Blue Square Bet South
Dover Athletic 0 Boreham Wood 1
by John Mead
It took forty-five minutes for Wood to get back to their pre-Brentford best with a commanding second half performance to maintain their first half lead. Greg Morgan was preferred to David Hutton, whilst Ben Jefford came in for the unavailable Charlie O’Loughlin.
The Whites had the better of the opening twenty-five minutes. Cliff Akurang whilst being held headed Mauro Vilhete’s cross wide in the first minute, before the home side tested James Russell. He gathered a telling cross before saving bravely at the feet of Barry Cogan.
Jefford’s timely interception denied Callum Willock, with ex-Wood favourite Daryl McMahon pulling all the strings for his side in midfield. Russell was again in action when Ben May chested down for Jamie Smith who fired a low shot through a sea of bodies, the shot stopper saving well after seeing the ball late.
Wood started to impose themselves on the game with Vilhete back to his best and instrumental in every build up. Akurang would have earned a penalty when he clashed with Tom Wynter on a better day, but Referee Mr. O’Brien waved play on. However the Wood pressure paid off after thirty-three minutes. Graeme Montgomery swung over a corner from the right which Willock cleared as far as Morgan on the left. He played inside for Akurang who shielded the ball before laying into the path of Jefford who sweetly struck a low drive from just inside the area beyond Mitch Walker.
Wood had Akurang to thank when Dean Rance hit a goal bound screamer from the edge of the area which struck the Wood centre forward before spiralling to safety. The second half was a five star show by Ian Allinson’s men. They were menacing down both flanks with Morgan and Vilhete sometimes unplayable.
Montgomery almost doubled the lead from the restart when Omer Riza and Akurang combined allowing the midfielder a rising drive that was not far off target. Vilhete then turned and ran at goal supplying Riza whose shot was blocked as far as Morgan who drew a fine save from Walker.
It was the manner in which Wood played out of defence with quick passes and easily maintaining possession that was the catalyst for the victory. That and two immense saves from Russell, the first of which was simply the save of the Season. Ben Nunn conceded possession to Rance who played Willock clean through on goal. Russell feigned to his left with the shot coming to his right and on target with power. Somehow Russell stuck out an instinctive arm to push the effort wide of goal.
A desperate trip on Riza by Ian Simpemba led to a free kick from which Morgan drew a save from Walker, who was called into action again as Morgan tried his luck from distance. Dover Athletic opted to introduce a third striker but it was Wood who looked the likelier to alter the scoreboard. Morgan, Montgomery, Riza and Nunn were involved in a superb move down the right playing Riza through on goal who went for power and blasted his shot the wrong side of the post.
Rance again went close for The Whites with a twenty-five yard effort, before Vilhete’s run ended with a Montgomery shot that Walker was equal to. A half cleared corner fell nicely for Substitute Billy Bricknell who picked his spot from the edge of the penalty area, only for Russell to make a full stretch save diving to his left.
Wood almost grabbed a late second when another quite brilliant move involving Chez Isaac, Nunn, Vilhete and Akurang was created down the right. Vilhete’s cross flashed across goal at pace, where Akurang made contact yet failed to steer the ball home from just four yards out. Then Isaac, celebrating his twentieth birthday blasted a shot just wide with both Akurang and Inih Effiong well placed to finish.
A delighted Ian Allinson commented, “This is the best we have played for a couple of weeks. We have missed chances today and that always gives a home side hope. Thankfully James Russell has made two superb saves today. I was pleased with our passing and movement and keeping a clean sheet. We are exactly a third of the way through the Season now and if we continue in this form we will finish up in the Play-offs.”
On the individual performances Allinson added, “It was our best show on the road this Season and they all performed today. I was particularly pleased with the reaction from Greg Morgan after being given a start and Mauro Vilhete showed a massive improvement of late and looked sharp for the ninety minutes.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Vilhete, Jefford, Reynolds, Morgan (Sub – Noto 77 mins.), Isaac, Akurang, Riza (Sub – Effiong 85 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Hutton, Scott-Morris, Beckles.
Bookings: Vilhete, Jefford.
Goal: Boreham Wood: Jefford 33.
Man of the Match: Mauro Vilhete.