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MATCH REPORT: BOREHAM WOOD VS SUTTON UNITED
On a cold Tuesday night, played on a slick but perfect Meadow Park surface. Luke Garrard’s men, put the FA Cup defeat to Notts County well and truly behind them, as they made it two league wins on the spin and put another six valuable league points on the board in the process.
Those two wins have taken the poorly supported club, to the heady heights of seventh top, in the top tier of non league football and has left the loyal Wood Army very happy indeed.
After Saturdays hard fought 2-0 win, over ex league club Southport. Wood gaffer Luke Garrard was forced into making one enforced change. As he named Bristol Rovers loanee striker Jamie Lucas, in the starting line up in place of Woods injured top scorer, Morgan Ferrier, who was missing with a slight hamstring tweak..
With Lucas, also being Boreham Wood’s top goal scorer from last season, and now fit after an appendix operation. It was a another chance for the young striker to shine and it was a change that Garrard obviously felt very comfortable in making.
Wood unlike Southport on Saturday, started the game brightly. In fact they flew out of the traps, pinning a sluggish Sutton side back deep inside their own half. This was not so much the normal Wood counter attacking game but more a Boreham Wood side, being told to get on the front foot from the off..
Ironically though when the first chance of the evening came, it was from a normal type of Wood counter attack, with Bruno Andrade marauding down the right hand side, before delivering a great ball into the box to the feet of Jamie Lucas. Unfortunately a heavy first touch from the striker, took the ball away and allowed Sutton keeper Ross Worner to collect.
The ex Charlton and Sutton striker Chris Dickson, who up to this point had been anonymous. Suddenly came alive, in the Wood box and he had a great chance to put the visitors ahead. A quick Sutton counter, resulted in a deep ball into the Wood back post. That was headed back across goal by strike partner Craig McAllister, for Dickson, who had found space and with the goal gaping, put the chance over and any advantage that Sutton would of gained was gone..
With Wood still bossing the game overall, it was just a matter of time before they converted a number of half chances, and that was how it played out. In the 22nd minute Woods steady pressure paid off, as they got the breakthrough that their performance to this point deserved. Again It was the impressive wing play from Bruno Andrade down the right that caused the problems. As he again put the ball into the Sutton box, Woods returning striker Jamie Lucas, won the resulting header flicking the ball onto Anthony Jeffrey at the back post. Jeffrey took one touch to compose himself, before finishing with aplomb beyond Worner and into the far corner of the net..
A confident Anthony Jeffrey, is always a threat at this level, and he was at it again shortly after, when he nearly both doubled his goal tally on the night and doubled the home sides lead. Jeffrey cut in from the right at pace, beat his man with ease and gave himself a yard of space, before forcing Sutton custodian Worner, into a another good save low down to his right.
Wood were at this point controlling proceedings comfortably, and as the minutes ticked down towards half time. The man of the match to this point, Bruno Andrade felt his groin just moments before the half time whistle and Woods dominance dwindled from this point..
Despite Andrade’s best attempts to run it off, he was sensibly replaced by Conor Clifford at half time. This meant a slight reshuffle for Luke Garrard’s men, as Clifford slotted into the middle of midfield, with Angelo Balanta, going out into the wide right position.
Clifford wasted no time getting involved, as he stupidly committed a foul in a dangerous area on the edge of the Wood box. Sutton’s Nicky Bailey, from the resultant free kick, whipped in a good ball from the left, that was met again by Chris Dickson, but he fortunately for the home sides back four, headed just over.
Wood were at this point, nowhere near as comfortable as they had been in the first half. But when Angelo Balanta showed his class, holding the ball up, waiting for the support of teammate Conor Clifford, a second goal looked on. Clifford took the ball in his stride but took his touch sent him slightly wide of goal, his shot though well struck, was rushed and easily blocked by Sutton defensive stalwart Beckwith.
