Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 2 Maidenhead United 1
by John Mead
Two goals from Luke Norris opened up a five point gap over the chasing pack as Wood recorded back to back home victories, a return to the fine form of last year at fortress Meadow Park. Solidifying their fourth placed spot, this victory took on a twist of fate with eight minutes remaining. Referee Mr. Atkin was forced to retire through injury, resulting in a P A plea for an Official to step in. It could not have been a better night, with highly respected Blue Square Referee Ash. Degnarain, a Boardroom guest on the evening, duly obliging.
Maidenhead United must have been sensing divine intervention at this twist of fate. It was Degnarain who presided over both their 0 – 6 victory at Staines Town and their 8 – 0 home thrashing of Truro City earlier on this Season! However, Wood held firm for the eleven minutes of stoppage time after the restart.
A shaky start from Wood allowed the visitors to threaten early on, Harry Pritchard got in behind the defence, yet nobody was on hand to finish the move, before Alex Wall dragged a shot wide of the target.
With Lewis Toomey thrown straight into the starting eleven after signing from St. Albans City, on Loan strike partner Luke Norris had barely exchanged pleasantries before The Magpies took the lead after seventeen minutes. Mark Jones was beaten on the right by Daniel Brown who got the ball down well, before expertly getting his angles right with a fine shot across James Russell into the top right hand corner of the net.
The visitors kept Wood at bay who were restricted to a Callum Reyholds header which was cleared off the line, until Norris struck after thirty-eight minutes. A Graeme Montgomery free kick failed to penetrate and was returned to the midfielder who fed Mauro Vilhete. His ball along the ground was perfect for Norris whose first time volley was goal bound, yet headed off target by a defender for a corner. The pressure told on The Magpies defence with Greg Morgan’s flighted delivery from the left headed on at the near post by Omar Beckles, allowing Norris to smash home at the far post from close range. Wood had a goal disallowed six minutes later when Morgan again the provider picked out Toomey from a free kick. His slide rule pass across goal allowed Charlie O’Loughlin to fire home albeit from a slightly offside position.
Vilhete started a fine second half spell for Wood after fifty minutes when he embarked upon a run at goal, his shot deflected off target by a defender. It was a more composed Wood going forward now. Toomey and Omar Beckles combined playing Vilhete through where he ran into a defender just inside the area. Shouts for a penalty fell on deaf ears, leaving Vilhete nursing a dead leg.
The eventual winner came via a long clearance down the centre of the park. Norris timed his run to perfection allowing the ball to drop over his shoulder before superbly lobbing Billy Lumley, making it three goals in as many games for the Brentford youngster.
Russell then made two saves to deny Wall, with the visitors looking a real threat when in possession. A treble substitution with sixteen minutes remaining, by Ian Allinson, introduced Omer Riza and Cliff Akurang into the attack, whilst David Hutton filled in for the lame Vilhete.
The visitors went close with efforts from Reece Tison-Lascaris, then Lee Barney before the injury to Mr. Atkin superceded a frantic last few minutes. Its main feature was ‘keeper Billy Lumley coming right up field for a corner when there was still five minutes to play, giving the evening a Cup tie feel. It was almost their undoing as Riza was allowed to break feeding Akurang whose end product was poor and wide of the open goal that awaited him.
Speaking after the game Ian Allinson informed, “Unfortunately Brentford are recalling Luke Norris for the weekend, which is a pity as he is just starting to find his feet at this level after playing Academy football. We obviously respect their needs and hope to revisit the Loan move shortly. It was a tough old game tonight, they are a decent side. Our ball retention was not as good as it could have been but we were outstanding defensively and we dug in very deep for the three points, which was a vast improvement on last month’s efforts.” Looking ahead Allinson added, “We have two very tough games coming up this weekend. We travel to Eastleigh who have a fantastic home record, then host Havant & Waterlooville, another improving side whom I have watched and found them one of the better sides I have seen this Season.”
Team: Russell, Beckles, Jones, Vilhete (Sub – Hutton 74 mins.), O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Isaac, Norris (Sub – Riza 74 mins.), Toomey (Sub – Akurang 74 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Close, Hastings.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Norris 38,57. Maidenhead United: Brown 17.
Man of the Match: Luke Norris.