The Skrill South
Boreham Wood 0-3 Eastleigh
By John Mead
A reverse of last seasons score line sends Eastleigh into the top four, whilst Ian Allinson’s depleted squad are left floundering down in 18th position.
It is early days but the visitors who Wood simply cannot match in terms of budget looked every bit a side destined for greater things. If they win this league it will be no surprise given the wealth of talent available.
Injury ravaged Wood looked tentatively still in the game at half time when 0-1 down. Yet a second half show from Richard Hill’s side saw them suck the glue that moulded the Wood side together slowly away, leaving them rather convincing and easy winners at the full time whistle.
With a real defensive conundrum to deal with Allinson named Sam Cox at right back, with Greg Morgan spending the majority of the game shackled at left back, with the welcome return of Charlie O’Loughlin ensuring those two along with Mark Bentley had an easier time than without his services as a fine commanding centre back.
There was no questioning the inclusion of Calum Willock to spear head the attack given Donovan Simmonds departure from the club twenty four hours before kick off.
The impressive Stuart Fleetwood rattled the upright angle of James Russell’s goal after just two minutes before Mario Noto hit a long range effort across goal at the other end.
Good pressure from Willock who wrestled possession from Chris Dillon allowed Matthew Ball a run on goal yet he failed to take advantage of his good position.
Wood enjoyed a good spell and Ball did well to cross from the right finding Graeme Montgomery who volleyed into the ground before his effort bounced over the crossbar.
Michael Green’s long throw in’s caused some concerns at the back for Wood. Twice Jai Reason had shots blocked from the offensive play. Cox was extremely effective as a right back and managed to get forward crossing for Willock who was denied by a piece of quality defending from the impressive Jamie Collins.
The game was evenly balanced until the 41st minute when The Spitfires opened up the Wood defence down the right. Reason’s pass for Dan Spence left Morgan out of the picture. Spence’s cross picked out the run of Craig McAllister who beat Bentley to the ball heading home beyond Russell.
When Willock failed to materialise for the second half after receiving a knock, Allinson’s concerns turned from defence to attack. He reshuffled the group introducing Lee Close at right back allowing Cox back into midfield. Matty Whichelow also made way for Raheem Sterling -Parker who joined Rob Hastings as a strike pair.
A Glen Southam shot was charged down by Bentley as far as Ben Strevens who forced Russell into a superb save from his bullet effort from ten yards out. Reason then dragged a decent effort wide of goal as Wood struggled to make an impact with their new line up.
The second goal arrived on the hour in a bizarre fashion. Ball who worked tirelessly all afternoon managed to dispossess Fleetwood inside the penalty area, yet the ball then rebounded off of
Fleetwood who stuck out a leg, before curling along the ground away from Russell and into the bottom left hand corner of the net. Hastings shot at Ross Flitney after controlling a through ball from Morgan, before Reason forced a finger tip save from Russell to divert a free kick as the visitors took total control of the game.
Wood did win three corners in succession and Ball was very unlucky when his volley from the edge of the area hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing just the wrong side of the line.
With eight minutes remaining Morgan failed to see out a hopeful long ball allowing a cross from the right into danger. Noto slid in to deny Strevens and referee Mr Ross pointed to the spot.
Reason smashed his effort straight down the middle leaving Wood to mull over a third straight defeat.
Team; Russell, Cox, Bentley, Hastings, O’Loughlin, Ball, Noto, Whichelow ( Close 45), Willock ( Sterling-Parker 45), Morgan, Montgomery.
Subs not used: Brown, Doolan, Courtnage.
Bookings: Ball, O’Loughlin, Noto.
Goals; McAllister 41, Fleetwood 60, Reason 82 pen.
Wood Man Of The Match: Charlie O’Loughlin.