Pre-Season Friendly

Hemel Hempstead Town    2    Boreham Wood    2

by John Mead

Two fantastic second half strikes from Substitute Inih Effiong seemed to have given
Wood victory, until conceding a last minute equalizer, in this highly competitive and entertaining outing.

Ex-Wood boss Colin Payne looks to have built a side that will challenge at the right
end of the Evo- Stick Premier Division this Season.    Their pace and use of the entire width of the pitch gave Wood boss Ian Allinson “exactly the test we were looking for.”

Wood were without James Smith, Ali Chaaban and the injured Mario Noto, who
thankfully seems to be recovering well from his last minute ankle injury sustained against Arsenal.

Encouragingly Charlie O’Loughlin coming back from injury played the first hour, before being replaced by Ruddock Yala.    The Tudors looked the livelier in front of goal first half, with Marvin Williams the main strike threat. David Pearce provided the quality from wide and the pair combined with Williams heading just over after nine minutes.

That said the Wood defence were up to the test in the main.    Ollie Palmer weaved into the box for Wood stinging the hands of Mike McEntergart.

Hemel Hempstead Town were quick to punish any errant balls and Wood relied on Osei Sankofa when Simeon Akinola made a rare mistake.    Akinola found his range forcing McEntergart to repel as far as Luke Garrard who forced a further block from the Tudors shot stopper.

Williams tested Michael Jordan for the first time after twenty-three minutes, after
which Wood held their own until the forty-third minute.    Danny May scored direct from a left sided corner that Jordan failed to keep out at his near post, his fumble giving the home side the lead going into the interval.

Wood started the second half in commanding form and Luke Wilkinson bought the save of the game out of McEntergart when connecting with a Daryl McMahon corner with his head.

A fine sweeping move from left to right from The Tudors ended with Pearce grazing
the crossbar with a rising drive, before the introduction of Effiong, Charlie Hunter and Yala after 58 minutes.

It took Effiong three minutes to make an impact.    Latching onto a clearance his connection was sweet and the resulting rising drive from twenty-five metres out left McEntergart with no chance whatsoever.

Wood sprung into action in front of goal with Akinola seeing his shot tipped over
the bar.    Effiong went one better than his first strike after sixty-eight minutes.    Chesting a ball down he took two touches going forward before hitting an even more impressive strike, this time from fully thirty-five yards that again left McEntergart spectating.    Wood looked the likelier to go on and kill the game before fresh legs were introduced by Payne.

In the very last minute Morgan Williams sent a fine ball from the left to the far
post which was knocked down superbly into the path of the impressive Pearce by
Ryan Blake and with the Wood defence pulled out of shape he finished the move
beyond Jordan to square up the game.

A late rising drive from Hunter was inches high, leaving Ian Allinson to
summarise, “I was pleased with how we performed overall but unhappy that we
conceded right at the end of each half.    That said the opposition were very decent
tonight and gave us a real taste of the standard we can expect this Season.”

Team:     Jordan, Sankofa, Brathwaite, O’Loughlin (Sub – Yala 58 mins.), Wilkinson, Garrard, Bryant, Akinola, Palmer (Sub – Effiong 58 mins.), McMahon, Clements (Sub – Hunter 58 mins.).

Sub (Not used):    Baker-Owers.

Goals:    Hemel Hempstead Town:    May 43, Pearce 90.            Boreham Wood:    Effiong 61,68.

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