Blue Square Bet South
Havant & Waterlooville 1 Boreham Wood 1
by John Mead
Another dominant display carrying on from the shock late defeat at home to Bromley four days earlier from Ian Allinson’s team was on this occasion good for the point that took Wood above last Season’s tally, finishing on sixty-two.
Yet it was down to an individual finish of quality from an eighteen year old who earned the point with his first touch of the game. Rob Hastings has had an inspired Season in the Elite Squad and is the Club’s overall top scorer. His incredible lob from twenty-five yards out to finally beat man mountain Clark Masters in The Hawks goal was one of the highlights of the Season.
The first half was possibly Wood’s most dominant display of the Season. Sharper, quicker and more hungry than the opposition, they carved out chance after chance, yet somehow went in a goal down at the interval. Masters saved magnificently to deny Michael Thalassitis from just eight yards out after being set up by Charlie Moone after just four minutes. With Wood playing down the slope Mario Noto then hit a decent free kick which went straight to Masters, before an attack involving Noto and Thalassitis ended with Graeme Montgomery shooting just wide of the left hand post.
The home side responded briefly when Sahr Kabba and Ollie Palmer interchanged passes drawing James Russell off his line. The League’s leading scorer, Palmer, picked his spot only for Chez Isaac to make a heroic block on the line. Mark Jones then wrestled possession finding Noto to set up a three pronged attack with Montgomery then Thalassitis sniffing for a sight of the target before releasing Moone whose low shot was palmed away by Masters.
Wood were firmly in the driving seat now and Ben Nunn set up a move down the centre of the park which involved a superb interchange of passes between Montgomery and Isaac with the latter forcing another fine stop from the Hawks star player between the sticks.
Greg Morgan then had a run at goal and a decent shot just wide before Thalassitis shot wide after some fine build up play from the impressive Nunn.
Masters then saved a certain goal when Montgomery turned inside the area sending a tantalising ball across the face of the goal. The ‘keeper got the slightest of touches necessary to take it off the feet of Moone who lay in waiting at the far post.
Callum Reynolds was inches away from converting a fine Noto delivery at the far post before the unthinkable happened in first half stoppage time. Totally against the run of play Sahr Kabba blasted home from close range after Palmer found the smallest of gaps in the Wood defence to allow the forward to finish off the counter attack he started.
It was deja vous for Wood after the interval with the pace dropping and a more even contest emerged. Masters pulled off an acrobatic diving save when Montgomery’s effort took a large deflection off of a defender as the game sprang back into life on the hour. The Hawks response was immediate with Chris Arthur breaking sixty yards with the ball down the left. His final ball across the goal mouth was perfect for Christian Nanetti, who, with the goal gaping, was thwarted by a miraculous stop from Russell who somehow clawed the effort over the bar from behind his head after spreading himself low.
Nunn and Montgomery then swapped passes with Montgomery foiled by Masters before Kabba shot wide of the left hand post when well placed.
With two minutes remaining Allinson threw on Hastings and fellow Elite player Sam Doolan. The response was emphatic. Moone put Hastings through down the left and the teenager never broke his stride before hitting a sumptious dipping drive albeit on his weaker foot to give Wood what they richly deserved after all their efforts.
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones (Sub – Doolan 88 mins.), Noto, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Isaac, Thalassitis (Sub – Toomey 46 mins.), Moone, Montgomery (Sub – Hastings 88 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Brown, Knight.
Bookings: Noto, Jones, Morgan.
Goals: Havant & Waterlooville: Kabba 45+2 Boreham Wood: Hastings 88.
Man of the Match: Chez Isaac.