Blue Square Bet South

Eastbourne Borough    3    Boreham Wood    2

by John Mead

Another disastrous start saw Wood two down inside ten minutes and their penchant to concede from set pieces is showing no sign of abating.    With just one win in nine outings the side are rooted in the relegation zone for now.

The Wood side is evolving by the week with Sam Hurrell been released to “allow funds to compensate for the areas in which we are struggling” as explained by Wood boss Ian Allinson, who has a huge slice of his budget still sitting in the stands with four First Team players out injured.    There were debuts in midfield for Karl Beckford, whom after a slow start gave a competent performance, alongside midfield colleague Chez Isaac, an eighteen year old Loan signing fromWatford, who committed himself well at this level.    With the first free kick of the game a low cross at pace from the right delivered by Matt Crabb was not dealt with and the unfortunate Beckford deflected the ball beyond the reach of Michael Jordan with less than two minutes on the clock.

Things went from bad to worse just eight minutes later when the Wood defence turned off from a throw in on the right.    James Smith was rooted to the ground when a headed flick on at the near post fell for Matt Crabb. With no Wood defender in attendance he was gifted the space and time to shoot home beyond an unprotectedJordan.

Smith did well to cut out another threat from the right before Effiong scooped an effort over the bar when well placed.    With the two debutantes now coming to terms with the style of play Isaac set up Beckford who shot over the bar as Wood went about the familiar task of clawing their way back into a game.    Mark Jones’ long ball was perfect for the advancing Luke Wilkinson who headed just beyond the far post. Beckford and David Bryant then combined sending Effiong through only for him to drag his shot well wide.

Wood won a succession of corners in their pursuit of a change of fortune, yet The Sports were extremely well organised defensively winning every aerial ball.    Effiong created Wood’s best chance of the half with a well hit shot from a tight angle on the right that flew just wide of Rikki Banks’ right hand post.    It was all in vain as poor defending allowed centre forward Eddie Hutchinson a free header from a corner which gifted the home side a very healthy advantage in first half stoppage time.

Losing Jones just before the interval to a hamstring and then Smith with an ankle injury instilled a backs to the wall performance in the second half against a side that looked increasingly vulnerable.    Eighteen year old Charlie Hunter switched from midfield where he had produced the stand out performance of the half to left back, with seventeen year old Pelly Ruddock also forced into an unfamiliar role at right back.

Crabb went close with a left sided shot that ran just wide ofJordan’s left hand post, before Wood found their feet.    Wilkinson and O’Loughlin forged a fine partnership in defence and combined to reduce the deficit after fifty-nine minutes.    Beckford’s free kick was not dealt with and O’Loughlin stabbed the ball into the path of Wilkinson who fired home from eight yards out.

The ineffectual Effiong was replaced by Simeon Akinola as Wood’s final Substitution after sixty-seven minutes. Eight minutes later last Season’s record Reserve Team goal scorer was hauled to the ground by Banks.    He saved Hunter’s spot kick diving low to his left, yet Ollie Palmer on as a second half Substitute reacted to fire home the rebound, making it 3 – 2.    However the outfit fromSussex, who have enjoyed a meteoric rise from their Langney Sports days, had enough experience after spending the last three Seasons in The Conference Premier Division to hold out for the win.

Both sides had late chances, yet the damage had been done in the first ten minutes for Wood who according to Allinson, “have big name players who are inconsistent and today that let us down.    We spoke about their threat from set pieces and today we did not do our job.    The likes of Chez Isaac, Pelly Ruddock and Charlie Hunter who are all teenagers should be very proud of their contributions today.    They kept going in the face of adversity.    Our planning for today’s game was wasted in our awful opening and it flies in the face of everything we try to achieve at this Club.”

Team:    Jordan, Wilkinson, Jones (Sub – Ruddock 45 mins.), O’Loughlin, Smith (Sub – Palmer 45 mins.), Hunter, Isaac, Beckford, Effiong (Sub – Akinola 67 mins.), Bryant, Lechmere.

Subs (Not used):    Currie, Baker-Owers.

Booking:    Jones.

Goals:    EastbourneBorough:    Beckford 2 o.g., Crabb 10, Hutchinson 45(+2).            Boreham Wood:     Wilkinson 59, Palmer 75.

Wood Man of The Match:    Luke Wilkinson.

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