Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Havant & Waterlooville 2
by John Mead
A dramatic game of twists and turns unravelled itself to the faithful who made the effort to turn up. The situation could not have been more edgy, with Wood in reality needing a win to maintain any real Play-off aspirations.
The roller coaster ride set off with fans barely strapped in. The first free kick of the game was pure horror for Wood. Delivered by Steve Ramsey from forty yards out, it found the hairless head of Eddie Hutchinson who was allowed to stoop and head home the softest of opening goals, after just seventy seconds!
Wood were lost somewhere in the hall of mirrors for the opening twenty minutes. Chris Arthur’s telling cross from the left was half cleared to Ramsey who hit a sweet volley that James Russell did well to repel with a two handed save. A minute later and Kelvin Bossman struck a left footed effort that required another fine stop from Russell with Wood under pressure.
When Wood finally got going they played some attractive football and from thirty minutes on enjoyed the majority of possession until the final whistle. Greg Morgan was instrumental in every decent attack. A fine ball across field by Chez Isaac allowed him to link up with Mario Noto who set up Graeme Montgomery for a low drive that was just wide. The drama intensified when Perry Ryan skipped past Luke Garrard down the right wing before going to ground right in front of the Assistant Referee who kept his flag down. However Referee Mr. Betts ordered a free kick which when delivered resulted in Ollie Palmer falling inside the area and Mr. Betts pointing to the penalty spot. It seemed justice had maybe been done therefore when Russell guessed correctly diving low to his left to push away Palmer’s effort. This excellent stop preserved Wood’s hope of the much needed victory, yet less than a minute later they again lived dangerously with Palmer heading against a post.
Wood could have been dead and buried by half time, yet Morgan offered some respite. Receiving a ball from Cliff Akurang he dribbled inside from the left finding the space to shoot with Clark Masters diving low to his right to stop a certain goal. Bossman then got in beyond Callum Reynolds only for Charlie O’Loughlin to mop up. Fast and furious football came from Wood after the break, with Isaac, Akurang and Noto combining to free Morgan who won a corner. Garrard was guilty of blasting over from just twelve yards out as the misses in front of goal began to add up.
Desperation crept into the side which served to fire them up even more. Garrard gave away a foul in a dangerous area, before throwing himself in front of the resultant power drive from Ramsey to atone. Wood were playing all the football now and the equaliser duly came. Garrard delivered the free kick from inside his own half that was knocked on for Akurang to steer home wide of Masters for only his fourth goal of the Season. Montgomery nearly hit the target after a superb move again involving Noto and Isaac, with Wood sensing victory.
Noto could have done better waiting too long to see his shot blocked when set up by Morgan, before the visitors again popped up to test the Wood defence. Palmer won a corner then almost scored from it, his header cleared off the line by Isaac. With five minutes remaining Charlie Moone and Jerome Anderson were thrown on. Their first action was decisive. Anderson hit a curling free kick into danger from the right where Moone looked to have a shooting chance, before going to ground earning a penalty.
With four minutes remaining and victory just a kick away Montgomery struck the spot kick against the base of the right hand post and the Play-offs again felt just out of reach. They were distinctly remote two minutes later. Palmer forced Russell into a diving save for a corner that was not dealt with. The ball rather fortuitously moved in the air from Chris Nanetti to Hutchinson who knocked it on to the far post where the six foot five Argentinian Juan-Cruz Gotta forced home the winner.
It was a third straight 2 – 1 defeat for Ian Allinson’s men.
Team: Russell, Nunn (Sub – Pires 70 mins.), Noto (Sub – Anderson 85 mins.), Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Isaac, Akurang, Thalassitis (Sub – Moone 85 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Hastings, Courtnage.
Bookings: Noto, Isaac, Garrard.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Akurang 71. Havant & Waterlooville: Hutchinson 2, Gotta 89.
Man of the Match: Greg Morgan.