Young Guns Stunned!
Boreham Wood 3 Arsenal “Under 21” 0
by John Mead
A superb all round team performance led Wood to their first ever victory against the prestigious visitors. In truth this was a very young Arsenal side, with an average age of eighteen, yet their pedigree should take nothing away from the manner in which Wood dominated proceedings.
Ian Allinson’s charges controlled possession for large swathes of the game which served to frustrate the visitors. An early shot from Ainsley Maitland-Niles went wide before the same player threatened again, yet he was stopped in his tracks from some solid defending from Donovan Simmonds. Fifteen year old prodigy Dan Crowley was twice involved in an attack which led to Jack Jebb blasting over before Wood took the lead after twelve minutes.
A long ball forward was headed down by Calum Willock into the path of Graeme Montgomery who hit a curling volley beyond Deyan Iliev, leaving the Macedonian no chance. Five minutes later Mario Noto doubled the lead with a low free kick that evaded the Gunners wall finding the bottom left hand corner of Iliev’s net.
It was a lead that Wood were keen to protect, at the same time threatening to extend, with a Noto corner headed back into danger by Luke Garrard finding Liam Enver-Marum who spun to shoot just over. Minutes later a low cross from the right by Noto was missed by two Gunners defenders, with Enver-Marum failing to convert at the far post for a third.
Wood found the visitors floundering in defence and a superb cross from the left by Montgomery picked out Willock whose header was just too high to make an impact on the score. Crowley shot just gaining a rare sight of goal, with the Wood defence in superb form.
A cleared ball from Ben Nunn was helped on by a fine header from Enver-Marum allowing Montgomery and Willock to exchange passes. Montgomery looking for his second of the game hit a well struck shot from eighteen yards out that Iliev kept out well.
The visitors let their frustrations show before half time, with Wood winning the first half battle hands down.
Substitute Wellington Silva almost made a dream start when he ghosted past Mark Jones and Enver-Marum hitting a shot across goal that was inches wide.
Wood immediately responded with Montgomery playing Simmonds through down the right channel, only for the recent signing from Chelmsford City to blast over. It was the impressive Simmonds who provided for Wood’s third after fifty-two minutes. His industrious run to the goal line down the right wing produced a fine cross that Charlie Moone met superbly heading against the crossbar, allowing Willock to seal the win pouncing upon the rebound to head home.
A plethora of Substitutions served to break up play with James Russell tipping over a Nico Yennaris effort, before Greg Morgan hit a fierce volley just over the bar, Wood’s first effort on goal for almost half an hour.
There was to be no way back for the young Gunners, leaving Ian Allinson delighted with the afternoon’s shift put in by his Squad. “They were a very young side and we proved to be just too strong for them. We defended from the front exceptionally well today giving James Russell a relatively quiet afternoon. Up front we are looking sharper, yet we are by no means match fit yet and we will get better. All in all it was a very pleasing team performance.”
Team: Russell (Sub – Knight 82 mins.), Nunn (Sub – Thompson 52 mins.), Jones (Sub – Doolan 69 mins.), Bentley, Reynolds (Sub – Moone 45 mins.), Garrard, Simmonds, Noto, Willock (Sub – Sterling-Parker 64 mins.), Montgomery (Sub – Brown 77 mins.), Enver-Marum (Sub – Morgan 64 mins.).
Goals: Boreham Wood: Montgomery 12, Noto 17, Willock 52.