Incredible Wood Go National!
Vanarama Conference South Play Off Final.
Boreham Wood 2 Whitehawk 1 aet ( 1-1 after 90 mins),
by John Mead
Over 2000 fans turned out to witness the greatest day in the history of the Club, with Junior Morias’ early strike in extra time enough to lift the Trophy. As the clock ticked down the atmosphere around the packed Wood section of the ground rose and rose, until referee Anthony Coggins blew the final whistle of a compelling season.
There followed wild scenes of jubilation as the townsfolk who turned out in numbers shared the realisation that little Boreham Wood now have a team in the fifth tier of English football. The tears of joy streaming down the face of Club President Bill O’Neill, the man who built up the club from the ground after the Second World War was a fitting tribute to exactly what this achievement stands for.
With both sides evenly matched in terms of quality within the respective squads and sitting just three points apart in the final League standings it was always going to be a close fought game. The first half looked every bit a Cup Final, with both sides taking the game to each other yet having the discipline not to overplay with so much at stake.
After soaking up some early pressure from a couple of corners, the Wood defence were exposed when Scott Neilson delivered a free kick that found ex Wood player Osei Sankofa who headed the wrong side of James Russell’s post.
The Hawks kept on probing with the impressive John-Paul Kissock the midfield fulcrum that neatly knitted the passing moves together, yet a stoic display from Wood kept their shooting options to a minimum.
With forty minutes played Sergio Torres was robbed in midfield by Lee Angol who embarked upon a run towards goal that drew a foul from Marvin Hamilton, who earned a yellow card for his team.
Angol hit his thirty yard free kick inches over the crossbar with keeper Craig Ross struggling to match the quality of the strike.
Callum Reynolds made a fine interception to feed Angol who coasted past Hamilton before losing his balance and skewing his shot wide, ending a tense first half .
A Montgomery effort over the bar and a header at the other end from Danny Mills ended the sparring period of the game as both sides began to apply an increased urgency which in turn fired up the anticipation within the packed stands.
Hill and Reynolds defended with relish for Wood, with the dangerous Jake Robinson managing a shot on target that was easy for James Russell. Wood then tore into the Hawks defence courtesy of a brilliant forty yard ball from Reynolds that was controlled with exceptional skill by Ricky Shakes on the run. He bore down on goal only for Kissock to intercept with a superb challenge.
Angol was the pick of the strikers on the afternoon and when he was pulled back just twenty yards from goal he lined up to strike an exquisitely placed free kick around the wall and low into the net.
The on loan Luton Town striker whose promising career has been taken to another level after being discovered by Wood Boss Ian Allinson before his release from Wycombe Wanderers, took his season total to twenty six in the League.
There was still little to choose between the two sides when The Hawks were awarded a penalty after Sam Cox was adjudged to have fouled Kissock as he burst into the area. Sam Deering made no mistake to level the tie with just nine minutes remaining.
Wood received a massive let off in the first of five additional minutes. Robinson found space from a free kick to fire a low shot which Russell could not take cleanly. It spilled to the feet of Sankofa who somehow blasted over the cross bar from just six yards out. It exacerbated the need for extra time and before The Hawks had a chance to settle from the restart Morias pounced to score. Played through by Angol he swivelled on the edge of the area to fire a rasping drive that had the beating of Ross.
Reynolds made a flying intervention to cut out a dangerous cross before the game entered the final fifteen minutes. The Hawks did not help their cause with substitute Ahmed Abdulla fouling both Morias and Cox in quick succession which led to lengthy breaks for treatment. A final corner with keeper Ross joining the Hawks attack was well held by the unflappable Russell, leaving Wood worthy winners on the afternoon. After five years at Conference South Level, this proud little Football Club will be hosting the likes of Tranmere Rovers in the renamed National League next season for the first time in their history!
Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas, Shakes, Angol, Morias ( Walker 124), Montgomery ( Whichelow 79).
Subs not used: Martin, Garrard, Courtnage.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Angol 67, Morias 91.
Whitehawk: Deering 81 pen.
Man Of The Match: Callum Reynolds.