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MATCH REPORT: BOREHAM WOOD VS SOUTHPORT
Boreham Wood after the midweek FA Cup defeat at Notts County, got back not only to their National league programme, but got back to winning ways for the first time in November.
They were up against another ex football league side Southport. Who had been on a great run of form, and in fact arrived at Meadow Park unbeaten in seven league games since, the appointment of Steve Burr as manager.
On a bitterly cold afternoon at Meadow Park, it was again noticeable to the Wood faithful, that the towns once a season cup supporters were conspicuous by their absence.
There is, as was detailed in the Chairmans programme notes today. A real danger that any momentum and feel good factor, that the club has built, could be derailed by falling crowds and the 314 hardy souls who turned up today, need the missing town to come and watch this talented team.
Luke Garrard in fact made just one change, from the side that bowed out the FA Cup in midweek. Installing fit again centre half David Stephens into the heart of the defence, in place of the physically drained Matt Paine who dropped to the bench.
It was Southport though who came out of the blocks the fastest, and they really put Wood under pressure, forcing three corners early on. Although they rarely troubled the Wood goal and Wood keeper Grant Smith had very little to do.
Right back Ben Nunn was now finding good positions, and from one of these forays forward, he crossed for Angelo Balanta who cushioned a header into the path of Bruno Andrade, who’s first time volley went wide.
As he became more influential, Angelo Balanta again played a ball into the feet of striker Morgan Ferrier. The powerful striker held off his defender, sending the ball out wide to Anthony Jeffrey. Jeffrey in turn eased past his man before putting a quality ball into the box. It was just waiting for a touch but it got a fortunate deflection off a Southport defender who managed to divert the ball to safety.
The move of the game though was not long in coming, and it resulted in Wood taking the lead. It came when Anthony Jeffrey tracked back, he won the ball deep inside his own half, before carrying the ball the length of the pitch at pace. He then had the presence of mind, to lay it off perfectly fir Kenny Davis, who played a neat one two with Angelo Balanta, before cooling slotting beyond Magnus Norman and Wood had taken a 1-0 lead.
Garrard though was worryingly forced into a change on 41 minutes. When star striker Morgan Ferrier went down in the box under no apparent challenge holding his leg. He was quickly replaced by last seasons top goal scorer Jamie Lucas, and as such the teams shape stayed the same.
For all of Southports possession they were still ineffective in the Wood half, and other than a Jamie Allen snap shot from distance, there was nothing that troubled Grant Smith and even that effort was well off target.
Anthony Jeffrey though continued his recent good form, and he again showed his class when he got to the by-line, put a deep cross into the box for Bruno Andrade who again volleyed wide.
Southport finally realised the game was perhaps passing them by, and they began pressing for an equaliser. They had to be aware though, of conceding a second as Wood still countered quickly, through the front four of Lucas, Balanta, Jeffrey and Andrade.
Through one of these counter attacks, Anthony Jeffrey put in another terrific cross and but for a poor first touch from the rusty Jamie Lucas that ended with another Wood chance gone, the game could of been ended at that moment.
Minutes later though Southport got themselves a corner. Centre half Josh Thompson, came up for it but spurned a good chance to level, when the Wood defence could only half clear the ball.
Southport were now enjoying the lions share of possession, and when Ben Nunn was forced into making a last ditch tackle to prevent Andrai Jones from a tap in following a great cross from Ben McKenna, the Wood Army feared the worst.
However a second Wood goal was always on the cards and it nearly came, when a long throw into Angelo Balanta, resulted in a swung right foot at the loose ball from the edge of the area. The shot rose steeply just skimming the crossbar and went out for a Southport goal kick.
Wood Substitute Jamie Lucas, who has had to endure an injury hit campaign so far. Got his season started, as his hard work on the training pitch was rewarded, when he doubled the Woods lead in the 77th minute.
A poor ball across the Southport goal, was well intercepted by the alert Anthony Jeffrey. Jeffrey took a touch before playing in Jamie Lucas, who made no mistake with his left foot, for his first goal of the season.
As the game petered to a finish, both Wood striker Jamie Lucas and wide man Bruno Andrade, forced goods saves from the Southport keeper Magnus Norman and that looked to be it.
However in added time, Southport very nearly gave themselves a lifeline, when out of nothing a half volley from Ben McKenna on the edge of the Wood area, stung the palms of Grant Smith, who had to be at his best to palm the ball over and that was the last of the match day action.
Wood have now quietly moved up to eighth place in the National League and next up at Meadow Park, are old adversaries Sutton United this Tuesday with a 7:45 kick off.
Just how long this talented squad can stay up there though, is anyone’s guess. With such a poor home gate of just 314, lets hope that a few more of the townsfolk can be bothered to turn up and support this talented squad on Tuesday night.
Boreham Wood: Smith, Nunn, Ilesanmi, Devera, Stephens, Ricketts, Davis, Balanta, Jeffrey (Woodards), Andrade, Ferrier (Lucas)
Subs: Paine, Clifford, Uchechi