatable. Teenagers Devante McKain from Gillingham and the extremely impressive Alfie Mawson from Brentford surely have bright futures.
Akurang went close from a Morgan free kick, forcing Lumley into a two handed diving save from his header. Wood were over reliant on long balls which were gleefully gobbled up by the home side, until deep into injury time a rare run to the goal line and cross brought its rewards. Ben Nunn delivered from the right and Michael Thalassitis was on hand to slam home the consolation goal, his second in as many games.
This was just Wood’s sixth defeat all Season, a League record matched only by Welling United, which left Wood Boss Ian Allinson far from pleased. “We made it easy for Maidenhead United tonight, by not turning up. We did not start and conceding in the second minute was bad enough. Conceding a poor second via a deflection, from which I thought James Russell could have done better, left us a mountain to climb. We failed to compete throughout the entire first half until I introduced Cliff Akurang after the break. Unfortunately we left it too late to effect the final result.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the Season he added, “We need to be stronger away from home especially against mid-table sides. Our record against the top eight teams is superb, yet against the rest of the Division that is not the case.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Mingoia (Sub – Toomey 69 mins.), Isaac, Thalassitis, Lowe (Sub – Akurang 45 mins.), Montgomery (Sub – Morgan 69 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Noto, Hastings.
Bookings: Thalassitis, Morgan.
Goals: Maidenhead United: Wall 2, Brown 27. Boreham Wood: Thalassitis 90+5.
Wood Man of the Match: Cliff Akurang.