AFC Bournemouth 0 – 1 Boreham Wood
Sunday 6th February 2022
Emirates FA Cup – Fourth Round
Vitality Stadium


Boreham Wood made history once. But this is a team that refuse to do the bare minimum, and this was on show once again as they managed to make history once again. Wins over Barnet, Eastleigh and St Albans City was to be expected. Victory over AFC Wimbledon was an incredible day for everyone involved in the football club. However victory over AFC Bournemouth is a completely different kettle of fish. Indeed, a first half Mark Ricketts strike saw the Wood defeat all the odds to reach the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, overcoming the Championship highflyers in an incredibly tough encounter on the South Coast.

It was a fairly even opening to the game as there was very little in the way of chances. Boreham Wood’s organisation restricted and frustrated their opponents to barely anything, with the Cherries’ best opportunity coming right at the end when Lewis Cook fired an effort well over the crossbar. They got off to a good start with moments early on. Bournemouth’s intention to play out the back meant Wood were able to press high up the pitch and they nearly forced them into a costly error in the first few minutes. They produced their first opportunity on ten minutes with an eventual penalty appeal, after Josh Rees went down in the box after Kane Smith’s excellent run and low cross caused havoc. Bournemouth hit back with a couple of half chances but the Wood very much held their own and ensured neither side really had a clear cut chance. Bournemouth began to grow into it as they became ever so slightly more threatening, although a decent chance continued to evade them. Connor Stevens in particular impressed on his debut along with Dave Stephens and Will Evans in the backline. Bournemouth would eventually pay the price for their struggles as the National League side proved they weren’t just there to make up the numbers. Jacob Mendy Mendy played a neat one-two with Frankie Raymond and put in a dangerous cross which was cleared only as far as Ricketts in acres of space, who struck an effort from the edge of the box that went in off the post. This goal ensured it was the visitors who went in at half time deservedly ahead, after limiting their opponents to possession-based football with very few openings.

The second half kicked off with the introductions of Todd Cantwell and Ryan Christie for the hosts and right from the off it was clear Bournemouth were out for blood. Not content with the current standings, Scott Parker sent wave after wave of attack as the pressure refused to ease. Boreham Wood’s defence will have a good night’s sleep after the work put in today, with every header, every tackle and every 50/50 challenge won by the away side. The best part was that this was never in doubt. Just after the hour mark Leif Davis drilled a cross in but there was no one to get on the end of it, before Mendy Mendy fouled Nathan Morias-Welsh on the edge of the box. Taye Ashby-Hammond was on hand to punch the subsequent free kick away but only as far as a Bournemouth player, who continued to build, and some excellent body-on-the-line defending was required to keep their opponents at bay. Christie’s effort shortly after was deflected away for a corner before Bournemouth worked another opening on 74 minutes, with substitute Jack Stacey putting a low cross right into the danger area, but Ashby-Hammond got down well to claim it. This preceded their best chance of the game, as Christie played a lovely lofted ball through for another substitute Philip Billing to run on to, but despite being one on one with Ashby-Hammond, he was unable keep his lob down when he really should have scored. It got even worse for the hosts with 12 minutes to go. Ashby-Hammond made a spectacular double save to deny Christie and Billling, first pushing away Christie’s curling effort after a good run and then tipping Billing’s close range header onto the bar, and as Bournemouth put in the second rebound the Wood were saved by the offside flag. It just wasn’t their day. As the game moved into the final ten minutes, tensions were high. Whether a fan in the stands, whether a press officer, whether a member of the coaching staff, anyone involved with Boreham Wood had their heart in their mouth. Bournemouth continued going close, with Dominic Solanke coming on to have two good chances right at the death, while Jaidon Anthony drove forward and fired an effort well over the bar. As one final corner in the fifth minute of added time went amiss once more, referee Graham Scott put his whistle to his mouth to confirm history.

Right down from the Chairman all the way to the fans, this is a memorable day for the football club. It was a resolute performance but perhaps more resolute than in any other this season, and one that kept their clean sheet record in the FA Cup going. This clean sheet felt different though. It was one where they were up against it for the entire game, and one where stubbornness and resilience was a necessity against an incredibly strong forward line that included the likes of Solanke, Cantwell and Christie, but they remained firm against an extremely tough side and were entirely worthy of the victory. Teenage Dirtbag was bound to be played one more time, and with Premier League side Everton up next, it is an exciting time to be a Boreham Wood fan. They are the only Non-League side left in the competition and for the moment at least, Boreham Wood’s FA Cup journey remains alive.

AFC Bournemouth: Freddie Woodman, Nathaniel Phillips, Lewis Cook (Todd Cantwell 45’), Emiliano Marcondes (Jack Stacey 65’), Jamal Lowe, Leif Davis, Ben Pearson (Ryan Christie 45’), James Hill (Dominic Solanke 76’), Gavin Kilkenny, Jaidon Anthony, Nathan Morias-Welsh (Philip Billing 65’).

Subs Not Used: Mark Travers, Lloyd Kelly, Chris Mepham, Jordan Zemura.

Boreham Wood: Taye Ashby-Hammond, Mark Ricketts (James Comley 87’), Will Evans, David Stephens, Josh Rees, Scott Boden (Nile Ranger (90+3’), Tyrone Marsh (Adrian Clifton 84’), Frankie Raymond, Jacob Mendy Mendy, Kane Smith, Connor Stevens.

Subs Not Used: Joshua Roach, Connor Smith.

Star Man: Mark Ricketts.

Match report written by Aaron Bennis.



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