Blue Square Bet South
Maidenhead United 0 Boreham Wood 3
by John Mead
Riza, who boasts a Career that started at Arsenal as a teenager, before starring for Trabsonspor in the Turkish Super Lig is Ian Allinson’s latest addition to the side and the thirty-two year old made an immediate impact.
This was Wood’s best away result of the Season against a battling strong Magpies side. Their lack of dominance came about thanks to a quite superb battling performance from Luke Garrard who was in a class of his own, coupled with the resolute Elvijs Putnins in goal. One only has to look at this Season’s match statistics. In thirteen appearances he has tasted defeat just three times.
A nervy start produced few goal scoring chances, with Maidenhead’s Leon Solomon coming close with a rising drive that went just over the bar. Charlie O’Loughlin battled against the equally well framed centre forward Alex Wall throughout, unfortunately picking up his tenth booking early on which will lead to a two match suspension.
David Bryant hit a weak shot at Aaron Lennox, before opening the scoring after twenty-three minutes. A chipped ball over the defence was helped on into the path of Bryant by Riza and with the entire Magpies back line looking to the Referee he volleyed home wide of Lennox with no flag offered by the Assistant Referee.
The collective bemusement to that goal turned to collective admiration to Wood’s second three minutes later. An interchange of passes between Mario Noto and David Hutton out on the right led to a perfectly threaded low ball across goal from the Wood Captain finding Riza just inside the penalty area wide on the left. With seemingly nothing on he took a touch before executing the most sumptious curling ball into the top right hand corner of the net with almost no back lift whatsoever. It drew gasps of admiration from home and away Supporters alike.
The home side were suitably contained by Garrard and his men up until the interval when Wall almost skewed a clearance into his own goal, which would have ended the game as a contest.
Wood continued to dominate after the interval with Lennox forced to save from Bryant and then Hutton after he was played in by Riza. Riza continued to shine when Noto played him through between two defenders. He was strong enough to make the edge of the area where John Scarborough made a fine saving tackle. However the loose ball fell for Hutton whose fierce shot was well held by Lennox.
There followed period of sustained pressure from Maidenhead United as Johnson Hippolyte rang the changes using up all his options from the bench. Leigh Henry headed just wide at the near post from a corner, before great defensive work from Daniel Brathwaite and Garrard prevented further work for Putnins. Jermaine Hinds found himself in acres of space at the far post from a corner yet took an age and fired wide. Wall tried his luck from thirty five yards but Putnins remained as reliable as ever. O’Loughlin then committed a clumsy challenge which Referee Mr. Knight took an age to deliberate over, due to the mob protest from a number of animated Magpies. It was their boisterousness which probably saved O’Loughlin at the outset.
Another wild miss from Hinds signalled the end of the home side’s chances. Wood mopped up to end the game in some style. Osei Sankofa, winning the ball by the corner flag in his own half steered into the path of Sam Lechmere. His long ball down the wing was brilliantly brought under control by Riza, who awaited the overlapping run of Sankofa. He fed Bryant who switched play back wide for Lechmere to deliver a floating cross that Bryant headed down into the path of Sankofa. The right back looked every part a forward bringing the ball down before sweeping it beyond Lennox into the corn