Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 6 Weston-super-Mare 3
by John Mead
Wood found themselves two goals down inside seven minutes in what was a horrendous start to this must win fixture, before recovering in some style.
The effort of the Groundsman Daniel Hunter to beat the big freeze was commendable, yet some players were clearly still scraping their windscreens in a nightmare opening. That was soon forgotten as the talented Nou Camp a-like tiny trio of Ali Chaaban, Elliott Godfrey and debutant and two goal hero Nicky Nicolau were simply irresistible going forward.
In just the second minute The Seagulls Justin Porter and Dean Grubb combined and Porter’s sumptuous lobbed ball central caught Ryan Moran out cold, leaving Marcus Duharty the task of clipping the ball beyond Ashlee Jones. Just five minutes later and a poor back pass from Moran left Jones enough time to clear, yet the ‘keeper already on the edge of his area gifted Brett Trowbridge an early Christmas present . Trowbridge shot home from twenty-five yards into an open goal.
Staring relegation in the face Wood were quick to respond with a classy goal after thirteen minutes. Gareth Risbridger released Greg Morgan down the right. Ali Chaaban on the overlap back heeled for Morgan whose low cross was knocked back central by Nicolau, setting up Mario Noto for a thunderous rising drive that left Lloyd Irish in the Seagulls goal no chance. Chaaban then played in for Godfrey at the left hand post whose presence forced Craig Rand to almost turn the ball into his own net, his blushes spared by a fellow defender’s goal line clearance.
Wood grew in stature with Noto forcing a save from Irish as the game became a very open attacking affair and a fantastic spectacle for the handful who braved the elements. On the half hour a superb ball forward from Luke Garrard picked out the run of Godfrey, who advanced to the goal line before cutting in, leaving the entire Weston back line exposed. It took a remarkable effort from Irish to deny first Chaaban then Nicolau, both point bank saves. From the resultant corner Wood equalised. Risbridger capitalised on Noto’s strength on the ball sending a low cross in from the left which Chaaban stabbed home at the near post.
Morgan had a solo effort well saved before Godfrey hit the side netting missing the target by inches as the half ended. Wood started the second half in fine fettle, although they were nearly caught on the break after 57 minutes. Dean Grubb broke from inside the Wood half at pace and his lay off for Nat Pepperell gave the visitors a great opportunity to retake the lead. Jones’ save was exemplary.
The never-say-die attitude of Wood was rewarded just seconds later when Godfrey found himself in an identical situation as Grubb. He powered over the halfway line timing his lay off into the path of Morgan to perfection whose finish beyond Irish was conclusive.
Wood were now simply irresistible and Morgan claimed a second to make it 4 – 2 eight minutes later. Luke Wilkinson’s cross from the left cleared the crowded penalty area, only for Morgan to arrive late and hit the goal of the game volleying across Irish from an unfeasible angle.
Nicolau, an Arsenal Youth player whose Career spans spells at Southend United, Swindon Town, Hereford United, Barnet, Woking and most recently Dover Athletic, got better as the game went on. He hit Wood’s fifth and sixth goals to cap a brilliant debut to remember. It was Godfrey again who broke away setting up the Cyprus “Under 21” International who made no mistake before Substitute Sahr Kabba was fouled just inside the penalty area allowing Pepperell to briefly reduce the arrears.
Nicolau’s second came as a result of the diligence of Noto and the superb lay off from the Man of the Match, Chaaban, to cap a memorable night giving Wood just their second win of the Season, which lifts them off of the foot of the table, on goal difference. Wood Manager Ian Allinson was “Happy to take the points but we need to sort out the errors that led to the horrendous start to the game. That said the character we showed in coming back was superb. Elliott Godfrey had his best game for us so far tonight, Ali Chaaban was outstanding and that was some debut from Nicky!”
Team: Jones, Garrard, Kamara (Sub – Brathwaite 49 mins.), Moran, Wilkinson, Noto, Morgan (Sub – Cochrane 78 mins.), Godfrey, Chaaban, Risbridger, Nicolau (Sub – Charge 90 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Hunter, Baker-Owers.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Noto 13, Chaaban 31, Morgan 58, 65. Nicolau 67, 81.
Weston-super-Mare: Duharty 2, Trowbridge 7, Pepperall 70 pen.
Man of the Match: Ali Chaaban.