Luke Garrard’s men got back to winning ways in style under the lights at Meadow Park on Tuesday evening against Dover Athletic, lifting themselves back into 12th spot in the league – a fantastic achievement when you see where the likes of ex-Football League clubs York City, Southport and Torquay United are currently.

Garrard once again had to tinker with his personnel in a bid to find the formula to score goals whilst, as ever, the defensive unit was as solid as a rock with a third consecutive clean sheet.

Wood actually started without any recognised strikers on the pitch opting to use both Ricky Shakes and Bruno Andrade as the front pairing and credit must go to the Gaffer as between them they got all five goals.

From the off Wood actually looked a threat going forward, something in recent weeks we haven’t seen.

Ben Nunn wide out on the right found himself space to whip in a cross which Andrade managed to control with his back to goal and he gave the ball to Kenny Davis who was surrounded by Dover players. He played the ball out to Jai Reason who from the edge of the box curled his effort wide.

Shakes and Dover’s Richard Orlu were then involved in a nasty clash of heads although thankfully both players picked themselves up and were able to carry on.

It then looked as though we had the opening goal of the game. From a Dover throw in out on the right a ball came into the box which was flicked on by Ross Lafayette to Joe Healy whose first time shot with his left foot cannoned back off the upright. The ball then fell to Moses Emmanuel who from 6 yards out put his effort wide.

From a Wood corner that was only half cleared Danny Woodards was positioned on the edge of the box to volley well and force Steve Arnold into a smart save, which was then cleared by the Dover defence.

Reason and Davis, who were midfield partners for the first time this season, combined well with Reason putting a ball over the top of the Dover defence. Andrade with his pace got beyond his man and from an acute angle forced Arnold into another smart save.

After hesitation in the Dover back line Davis was able to get free and with Arnold to beat the ex-Stevenage stopper spread himself to again save well.

At the start of the second half Wood came out with intent and did not take long to open the scoring. Shakes won a ball that was played forward, Jamie Grimes tried to back head the ball to his keeper but didn’t get enough on the ball allowing Andrade to nip in and tuck the ball into an empty net.

Shakes then doubled the home side’s lead and again it was handed to Wood on a plate as the Dover defence gifted them another goal. A loose ball was drifting into the box to Arnold but Shakes never gave up the chase and beat him to the ball tucking it into an empty net. Despite remonstrations from Arnold that he had two hands on the ball Referee Quelch awarded Wood the goal.

At this point Wood seemed to relax and we once again saw the free flowing fast attacking football that was witnessed earlier in the season.

Mitch Pinnock then lost out to Reason in the middle of the pitch and he split the Dover defence in two with a sublime pass and Shakes beat Arnold to the ball laying it into the path of Andrade to tuck in for his second of the evening.

Wood added a fourth soon after in a counter attack following a Dover free kick which Dave Stephens won in the air. Reason again played a pin point ball through the Dover back line for Shakes who beat the offside trap to bear down on goal and tuck the ball neatly under Arnold.

Moments later Shakes got his hat-trick following a long ball forward from Joe Devera who was clearing his lines. Bondz N’Gala miscontrolled the ball and both Andrade and Shakes pounced with Shakes again beating Arnold to seal a fantastic evening for the Wood.

Garrard’s men will look to carry this momentum into Saturday’s game when Guiseley are the visitors to Meadow Park.




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