Boreham Wood 1 – 1 Accrington Stanley
Saturday 7th January 2023
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Emirates FA Cup Third Round


Lee Ndlovu’s late equaliser rescued a draw for the Wood, keeping their FA Cup dream alive against Accrington Stanley.

The ‘Owd Reds took an early lead when Ryan Astley poked the ball home after just six minutes, but a dominant second half performance saw the Wood rewarded with 12 minutes to go as Ndlovu thundered a header past Toby Savin to send the fans behind the goal into ecstasy.

A draw with the League One side sets up a replay to take place at the Wham Stadium on the week commencing January 16th, and the Wood will be afforded another opportunity to become just the second non-league side to reach the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in successive seasons. For the time being though, a quick turnaround sees them enjoy a short break before facing National League leaders Notts County on Tuesday night.

New signing David Agbontohoma came in for his first Wood start just a day after agreeing a one-month loan move from Sheffield Wednesday, with Luke Garrard making just one other change to the team which drew with Barnet last time out as Zak Brunt returned to the starting line-up.

A minute’s applause was held for the late Laurence Pelling ahead of kick-off as both sides paid tribute to one of our most loyal supporters, before the visitors got proceedings underway and kicked things off in lightning quick fashion.

It took just six minutes for Astley to break the deadlock when he slotted into the bottom corner from close range after the Wood were unable to clear their lines, giving the ‘Owd Reds the momentum from the off.

John Coleman’s men certainly dominated the ball during the opening stages, but neither side were really able to gain a foothold of things with the goal being preceded by a rather flat period lacking much action. The Wood did battle as they searched for an equaliser though, forcing a couple of corners in their pursuit.

It was from a set piece where the hosts produced their best chance so far, with Brunt delivering a free kick into the danger area which Stanley stopper Savin could only clear as far as George Broadbent on the edge of the box, but the Sheffield United loanee was unable to keep his volley down as it flew high and wide.

Having already overcome a Bristol Rovers side who currently sit nine places above Stanley in the League One table, the Wood were aware they are capable of causing a cup upset not least after their exploits last season. They grew into the game as a result and came close to a leveller when some nice build-up play saw Jack Payne look to pick out Brunt in the middle, but Savin was able to claim the ball.

Stanley maintained control for much of the half though and subdued their opponents throughout, but despite this they still struggled to produce many more openings. Nonetheless though, the Wood trailed at the interval after a half lacking quality came to a close.

HT: Boreham Wood 0-1 Accrington Stanley

A cagey start to the second half saw the Wood go closest to scoring after the break, with Ndlovu going on a wonderful solo run to drive into the box before winning a corner.

Ndlovu was at the heart of an improved performance from the hosts, and had their best chance of the game just before the hour-mark. Nathan Ashmore bowled it out to Dennon Lewis who sprinted the length of the pitch as he looked to start a counter attack, with Femi Ilesanmi eventually delivering a dangerous ball into the box. It would end up falling to Ndlovu with just Savin to beat, but a last ditch block from the defender managed to deflect it out for a corner.

The Wood Army were in fine voice and roared their team on, with the subsequent set piece being sent in by Brunt but the visitors were eventually able to clear.

The hosts were certainly in the ascendancy with their search for a leveller going on, but Stanley hit back with Shaun Whalley firing just over the crossbar as they looked to extend their advantage.

However, the Wood didn’t let this dishearten them and continued to see the better of things in the second half. Ndlovu was taken out by Harvey Perritt in a dangerous area as he raced through on goal with Broadbent stepping over the subsequent free kick, but he couldn’t keep his strike down as the ball flew into the North Bank.

A couple of rare chances for the visitors almost saw the Wood sucker-punched, with Tommy Leigh flicking the ball over Ilesanmi before fluffing his lines, but the hosts couldn’t clear with Whalley eventually firing wide.

As the clock approached the final ten minutes the Wood would finally find some luck, and were rewarded with a deserved an equaliser which was met by a deafening roar from the home crowd. Ilesanmi delivered a threatening cross into the middle from deep which was met by Ndlovu, who rose above everyone else to power a header home before producing an even better knee slide in front of the jubilant North Bank.

They even came close to a second minutes later, with Payne firing a volley towards the top corner which needed to be cleared off the line.

Stoppage time soon came with the Wood desperate to seal their upset and score a late winner. After setting up the equaliser Ilesanmi was unable to turn scorer when he fired over with space to shoot, but there was just enough time for substitute Tyrone Marsh to win a corner which would need to be scrambled away by Stanley.

It wasn’t to be though, but it was still a hard-fought and spirited display from the Wood who’s FA Cup journey hasn’t come to an end just yet.

FT: Boreham Wood 1-1 Accrington Stanley

Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Agbontohoma, Evans, Ilesanmi; Coxe, Broadbent, Payne, Lewis (Sousa 58’); Brunt (Rees 59’); Newton (Marsh 58’), Ndovu

Subs Not Used: Abayomi, Williams

Goal: Ndlovu 78’

Accrington Stanley: Savin; Astley, Conneely, Rodgers; Perritt, Coyle, McConville (Longelo 62’), Leigh, Hamilton; Whalley, Pressley (Adekoya 77’)

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Martin, Woods, Pickles, Poilly, Fernandes, Harper

Goal: Astley 6’

Star Man: Lee Ndlovu



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