Blue Square Bet South

Braintree Town – 3
Boreham Wood – 2

by John Mead

A magnificent team goal finished by Elliott Godfrey, his third of the Season, was not enough to escape narrow defeat at the hands of early pace setters Braintree Town.

Wood welcomed back Claude Seanla as a lone striker, yet the 4 – 5 – 1 formation struggled against the might of a first half Braintree Town performance that dominated and threatened to run riot. Wood had no answer to the colossal defence led by Adam Bailey-Dennis who won every ball pumped forward. In attack they foraged in numbers and it was fortunate that Ian Allinson’s men were only two goals behind at the interval.

However a brilliant 65th minute contender for goal of the Season changed the whole complexion of the game, allowing Allinson to introduce a second striker in the shape of Stuart Blackburne and more prominently the return of Dewayne Clarke. The Jamaican showed instantly he was a player sorely missed and Wood were by far the better side in the final half hour.

The Wood defence was pulled apart after eighteen minutes when Sam Lechmere was given room to run into danger down the centre. He found Brad Quinton unmarked at the far post who sent a goal bound header over that was finished at close range by Sean Marks. There followed wave after wave of dangerous attacks from The Iron. Quinton drove a vicious low free kick that Gareth Williams spilled. It set up a manic few seconds in the Wood defence when efforts from Kenny Davis, Marks and again Quinton were somehow kept from crossing the line.

Luke Garrard provided the necessary cool head to spur on his defence when it mattered most with another dominant performance.

Marks added a second goal after 33 minutes when Davis picked out Quinton again through the middle. His ball forward took a deflection off a Wood player falling sumptuously for the former Heybridge Swifts man who picked his spot with ease. Lee Allinson then saved Williams further blushes when he produced a fine block on the line to deny Lechmere with the Wood ‘keeper equal to Davis’ follow up. Moran managed a shot on target which the almost redundant Nathan McDonald was equal to.

The half time whistle brought some welcome respite for Wood and they duly emerged a far more galvanised outfit. James Hawes relished showing his old Club what they were missing and went on a run past three defenders, although his final pass produced no end product. With Wood now enjoying far more possession they struck back with a truly memorable goal. A quick release down the right from Williams picked out Greg Morgan who drove forward playing a quick one two inside to Elliott Godfrey en route. With the Town defence now chasing, Morgan found Junior Dadson with a short pass before continuing his run across the park into an onside left position. Dadson picked out Morgan again who teed up a cute ball inside for Godfrey who blasted home a superb shot from just inside the area. The whole move lasted barely eight seconds!

Immediately Seanla and Godfrey combined with the Canadian’s back heel running just wide of the post. Moran and Lee Kersey both went close with headed efforts with Wood now clearly in the driving seat. Noto tried his luck with a rising drive as Braintree’s dominance of the first half became a far distant memory. Hawes and Morgan contributed greatly to the attack yet Wood were undone by the pace of Lechmere who in a rare counter attack burst down the right into the penalty area. Williams was left in two minds, leaving Moran to attempt to end the run with a challenge that sent the player sprawling. Jamie Guy’s 88th minute penalty was decisive, but there was still time for more action. Allinson crossed from the right finding Clarke whose superb flick set up Sherwin Stanley for a powerful volley that brought a fine save out of McDonald.

Deep into stoppage time Blackburne was tripped inside the area whilst running away from goal, allowing Noto to reduce the arrears with a penalty that sent McDonald the wrong way, but it was, alas, too late to earn something from the game.

Team: Williams, Garrard, Hawes, Noto, Kersey, Moran, Dadson (Sub – Blackburne 74 mins.), Godfrey, Seanla (Sub – Stanley 84 mins.), Allinson, Morgan (Sub – Clarke 74 mins.).

Subs (Not used): Hunter, Kirby.

Bookings: Moran.

Goals: Braintree Town: Marks 18,33. Guy 88 pen. Boreham Wood: Godfrey 65, Noto 90+3 pen.

Man of the Match: James Hawes.