F.A. Challenge Cup with Budweiser – Fourth Qualifying Round
Hayes & Yeading United 2 Boreham Wood 3
by John Mead
A truly emotional afternoon for all concerned saw Wood recover from an early two goal deficit to record one of the greatest comebacks in the Club’s history to book a plum First Round Proper tie at home to League One Brentford.
Wood fans did not wait long for the news of the draw, which was made prior to kick off. The third and fourth balls out of the bag signalled the prize at stake, a home tie, something that Wood were unaccustomed to. Yet the Hayes & Yeading United contingent dreaming of a plum all Middlesex tie were the first to celebrate, storming into a two goal lead after just five minutes on what was to be one of the roller coaster rides of the Cup this Season to date. It took Jerome Anderson just 14 seconds to lash home a world class strike from the edge of the area on the right, bursting the top right hand corner of James Russell’s net, leaving the ‘keeper absolutely no chance whatsoever.
The very next piece of action of note came in the fifth minute courtesy of a cheap foul conceded by Chez Isaac. Daniel Wishart stepped up to the plate doubling the lead with a fine left footed free kick around the Wood wall, which left Russell unsighted until late and his full stretch dive was in vain, beaten by the pace of the ball. Driven on by a midfield master-class by Sam Cox, United controlled proceedings for the next thirty minutes. David Hutton gave Wood an early rare glimpse of hope when Graeme Montgomery and Mauro Vilhete combined sending Inih Effiong through down the right. He passed his marker sending a fine cross over which Hutton hit on the volley, only for James Beasant to make a fine save parrying the on target effort. United began a shoot on sight tactic sensing a vulnerability at the back, which proved to be a false dawn as Russell dealt with everything thereafter that came his way.
Wood were not allowed to settle but this current side find losing unfamiliar territory and the pressure exerted upon Beasant by Cliff Akurang, who was superb all afternoon, led to him skying a clearance that then hit a defender falling at the feet of Effiong. It could have been the miss that cost the tie such was the paucity of chances created by Wood in the first half hour, but the lack of control proved in the long run to be non influential.
Hutton sent over a dangerous free kick from the left which struck the crossbar and thereafter United struggled to clear their lines. Further crosses came in from Isaac, then Montgomery, from which the United defence lost sight of Vilhete. He peeled clear of his marker and on the turn struck the shot past Beasant that gave his side the belief that the tie was alive after thirty-one minutes. Isaac then hit a screamer just wide after a superb passage of possession as Wood began to turn the whole tie around. Referee Mr. Kendall was busy in the last minute of the half, when ‘keeper Beasant and Charlie O’Loughlin collided at a corner, which led to a melee which resulted in the prostrate O’Loughlin, Mark Jones and United’s Kudus Oyenuga entering the notebook.
Ben Nunn stopped Oyenuga in his tracks as he almost put the tie to bed with a superbly timed challenge, before Akurang robbed Cox allowing Hutton to send Effiong through down the left. It was now Beasant’s turn to keep his side in the game. United seemed to have placated Wood’s threat to grab an equaliser after the interval before the game was set alight after fifty-five minutes. Oyenuga broke from his own half and raced into the penalty area with Jones in pursuit. The centre forward went to ground and Mr. Kendall promptly produced a yellow card for simulation, leaving the home side down to ten men.
Ian Allinson responded to the situation replacing Effiong with Omer Riza, yet for a period it seemed to have a negative effect, with Wood going flat in front of goal. Riza took twelve minutes to get a touch, but it was worth the wait, bursting free down the left he hit a low curling effort that was inches wide of the right hand post, a signal that Wood were again in the tie. Beasant could only parry Isaac’s shot behind for a corner as the fresh legs of Greg Morgan were introduced. Isaac then turned provider for Akurang who headed just over. With time running out the ten men of Hayes & Yeading United looked to be holding on for the plum tie with Brentford before two stunning goals in a minute turned the whole afternoon on its head. Nunn, who had created so much down the right wing all afternoon played in Isaac who won a corner. The ball was cleared to the edge of the area where Nunn shaped up to hit a cracking low drive that took a deflection en route to the bottom right hand corner of Beasant’s goal for the long awaited equaliser. A minute later and the full emotion and thrills of the F.A. Challenge Cup spilled over. Mauro Vilhete played Riza through down the inside right channel and he held off a defender before smashing home an unstoppable drive beyond Beasant to complete the most improbable of comebacks. Three minutes thereafter and United were down to nine men as Wood threatened to run riot. Tom Cadmore pulled back Akurang who was clean through on the edge of the area to earn his second yellow of the game, a position from where there was simply no way back from.
After the whistle Wood Boss praised his side’s, “Immense character to come back from such a start. They were on a high and had managed to produce two fantastic strikes within five minutes of the start. We could do little about either, although we gave away a cheap free kick that lead to the second United goal. It took us twenty-five minutes to put them under any pressure, but after we pulled a goal back I fancied us for a draw. Then ill discipline, which we ourselves have been victims of this Season played a part and they lost their heads. We showed great resolve and will enjoy the moment before we prepare ourselves for the trip to Weston-super-Mare next Saturday, which is our immediate priority.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Vilhete (Sub – Noto 88 mins.), O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Hutton (Sub – Morgan 70 mins.), Isaac, Akurang, Effiong (Sub – Riza 57 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Close, Jefford, Scott-Morris, Baker-Owers.
Bookings: O’Loughlin, Jones, Riza.
Goals: Hayes & Yeading United: Anderson 1, Wishart 5. Boreham Wood: Vilhete 31, Nunn 78, Riza 79.
Man of the Match: Ben Nunn.