Blue Square Bet South
Thurrock 1 Boreham Wood 3
by John Mead
Wood Manager Ian Allinson hailed this must win victory against fellow strugglers Thurrock as “A magnificent effort against all odds that shows how much we have learnt so far this Season.”
With the Wood defence totally decimated through injury, Bradley Fraser earned a rare start alongside Ryan Moran in the heart of the defence. Moran’s contribution lasted just thirty-five minutes. Rob Swaine’s mistimed challenge earned Wood a penalty and Moran a trip to hospital with a gashed shin, leaving the defence even shorter on numbers. The injured Alan Inns and Luke Wilkinson are the latest victims, joining Luke Garrard and the unavailable Mike Cestor as absentees.
Those who stepped up earned Allinson’s praise. “Bradley has not trained with the First Team for over five months and came in and did a fantastic job. Daniel Brathwaite, in only his second game since returning from injury, was forced to play an unnatural centre back role after Ryan got injured. It was not pretty but Elliott Godfrey took his chances fantastically and everybody gave more than 100 per cent. It was a case of throwing bodies in front of the ball and even with the amount of possession Thurrock enjoyed they did not really trouble Wes Foderingham too often.”
Allinson praised the Crystal Palace Loan goalkeeper, also drafted in due to Elvijs Putnins’ injury, for his fantastic stop at 1 – 3 to seal the victory.” Lynval Duncan had a debut to forget for Fleet, when after fourteen minutes his short back pass meant for ‘keeper Joe Woolley was pounced upon by Godfrey whose lightning quick reaction allowed him to round the stranded ‘keeper and with seconds to spare roll the ball home for the opener.
The giant centre back Swaine was booked for a late challenge that left Greg Morgan writhing. He managed to stay on the field from the resultant free kick which Nicky Nicolau delivered from the right. It was knocked down for Moran who was sent to hospital as a result of Swaine’s clumsy challenge.
Mario Noto stepped up to fire a well taken penalty that was palmed away by the diving Woolley, although Noto made no mistake from the rebound and Wood were two goals ahead after 36 minutes.
Sam Hurrell replaced Moran with Nicolau reverting to left back sending Brathwaite into the heart of the defence. Godfrey was unlucky to have a goal bound shot hit a defender and go behind for a corner as the half ended.
Another Fleet debutant had better fortune reducing the deficit after fifty minutes. Tommy Tejan-Sie broke down the left and with the Wood defence pulled out of position Colchester United work experience centre forward Freddie Ladapo, introduced after the interval, blasted home Tejan-Sie’s left sided cross.
Godfrey then somehow failed to connect with a superb delivery from the left from Nicolau, when well placed, yet made amends minutes later. Nicolau sent a lofted ball forward for David Bryant to chase forcing Woolley out to the edge of his area to head clear. The ‘keeper’s looping clearance fell for Godfrey who executed a brilliant lob straight back over the ‘keeper’s head to make it 1 – 3 after 62 minutes.
Wood survived a period of sustained possession thereafter from the home side, but a combination of guts, steel and hurling bodies in front of the ball restricted Foderingham to rare saves. Substitute Reece Harris went close with five minutes remaining yet a full stretch reaction save signalled there was no way back for Fleet.
The win lifts Wood to the heady heights of seventeenth, their best position in the League to date. However with other sides having games in hand and Ebbsfleet United, who have already comprehensively beaten Wood twice this Season, next on the agenda, there is still plenty of work for Ian Allinson and his patched together defence to think about!
Team: Foderingham, Kamara, Brathwaite, Fraser, Moran (Sub – Hurrell 38 mins.), Noto, Morgan (Sub – Sogbanmu 71 mins.), Risbridger (Sub – Maledon 90+4 mins.), Bryant, Godfrey, Nicolau.
Subs (Not used): Cochrane, Lewis.
Booking: Kamara. Goals: Thurrock: Ladapo 50. Boreham Wood: Godfrey 14, 62. Noto 36.
Man of the Match: Elliott Godfrey.