Angelo Balanta, was now beginning to pick holes in the Sutton defence and he picked the ball up in the middle of the park, with the outside of his foot and quickly sent the ball out wide to Wood’s talismanic Anthony Jeffrey, who was sitting in acres of space.
The on loan Forest Green Rovers man, who the Boreham Wood Chairman had described in his programme notes on the night, “as an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum” drove into the space vacated by Sutton’s retreating back four, before blazing a rising effort just over the bar.
Sutton who until this point had been a little negative, were to their credit now pushing for an equaliser, and for the first time committing men forward.
However that was nearly their undoing, as a hopeful ball was cleared to Wood striker Jamie Lucas, he sprayed the ball wide to Anthony Jeffrey, who found himself with just a defender to beat. He did that a little too easily but his effort was once again well saved, by the busy Worner as Wood looked to put the game beyond Sutton.
The game though always competitive, now looked over as the fourth official indicated a minimum of four minutes of added time, but Sutton clearly hadn’t read the script and Wood keeper Grant Smith had a rush of blood, as he came for a stock ball, that it was clear he was going to get nowhere near.
The loose ball dropped to Sutton’s Bedsente Gomis, whose goalbound shot was blocked by Woods veteran defender Joe Devera. If that wasn’t bad enough, in a game that Wood had controlled from the start and up to the 90th minute. There was now another hand in mouth moment to deal with, as Sutton pressed hard for an undeserved equaliser.
Another stock long ball was played into the Wood box. It gave Wood custodian Grant Smith another decision to make, and he chose to punch but got his timing all wrong. Thankfully for Wood the ball did fall kindly for the England C goalkeeper, and he was able to gather at the second attempt.
Then final drama of the evening was played out, as Sutton were awarded a corner with just seconds left. Up came the kitchen sink and that included Sutton keeper Ross Worner. Wood gaffer Luke Garrard, countered Sutton manager Paul Doswell use of his keeper as an extra attacking threat. By a last seconds substitute of his own in centre half Matt Paine.
Paine to Garrard’s relief, won the initial header from the corner, but It fell to Sutton keeper Ross Worner, who conjured up a spectacular overhead kick, to put the ball back into the danger zone. Wood though had their rock on the night Dave Stephens, in the right place as he won the loose ball and the referee thankfully blew for full time.
Wood had been made to work hard in the end for the three points, but it was in truth deserved win. This game though should serve as a reminder, that if you don’t kill a game off at one nil when dominating, then anything can happen in the final minutes at this level.
Wood Chairman Danny Hunter, who has witnessed four promotions in the last ten years, and is now trying to deal with possibly the lowest support base in the National league said “it’s been a great start to our season, but it’s a tough, tough league and nobody should get carried away”..
“It was only a year ago that we were stuck in the bottom four, and everyone thought I was mad to promote an untried young assistant manager up, after I had lost Ian Allinson. Only hindsight tells you if you mess up, but It doesn’t feel such a mad decision tonight I’m pleased to say”.
What i can say though, Is that Luke Garrard, his coaching staff, the players and my day to day staff work so hard to keep such a small club ticking over. They all have my thanks for the jobs that they are doing, and as long as nobody gets carried away, we can continue to improve and I’m just pleased for everyone”..
“They really do deserve both mine, the towns and the Wood Army’s support. As such I am going to run minibuses up to Guiseley this Saturday for just £20 return. I will include breakfast at the club for the fans before they depart, and If they take up that offer, I will put on free transport and lunch for them before we depart for the Christmas away game down at Eastleigh, on the 27th December”.. The Chairman concluded.
Anyone interested in giving the players a bit of support, should contact media manager Grant Morris who runs our travel club on firstname.lastname@example.org to book their place on the minibus this Saturday.
Boreham Wood: Smith, Nunn, Ilesanmi, Ricketts, Stephens, Devera, Davis (Paine), Balanta, Jeffrey (Woodards), Andrade (Clifford), Lucas
Not used: Uchechi, Thomas,