Blue Square Bet South
Chelmsford City 3 Boreham Wood 1
by John Mead
It is almost impossible to justify the score line after watching Boreham Wood totally outplay the team with the best home record in the Division for the entire first half and then hold their own in the second. Wood had deservedly taken the lead after outclassing the opposition with a fine finish from Ola Sogbanmu after 34 minutes.
That after City should have been reduced to ten men after a hopelessly mistimed tackle on Greg Morgan by Takumi Ake, who was high and nowhere near the ball yet received only a yellow card.
Referee Mr. Butler then gave City a lifeline with a first half stoppage time penalty after Alan Inns and Robert Edmans climbed on the edge of the area to contest a high ball. Inns was adjudged to have handled, although certainly not deliberately. Dave Rainford blasted home to give the home side parity in a game they hitherto struggled to impose themselves upon.
Then against the run of play Wood were caught cold in defence from a set piece. Ben Nunn’s fine ball into danger from his free kick on the right was met by an attacker who lashed it back across goal to the far post from the left. It ran unimpeded until Matthew Lock cleverly popped up at the far post to lash home from two yards. A third goal followed seven minutes later in the 71st minute when a low driven ball from the left struck the fortunate Lock just inside the area, with the change of trajectory leaving Reading stranded.
News of Ali Chaaban’s departure from Wood to the Melbourne Park outfit gave the game an edge, although the well thought of Lebanese striker played no part on the evening. On the positive side Mike Cestor’s Loan spell from Leyton Orient was extended by a month and the left back was again outstanding. There was also a full First Team debut for twenty-two year old Jerome Maledon in midfield. Like Sogbanmu, Inns and Hurrell he also joins from Woking and looked a fine prospect with a cultured performance.
With Ian Allinson ordering both Cestor and Michael Kamara at right back forward at every occasion the home side simply could not come to terms with a resurgent Wood. Alan Inns played as if his life depended upon it, showing qualities that belied a player who was only in his second game for his new Club.
Add to that the steadfast and brilliant application from a faultless Luke Wilkinson, Wood were able to build upon the foundations of one of the best back four pairings seen in recent times. James Reading was not at fault for any of the goals and his brilliant tip over from Rainford’s deft vollley from the edge of the area after 47 minutes was superb. Morgan, whose departure through a second knock he received after Ake’s wild lunge, on the hour, took the sting out of Wood’s attack somewhat. His twenty-five yard dipping volley after nine minutes that City ‘keeper James Pullen could only watch as it sailed just over, set the tone.
It was Morgan who set up the Wood goal. It followed a sustained period of pressure during which the City defence were struggling to cope. A half cleared ball fell to Morgan who lobbed forward perfectly for Sogbanmu who gently lifted the ball over the now stranded Pullen.
There were two potentially match turning tackles, one from each side. Kamara read Ake’s run with his intervention to divert Wayne Gray’s low cross from the right after seventeen minutes saving a certain goal. Then thirty seconds prior to the Wood goal Mario Noto and Elliott Godfrey combined down the middle to send Sogbanmu through on goal, only for Sami El-Abd to deny the eighteen year old Woking Academy striker with a superb tackle. Wood went close through Inns twice, and Godfrey in what was an entertaining game, yet the high flying home side should consider themselves blessed to have come away with their magnificent home record further untainted.
I asked Wood boss Ian Allinson after the game to explain how his side came away with nothing.
“The result was borne out of a yellow card for the foul on Greg early on when on another day it would have been a straight red. The penalty was in no way ball to hand and that left Chelmsford City with a chance. You need the rub of the green when you come to play here and we simply did not get it tonight. We must take a lot of positives away with us however, as we played very well, especially in the first half.”
Team: Reading, Kamara, Cestor, Inns (Sub – Adjei 86 mins.), Wilkinson, Noto, Maledon, Godfrey, Sogbanmu, Morgan (Sub – Hurrell 60 mins.), Nicolau (Sub – Risbridger 67 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Moran (16), Baker-Owers (17).
Bookings: Sogbanmu, Inns, Noto, Risbridger.
Goals: Chelmsford City: Rainford 45+2 (pen), Lock 64,71. Boreham Wood: Sogbanmu 34.
Man of the Match: Mike Cestor.