PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY MATCH

Boreham Wood    1    Stevenage    1

by Football Exclusives’ Tashan Deniran

Boreham Wood followed up Tuesday night’s 1 – 1 draw against newly promoted West Ham United with another credible draw against lastSeason’s League One Play-off Semi Finalists, Stevenage, as Inih Effiong’s second goal in as many games was cancelled out by Marcus Haber’s early second half header.

The hosts made one change to the team from midweek with Effiong replacing Elliott Buchanan in attack whilst Manager Ian Allinson had the opportunity to run the rule over Ben Nunn and Lewis Ferrell.    The visitors brought two separate teams to Meadow Park and included former Crystal Palace left back Lee Hills in their first half team.

In a game of two contrasting halves it was The Wood who started the game the brighter, settling into their passing game, retaining possession and looking a threat going forward, so it was no surprise they fashioned the first chance after six minutes as Chez Isaac picked out Effiong who couldn’t keep his effort down.

A Nathan Evans shot was the only attack Stevenage had to show in the early stages as Isaac was pulling the strings and his through ball down the middle was just too strong for Omer Riza who would have been through on goal had he gathered the ball in.    The striker then went close in the twelfth minute as he twisted and turned in the penalty area before sending his left footed effort into the arms of the Stevenage ‘keeper Chris Day.    Though Boreham Wood were dominant in the opening stages, Evans was proving to be a constant threat for the away side with his dribbling ability which almost presented a chance for himself but Wood’s defence stood strong.

The home side’s strike duo was proving to be a handful for the League One side as Riza picked out his partner at the back post but Effiong couldn’t manage to get his headed effort on target, but minutes later he put his side ahead albeit with a bit of luck as his strike from the edge on of the area took a deflection and beat Day to give the home side a deserved lead after twenty-five minutes.    The lead was almost doubled minutes later following a quick counter attack led by Isaac who swept the ball out to the left hand side with Riza who waited for the right option and picked out David Hutton who curled his effort inches past the post.

The visitors failed to test James Russell in the first thirty minutes and that stat failed to change as Robin Shroot couldn’t connect with a fabulous cross from Hills from the left.    His counterpart Day was called into action two minutes before the break when he saved Graeme Montgomery’s effort with his legs to ensure his side didn’t go in at half time two goals down.

It was wholesale changes for Stevenage following the interval, with two notable introductions in the form of Luke Freeman and Filipe Morais, both having played at Youth level for Arsenal and Chelsea respectively, while Lee Close replaced Mark Jones in defence and Riza was withdrawn for Buchanan as Wood made two changes at the break.

It was the away side’s changes that paid dividends early in the second half as another Substitute Haber headed home a corner from Morais to bring the scores level and shock the hosts right at the start of the second half.    The goal spurred on the League One side and Morais went close to putting his side 1 – 2 up as he forced Russell into a good save from a free kick, his corner was then punched clear by the Wood ‘keeper as Haber was lurking to pounce for a second.

Effiong offered a brief respite at the other end and Hutton tested Steve Arnold from long range, but the visitors were on top thanks in part to Freeman and Morais who were causing problems on both flanks.    Haber then sprung the offside trap and squared for Dominic Knowles who saw his effort come back off the post.    Freeman and Morais switched wings briefly and the former Arsenal man was heavily involved in attempting to put his side ahead, firstly forcing Russell into a sharp smart save down at his near post, he then dragged an effort wide after cutting on to his favoured left foot, before turning provider for Haber who saw his effort kept out by Russell.

With the game nearing its conclusion Substitute Ferrell almost had the perfect debut when he headed Mario Noto’s free kick into the arms of Arnold, which ensured the game finished all square, leaving Allinson happy with the team’s performance.

Team:    Russell, Nunn, Jones (Sub – Close 45 mins.), Noto, Garrard, Reynolds, Hutton (Sub – Ferrell 62 mins.), Isaac, Riza (Sub – Buchanan 45 mins.), Effiong (Sub  – Scott –Morris 62 mins.), Montgomery (Sub  – Hastings 78 mins.).

Sub (Not used):    Doolan.

Goals:    Boreham Wood:    Effiong.            Stevenage:    Haber.

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