Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 3 Billericay Town 0
by John Mead
An Inih Effiong hat-trick brushed aside the visitors from Essex who were outplayed from start to finish at fortress Meadow Park. Wood have conceded just once in five starts at home and this was the fourth time they have posted three goals in a game at home, making it a daunting place to come for visiting teams.
With other sides yet to play their tenth matches of the Competition, Wood are now third in the table, just a point behind joint leaders Salisbury City and Dorchester Town who meet tomorrow.
The victory was not without consequence. Omer Riza lasted just nine minutes before succumbing to a groin injury. His replacement Effiong stepped up to the plate in some style, with the outstanding Graeme Montgomery providing the flair in the absence of Riza.
A mistimed challenge by Junior Luke on Luke Garrard in the second half left the Wood Captain unable to continue, seen leaving the dugout on crutches with an ice pack strapped to his ankle at the final whistle. Garrard along with Charlie O’Louglin and Ben Nunn returned straight into the side after serving their three match suspensions and to a man were fired up and ready for the challenge.
Wood produced some of their best football of the Season, yet at half time were just a goal to the good with very few other chances of note to reflect upon. Wood Boss Ian Allinson accused his side of “trying to force things early on before getting ahead, from which point we settled down, shortened our passing game and went on to dominate.” Montgomery swung a fine cross over from the right which Riza stretched to meet firing just wide, before limping off. It took Wood a while to re-adjust, with Montgomery leading the charge with a truly memorable performance. James Russell was a virtual spectator in the Wood goal, with O’Loughlin insurmountable upon his return to action.
Confidence ebbed through the Wood side, with O’Loughlin’s clearance touched on by Hutton, he released Effiong who tried to find the space to shoot before his effort was eventually charged down.
Cliff Akurang then sublimely left his marker passing him on his blind side before charging towards goal, his shot careering just wide of Dale Brightly’s right hand post. The breakthrough came in the thirty-fourth minute. Chez Isaac sprayed a quick first time ball out to Ben Nunn on the right wing. Nunn moving at some pace managed to produce a fine curling ball straight onto the head of Effiong, who outjumped his marker to glance a fine header beyond Brightly. It was no more than Wood deserved for their efforts to date.
Luke’s massive throw-in almost caught the Wood defence out cold, before Montgomery orchestrated proceedings with his passing and moving game. Effiong had a great opportunity to make it two after fifty minutes. Montgomery’s sixty yard cross field ball was touched on by Mark Jones for David Hutton. His cross was perfect for the run of the giant forward yet he skied his shot when perfectly placed. Three minutes later he atoned. A route one clearance and a poor decision from Chris Wild to allow the ball to bounce and Effiong pounced, running on to finish with aplomb past Brightly.
Thereafter the game opened up and with Isaac breaking up everything that went through the middle of the park and the likes of Akurang getting back to assist admirably in defence it was a lost cause for the visitors. Nunn provided his second assist after sixty-six minutes for Effiong to complete a convincing hat-trick. Montgomery started the move and with Nunn playing the ball inside from the right to feet, Effiong spun and left the hapless Wild standing, before smashing home his and Wood’s third of the night.
Montgomery played on until the end, trying an audacious lob with minutes remaining as Wood closed out yet another superb home performance.
A great win, but Ian Allinson was adamant at the final whistle, “We played better at Tonbridge Angels after going two down in seven minutes. That said if we can take this on to Northwood in the F.A. Challenge Cup on Saturday I will be very pleased. Inih took his chances very well tonight and we looked comfortable after going ahead.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Garrard (Sub – Morgan 74 mins.), O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Hutton, Isaac, Riza (Sub – Effiong 9 mins.), Akurang (Sub – Scott-Morris 85 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Close, Jefford.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Effiong 34, 53, 66.
Man of the Match: Inih Effiong.