Blue Square Bet South

Bishop’s Stortford 2 Boreham Wood 0

by John Mead

The horrendous start to 2011 continued with Wood slumping to a third straight defeat in a week without scoring a single goal.

A goal in each half was enough for the mid-table side to complete the easiest of double’s against a Wood side seemingly having talent, yet lacking belief and a togetherness. Wood played well in pockets, yet the responsibility of working together as a unit was wholesomely lacking.

There were two new additions to the side. Danny Fitzsimmons, an eighteen year old defender from Queens Park Rangers, turned in a committed performance at left back, much in the mould of ex-Woodite Michael Cox. Fellow ex-Hoop twenty year old Jordan Hibbert made his presence felt through the middle of the park, before drifting out of the game towards the end.

Simeon Akinola battled hard up front before being part of a treble Substitution after 66 minutes, from which came the brightest spark of the afternoon for Wood. What a shame that spark is heading back to the States next week to continue his Scholarship!

Wood fell behind after fifteen minutes to a player they nearly signed two days earlier. The goal came off the back of a fine Wood move, which ended with Hibbert running through the middle and hitting a useful shot at Ross Kitteridge. Immediately Stortford launched the ball forward and a fine lay off into the penalty area picked out the ex-Dover Athletic striker Jason Norville who rifled the ball into the roof of the net beyond Ashlee Jones. If Wood were to salvage the Season then a swift response to yet another setback was called for. However they could only muster easy gathers for Kitteridge to busy himself with.

Luke Wilkinson was on hand on numerous occasions to keep Wood’s hopes alive. A fine intervention to cut out Captain Ben Bowditch’s dangerous low cross from the left after he danced around several challenges, then later a superb block to divert another Bowditch effort, this time a blunderbuss from eight yards out. Mario Noto had a hit and hope afternoon, with free kicks placed too close to defenders and shots sailing woefully wide. Ali Chaaban went close with a low drive, after some fine interchange play from Greg Morgan and Akinola.

Hibbert was also unlucky with a long range skimmer from thirty yards that had Kitteridge scrambling.

Danny Green failed to utilise the efforts of Morgan and Hibbert skying an effort after good build up play. Wood emerged for the second half in a fighting mood winning a string of corners, Akinola was sandwiched after executing a fine turn on the edge of the area, yet Noto’s free kick failed to trouble Kitteridge. Ex-Wood player Chima Eberendu played Andy White through only for Wilkinson again to come to the rescue.

Then against the run of play Stortford went further ahead. A corner from the left was initially cleared, yet a second cross from the left found Callum McNaughton totally unmarked at the far post. He headed back across goal allowing Mitch Hahn to dive in at the left hand post heading home.

Thereafter The Blues gave Wood the blues defending their lead resolutely. With Wood offering no quality in the final third it was Jon Clements who came closest to a goal for Ian Allinson’s side with nine minutes remaining. His cross cum shot from the right had Kitteridge scrambling to tip the goal bound effort over the bar to safety. Jones produced a fine save going to ground to deny Reece Prestedge a chance to put his name on the score sheet after being played through by Dean Mason.

This result leaves Wood firmly rooted to the foot of the table and in dire need of an immediate change in fortune if they are to compete at this level.

For Wood Manager Ian Allinson it is a case of “Finding that winning formula. We should have been fired up for this today, yet we fell short in certain areas. My problem is finding the players that can compete week in week out for us at this level. This last seven days has been awful and we are close to throwing away all the hard work we put in last Season to get here.”

Team: Jones, Garrard, Fitzsimmons, Aisien, Wilkinson, Noto, Morgan (Sub – Nicolau 66 mins.), Hibbert, Chaaban, Akinola (Sub – Risbridger 66 mins.), Green (Sub – Clements 66 mins.).

Subs (Not used): Moran, Kamara.

Goals: Norville 15, Hahn 62. Man of the Match: Luke Wilkinson.

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