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MATCH REPORT: BOREHAM WOOD VS ALFRETON TOWN
By Nathan Hodge
It was left late but Boreham Wood secured a place in the last 16 of the FA Trophy through an injury time Kenny Davis strike which left no time for Alfreton to get themselves back into the second round game at Meadow Park on Saturday.
The Wood dominated throughout, however Alfreton did make it hard as they levelled the game forcing Wood to win it in the dying minutes.
Luke Garrard’s men looked to take a boost from last weekend’s 1-0 away win in Torquay and a very strong side was selected. Also included in the squad as a substitute was the Wood academy’s very own Alex Morgan although he did not get a chance to play.
In the early stages, Wood seemed to be applying a majority of the pressure, a lot of play was going down the Wood’s left hand side through Femi Ilesanmi and Anthony Jeffrey who was supplying balls into the box which came to nothing.
The returning Morgan Ferrier had the first real chance of the game in the 13th minute as a deflected cross found its way to the Wood striker who scuffed it wide from a volley inside the box.
A lot of scrappy play in the middle of the park seemed to slow the pace of the game down early on but the Wood soon got the ball on the deck and tried to break the deadlock getting it out wide to Andrade and Jeffrey.
There was a great chance for the Wood in the 17th minute as the ball found its way from their defence to Andrade who found Balanta on the right-hand side, the ball eventually made its way across to Ferrier in the centre.
He played a lovely ball through to put Jeffrey who was one on one with the keeper but he rushed his shot putting it wide of the post.
Two minutes later a dangerous free kick for Alfreton was swung in by Craig Westcarr who won a corner from his effort. The same player took the corner which caused a scramble in the 6-yard box where Smith was fouled, giving the Wood an easy way out.
Wood were awarded a free kick of their own moments later on the right-hand side of the box with the ball put in by Andrade towards the head of Balanta but he was just unable to connect with it.
The last 15 minutes showed how unlucky the first half was for the Wood as they saw a few decisions go against them and chances being wasted. In the 31st minute Jeffrey had another opportunity from just outside the box on the left-hand side but he bent the ball just wide of the post.
The Wood kept pressing as Ilesanmi made a run from left back making a one two on the edge of the box with Ferrier breaking through before his shot forced a fantastic save from Alfreton’s Fabian Spiess down to his left-hand side.
The Wood finally got a goal for their efforts through Balanta in the 35th minute as a few ricochets dropped the ball kindly to his feet. A few body feints gave him enough space in the box to slot it past Spiess for a superb individual goal to break the deadlock and give Wood the lead. The hosts looked to improve on their lead before the end of the half with Jeffrey and Andrade making life hard for the Alfreton full backs but ultimately with not much coming from either side.
A debatable free kick to Alfreton in the 41st minute led to a lot of play in the Wood box as Alfreton looked for an equaliser but Stephens and Joe Devera stayed strong and eventually cleared so Wood ended the half with a 1-0 lead.
The start of the second half saw a change for the Wood as Matt Paine replaced the injured Stephens at the back. The second half started a tad cagey with a few aerial battles in the middle of the park as both teams battled for possession. The Wood eventually got the ball down and went in search of a second and after they won a corner, Andrade’s ball in was met at the back post by Paine who just headed over the bar.
However, it wouldn’t be the Wood claiming the next goal – Alfreton won a free kick just over the half way line which earned Kenny Davis the first yellow of the game but a good delivery only produced a header wide. The visitors continued to press when a long throw from Niall Heaton led to a corner which the same player met with powerful header to level the scores 12 minutes in to the second half.
Alfreton almost had a second shortly afterwards but Smith tipped over a volley from inside the box.
After the equalizer, the game seemed more open as Alfreton gained confidence from Heaton’s goal, and both teams tried to break the deadlock once again.
Balanta tried to add to his tally as his fancy footwork on the edge of the Alfreton box gave him space to run into it before forcing Spiess to save his low shot.
60 minutes had gone before Wood looked to be dominating again with another cross finding Paine who once again headed over. Shakes was introduced from the bench replacing Ferrier, just after Ilesanmi tried his luck from distance forcing yet another save from Spiess.
The Wood certainly were dominating the game as it entered its latter stages but the odd break away from Alfreton did trouble them. Alfreton got another chance as they were awarded a free kick from 30 yards out, swung in by Westcarr, the ball in caused some trouble before Davis cleared.
The break finally came for the Wood as the game entered injury time. Jeffrey made a superb mazy run down the left wing and slid the ball across for Davis who hit it home from just outside the 6 yard box leading to wild celebrations from the Wood players by the corner flag celebrating the goal.
Alfreton made two substitutions in added time to try and tie the game back up but other than a few long balls they could not get through as the Wood left it late to guarantee a place in the last 16 of the FA Trophy.