Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
by John Mead
A truly superb individual goal in stoppage time from Mauro Vilhete snatched victory for Wood in this compelling game. The character that this Wood side showed in what was their sternest test since they embarked upon their remarkable end of Season run in some eleven matches previous was commendable.
With all three midfield generals sidelined Callum Reynolds was forced out of defence to partner Charlie Hunter against an in form Hampton & Richmond Borough side that showed no signs of a side destined for relegation. In fact the visitors dictated proceedings for the entire first half playing at a high tempo forcing the Wood defence to be at their very best. Reece Jones set up James Simmonds for The Beavers who hit a fine shot on the turn that went just over the bar. Graeme Montgomery provided a brief respite from the all out attacks that the visitors mounted flashing a low cross that failed to attract the needed touch.
The visitors played as if their lives depended upon it and were quick to close out any threat that Wood tried to create. Esmond James flashed a dangerous ball across goal that evaded all before Charlie Moone tried his luck from thirty yards shooting straight at Elvijs Putnins.
Wood suffered a further blow before half time when Omer Riza limped off with a hamstring injury.
It was more of the same after the interval with Mark Jones outstanding in blocking efforts from the marauding Hampton forwards. Referee Mr. Betts having had a reasonable first half then went from bad to worse after ordering a penalty to the visitors from a right sided corner, citing a shirt pull by Charlie O’Loughlin as the ball flew six feet over his alleged victim. Simmonds took his chance with aplomb after fifty-one minutes and the visitors continued to look like recording a valuable win in their quest for survival until Wood struck back in some style after sixty-three minutes.
Montgomery swung a brilliant cross over from the right that split the two giant defenders. Somehow the pint sized Vilhete matched the jump of Darren Powell getting to the ball first and executed a brilliant header beyond Craig Ross. This fired up Wood and from here on it was all about the resolve of the visitors. They were helped by some despicable refereeing. David Hutton showed amazing character beating his man then somehow wriggling past a second challenge sending him clean through on goal, only for Mr. Betts to have adjudged that Hutton had committed a foul on a player that clearly fell over.
In the resultant melee David Bryant and The Beavers Neil Jenkins received bookings, before Mr. Betts threatened to lose the plot completely penalising Omar Beckles for a perfectly good challenge.
Wood grew in stature with Vilhete coming close with a dipping drive before with a minute remaining Bryant was tripped on the edge of the area. Hutton sent a free kick over the wall and his shot looked bound for the back of the net only for the unsighted Ross to make a quite miraculous save diving to his right and pushing the effort onto a post. That action alone looked to have preserved a precious point for the visitors until Vilhete had the last word. In a lightning paced attack he received the ball from Bryant who fell over en route to receiving a return ball. Isolated and out on the right Vilhete had nothing on in terms of an outlet, so took the only option and went alone worming and weaving his way somehow past four defenders angling towards the goal before striking home quite superbly beyond Ross to send Wood up to eighth in the table.
In response to a breathtaking evening Wood boss Ian Allinson commented, “We were off the pace first half and suffered a blow when Omer Riza could not carry on. I had to ask players to play out of position and young Charlie Hunter was forced into his second full ninety minutes in three days after not featuring for some time. The Referee got it wrong for the penalty I felt yet we showed the same great character that has taken us through the last six to eight weeks. The winner against a side that surely will avoid the drop was quite special. Mauro had the ball glued to his feet and the finish was top class.” Looking on to the trip to Thurrock this Friday Ian added, “We hope to have Sam Cox back and that’s about it but we will push on and see how far we get.”
Team: Putnins, Sankofa, Jones, Beckles, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Vilhete, Hunter, Bryant, Riza (Sub – Hutton 45 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Rubinia, Close, Yala, Jordan.
Bookings: Hunter, Bryant.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Vilhete 63, 90(+1) Hampton & Richmond Borough: Simmonds 51 pen.
Man of the Match: Mauro Vilhete.