THE FA CUP
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Boreham Wood 3-0 Barton Rovers
By John Mead.
Maidstone United form the next challenge for Ian Allinson’s side who overcame tough opposition from two Divisions below them at the second attempt.
Wood rode their luck against the plucky visitors first half with Sam Cox breaking the deadlock, giving Wood a frail advantage at the interval. It was a more composed Wood though that emerged from the dressing room. That said the game was evenly balanced until a piece of individual skill from Donovan Simmonds and a Mario Noto penalty ended the Bedfordshire sides’ run in the competition.
On the positive side, Wood have now gone four matches without conceding a goal from open play. This was also their third consecutive clean sheet which will give the side renewed confidence going into next Saturday’s tough encounter with high flying Bromley at Meadow Park.
Slack marking from a corner allowed Ricky Case to head against the post after just four minutes for the visitors. A minute later a cynical and late challenge by Paul Barnes on Jerome Jibodu earned the striker a yellow card, giving the promising Luton Town loanee an injury that he never fully recovered from.
Bobby Dance then forced James Russell into a low save from a well struck free kick. Matthew Ball found his range testing Rovers shot stopper Grant Beckwith before Russell was called upon to keep his side in the tie. Dance played Rhys Hoenes through down the middle and with the goal gaping Russell made a superb block rushing out to smother his effort.
Mark Jones showing no signs of honeymoon fatigue played a ball inside for Sam Cox who hit it sweetly from thirty yards out causing Beckwith to tip over the bar to safety.
Wood slowly grew in confidence and a fine passing move led to the opening goal after 38 minutes. Jones was involved feeding Matthew Whichelow who in turn supplied Simmonds. His lay off inside for Cox allowed the diminutive midfielder the space required to strike a low shot that found the space between the diving Beckwith and his right hand post.
Billy Lobjoit playing out on the right wing missed the chance to end a fine crossfield move involving Cox, Ball and Whichelow, before the visitors went close after a fine delivery from the left from Dance to the far post just before the interval.
Wood emerged a more relaxed and resilient outfit after the break . Ball hit a screamer that needed a fine save from Beckwith before the lame Jibodu was withdrawn for Mark Bentley, with Cox moving to right back.
Russell then made a potential match winning save. With Case bearing down on goal he timed his run off the line to perfection stealing the ball bravely away from the Rovers midfielder.
Noto then gave away possession cheaply with Russell again earning his stripes to deny Case.
The game swang in Wood’s favour after 58 minutes. Simmonds who had worked tirelessly all evening stepped up a gear to double the lead. With his back to goal his touch yielded the necessary space to spin and shoot across Beckwith. It was a rare occasion that the ability and quality between the two sides was obvious.
Six minutes later a rejuvenated Whichelow found his path to goal impeded by two Rovers defenders. Referee Mr Harris was convinced and Noto supplied the necessary quality from the spot to end the game as a contest.
Hoenes had a couple of efforts blocked, Tommy Hull headed straight at Russell, but the game was up for Rovers as Wood eased through the latter stages of the game to book their trip to Maidstone United.
For Ian Allinson it was, “ A tough evening. They came here as underdogs with nothing to lose and they possess some good players who form a very good side who have lost just once all season. I got into the players at half time and told them they needed to go and do things better. Their composure improved and it saw us through. We will probably go to Maidstone as underdogs even though they are in the Ryman Premier given their fan base and current form. However for now we need to keep working and I take a lot of positives from another clean sheet. My focus is now firmly on the visit of Bromley next Saturday.”
Team: Russell, Jibodu (Bentley 51), Jones, Cox, O’Loughlin, Garrard, Noto, Ball, Simmonds ( Sterling-Parker 71), Lobjoit, Whichelow.
Subs not used: Woolley, Montgomery, Sogbanmu, Courtnage, Hastings.
Bookings: Cox, Bentley.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Cox 38, Simmonds 58, Noto (pen) 64.
Man Of The Match: Sam Cox.