Vanarama National League.
Altrincham 1 Boreham Wood 0 , by John Mead.
Boreham Wood fell to a 1-0 defeat for the second time this season to the Robins courtesy of a classic smash and grab raid.
Having dominated proceedings for an opening hour in which they were denied by the woodwork twice, two off the line clearances and a fine acrobatic save, Alty substitute Nicky Clee came up trumps with a 76th minute strike that opens up a six point gap between the two sides.
Luke Garrard demanded a response after limping out of the FA Cup in midweek and it was duly delivered in what was a fine performance. Conor Clifford returned from suspension, with Charlie MacDonald, Luke Howell and Ricky Shakes promoted from Monday night’s bench.
There was only one side in contention for a share of the points in a totally one sided first half. Wood were keener, sharper and dominant in a contest between two sides who had just increased their chances of survival with wins on the road against Bromley.
The Robins would have been thankful that BT Sport had chosen last Saturday to showcase their fixture at Hayes Lane, given their first half display.
Anthony Jeffrey who gave Adam Griffin a torrid time all afternoon, got beyond the left back after just three minutes, his cross coming back off a defender for MacDonald who guided an effort beyond Tim Deasy only to be denied by the post. Wood won the first of their twelve corners from which Clifford picked out Luke Howell who blasted just over the bar.
MacDonald then stole possession from the slow out of the blocks Robins before being brought down, with Clifford testing Deasy with his dead ball effort.
With Luke Garrard barking out instructions from his technical area, the application to detail was carried out to the letter on the field of play, leading to Jeffrey seeing his ball in from the left cleared off the line by Sam Heathcote. The assault on the oppositions goal mouth continued with Jeffrey forcing Deasy into a full stretch save from his effort from just inside the penalty area. The resultant corner found the head of Scott Doe who was denied a goal by another goal line clearance by a defender.
With just over half an hour played Clovis Kamdjo supplied Howell in a central position who was unfortunate to see his dipping drive come back into play off the crossbar.
For all Wood’s endeavour the teams emerged after the interval still even. There was no sign of improvement from the home side until Alty manager Lee Sinnott introduced Nicky Clee after 59 minutes in an attempt to freshen up his sides hitherto absent attacking options. Garrard responded with Mauro Vilhete replacing Howell.
Slowly the Robins played themselves back into the game, but not before MacDonald shot just over after the influential Jeffrey had produced yet another assist.
Clee then won a header that set Jordan Sinnott through on goal down the left and he registered his sides first shot on target after 66 minutes.
Back came Wood with Jeffrey forcing Deasy to smother his effort at his
left hand post. Yet Clee, who has made just three starts for the Robins this season started to influence things around the Wood penalty area shooting just over after capitalising on Doe’s half clearance.
Michael Rankine was sent on for Alty with fifteen minutes remaining and his impact was immediate. Introduced by Sinnott Senior whilst son Jordan was about to take a throw in on the right, the giant striker was picked out at the near post. His strength in possession allowed a cross from the right picking out Clee, who saw his first shot blocked by a defender, before crashing home the rebound definitively beyond Russell .
Somehow for all Wood’s endeavour they found themselves a goal down, with Danny Woodards blocking a Josh O’Keefe effort before a fine counter attacking move ended with MacDonald hitting a curling shot just wide at the other end.
Five frantic minutes of additional time featured an all out assault on the Robins penalty area. David Stephens shot deflected just past a post off a defender before Doe’s header was tipped over the bar, Wood’s 17th attempt on goal on an afternoon when it would just not go right.
Luke Garrard responded to his theory that: “you can put everything right in football in the next 90 minutes”, quoting: “ I spoke with the management team from Altrincham and they were astounded how we did not get something from the game. They were as astounded as I was. We could and should have been out of sight by half time. Then, the way we responded to going a goal down was superb. The goal that won the contest was a well hit effort and that was something we did not have in our locker today. We were denied by the woodwork twice and our inability to hit the target. We were camped out in their half for 45 minutes and performance wise if we play like that for the rest of the season the goals surely must come. That said I would be contented having played poorly and earned the three points on this occasion!”
Team: Russell, Devera, Woodards (Reynolds 90 +5), Stephens, Doe, Kamdjo, Shakes (Morias 79), Howell (Vilhete 60), MacDonald.
Subs not used: Cox, B Clifford.
Man Of The Match: Clovis Kamdjo.