F.A. CarlsbergTrophy – Third Qualifying Round
Boreham Wood 3 Romford 0
by John Mead
An early goal from Ali Chaaban, his first for the Club, set Wood up for a comfortable if not convincing afternoon. Resolute Romford who had conceded just six League goals all Season then chipped in with an Own Goal before allowing a second half Sam Hurrell free kick to run unaided into the net.
Romford, known as The Boro, showed throughout their defensive qualities, without which it could have been a far more convincing margin. Justin Cochrane, upon his return from International duty with Antigua and Barbuda, ran the show for the first half an hour and it was his brilliant forward ball that allowed Chaaban to lose his marker that led to the fifth minute opener. The finish was convincing, a belter that rose into the top right hand corner giving ‘keeper Adam Rafis no chance from twelve yards out.
Wood were very much on the offensive, with Mario Noto picking out an unmarked Luke Wilkinson from a free kick, who should have done better with his header. Greg Morgan over elaborated on occasions earning a start in place of the cup tied Danny Charge.
The visitors ensured that the Wood defence was kept busy, yet the expertise of Luke Garrard and the steadfastness of Ryan Moran soon left the Ryman side frustrated. The otherwise competent Rafis in the Boro goal was almost left red faced when only skimming an attempted clearance that ran just past his own post. With his outfield players struggling to string a move of note together Wood increased their lead after 37 minutes. Morgan supplied Garrard on the overlap down the right and his low cross from the touchline was sent past his own ‘keeper by Matt Toms, whose action only served to prevent Chaaban doubling his tally.
Ashlee Jones was called upon to make several saves, notably from Richard Oxby’s dead ball attempts, whilst Gareth Risbridger was on hand to deflect a Danny Rafis effort behind for a corner.
The second half began with a Noto drive that dipped in the precipitous November air quite radically before shaving the top of the bar. Romford rallied to the cause with shots from Toran Senghore and Abajomi Seymour before a set piece almost came off for Wood. Noto’s flighted free kick found Wilkinson who headed on for Moran to force a fine reaction save from the low diving Rafis.
Noto found himself one on one with ‘keeper Rafis from a counter attack, yet his shot failed to trouble the visitors. Romford stayed in the contest until Hurrell’s free kick from the right was met by an air shot from a Romford defender, allowing the ball to run unabated across Rafis and into the bottom left hand corner. A great flick on from Charlie Hunter almost allowed Chaaban to grab a late fourth goal for Wood, yet Rafis remained steadfast to the end saving well.
“It was a professional performance today, with all the players doing what was asked of them,” concluded Ian Allinson. “The early goal settled us and Romford had a real go for a spell in the second half yet we rode the storm. My only criticism is we could have converted more of the chances we created. In Ali Chaaban we have a great asset, yet sometimes the players around him do not appreciate his fine movement around the ball and that is something we need to work on.”
With regards to the draw on Monday, Allinson was frank. “My only concern is picking up points in the League at this stage, so we will take it as it comes!”
Team: Jones, Garrard, Kamara, Moran, Wilkinson, Noto, Morgan (Sub – Close 85 mins.), Cochrane (Sub – Hunter 62 mins.), Chaaban, Risbridger (Sub – Brathwaite 87 mins.), Hurrell.
Subs (Not used): Scott-Morris, Baker-Owers.
Bookings: Risbridger, Noto.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Chaaban 5, Toms (Own Goal) 37, Hurrell 80.
Man of the Match: Ali Chaaban.