Boreham Wood 0 Cambridge United 1
by John Mead
This went the way of the form book with Wood frustrated by a well organised Skrill Premier outfit. However the full timers did struggle to find a way past the well marshalled Wood defence with Mark Bentley excelling in the heart of the defence.
Wood boss Ian Allinson included three triallists in his Squad, which gave starts to striker Elion Katunga and playmaker Jake Woolley. Katunga, currently on Leyton Orient’s books, struggled along with the rest of the forward line against a workmanlike U’s outfit, with Tom Champion playing the holding role to great effect.
Woolley showed an appetite for the game but the first half produced little in the way of goal mouth action. With half an hour gone Andy Pugh had the beating of James Russell with his audacious chip, yet was denied by the crossbar after Bentley’s superb challenge on Adam Cunnington was not cleared to safety.
The last action of the half almost had the visitors ahead. Delano Sam-Yorke collected his free kick that came back off the wall and rifled a goal bound drive that James Russell brilliantly tipped over the bar to safety.
Nathan Ashton replaced Mark Jones in a like for like swap after the break, with the ex-Hereford United player looking composed.
Graeme Montgomery saw his shot deflect off a defender for a corner, but the Cambridge United rear guard were rarely troubled by Wood’s set pieces.
Second half Substitutes Luke Berry and Ryan Donaldson had the desired effect and the pair combined for the only goal of the game after seventy-one minutes. Berry who had caused the Wood defence concerns since his introduction found space down the right and picked out the run of Donaldson who strode past several challenges to place a low shot beyond the reaches of Russell.
Berry was denied on two further occasions by some superb work by Russell, before Raheem Sterling-Parker almost grabbed the headlines. In the final minute he advanced down the left channel with a clear sight of goal. His shot was well saved however by Chris Maxwell who showed his Premier League credentials at the death on what was for him a quiet afternoon.
Of some concern for Wood, who were missing Luke Garrard and Charlie O’Loughlin through injury, was the sight of Callum Reynolds making his way to the dressing room on crutches after turning an ankle.
Wood Boss Ian Allinson was left deflated at the final whistle. “We lacked a cutting edge and really created nothing in the final third until the dying moments of the game. Yes, we were playing a full time outfit who looked very strong, but we created chances against the likes of West Ham United, Brentford, Arsenal and Reading and were better than this against Watford. Scoring goals is the one thing we need to work on and in that respect it was a disappointing afternoon for me.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones (Sub – Ashton 45 mins.), Reynolds (Sub – Doolan 67 mins.), Bentley, Simmonds, Woolley (Sub – Sterling-Parker 84 mins.), Katunga (Sub – Brown 77 mins.), Montgomery (Sub – Willock 77 mins.), Morgan.
Goal: Cambridge United: Donaldson 71.