Barnet 1-0 Boreham Wood
Tuesday 15th March 2022
The Hive, Vanarama National League


An early strike from Ephron Mason-Clark was enough to give Barnet all three points against Boreham Wood, with the Bees coming out on top in the derby for the first time this season at the fourth attempt.

The 22-year-old capitalised on a mix-up at the back to give the Bees the lead after just 13 minutes, and an inspired display from goalkeeper Aston Oxborough helped them see out the win with a number of important saves throughout the game.

Defeat at the Hive keeps the Wood in fifth, with another important clash towards the top of the table on Saturday seeing seventh placed Grimsby Town make the long journey to Hertfordshire.

Luke Garrard made two changes from the draw with Chesterfield on the weekend, bringing Gus Mafuta in for his first start since returning from an injury lay off along whilst captain Mark Ricketts made his first start since the trip to Goodison Park two weeks ago, but the adjustments to the starting line-up fell short of the desired effect.

It was the hosts who got on the front foot from the off and dominated much of the early stages. Although the Wood wanted a penalty after Tyrone Marsh went down in the box having worked an opening for himself, it was Mason-Clarke who gave Barnet the lead a few minutes later. Having gone close with a speculative effort from distance just three minutes in, he went one better ten minutes later when he took advantage of a lapse in concentration between Dave Stephens and Jamal Fyfield when the ball fell to him in front of goal, slotting  his shot into the bottom corner from a tight angle.

Reece Grego-Cox showed good skill to keep hold of the ball shortly after, cutting inside before sending in a strike that took a wicked deflection to go wide before going close again shortly after, with Taye Ashby-Hammond being alert to make a good save before Mason-Clarke’s follow-up went into the side netting. Wood did produce their first real chance a minute later after some neat interplay between Scott Boden and Josh Rees, with the latter’s shot being palmed away by Oxborough when well positioned to equalise.

The game seemed to open up for the remainder of the half with Wood enjoying more possession and we started to dominate proceedings, although we were unable to create many clear cut chances until the final few minutes. Marsh tested Oxborough with an ambitious effort from distance with the keeper gathering comfortably, but five additional minutes gave them enough time to create several golden opportunities. Dennon Lewis cut inside from the right looking to catch Oxborough out at his near post with Ben Richards-Everton blocking the shot, with the subsequent corner falling to Stephens at the back post but he was unable to connect and guide it home. Shortly after Jacob Mendy Mendy whipped in a dangerous free kick with Rees forcing Oxborough into a magnificent save to tip his close range header over the bar, but the latter stages of the opening 45 minutes brought crucial momentum going into the second half.

HT – Barnet 1-0 Boreham Wood

It took just four minutes of the second half for the visitors to go close, with Lewis delivering a good cross towards Mendy Mendy who forced Oxborough into another great save as he tipped his looping header onto the crossbar. A half chance for Grego-Cox then saw him send an effort well over the bar from 25-yards, before sliding in Mason-Clark two minutes later who was unable to double his tally after taking it in his stride well, firing well over.

Unlike in the first half, a period that brought limited clear-cut chances saw the game even out rather than the Wood beginning to dominate, with Barnet perhaps having the better of the opportunities with a couple of half chances for Grego-Cox. They did have the ball in the back of the net for a second time after a high looping shot from Sam Woods bounced in, but it was correctly disallowed for a barge on Ashby-Hammond.

The hosts began to grow back into the game and turn the game on its head once again. Ex-Wood man Jamie Turley met a flick-on at the back post following a corner but put his shot onto the roof of the net, before a golden chance for Mason-Clark saw him put a close-range shot narrowly wide with Ashby-Hammond in no man’s land, and he would have been disappointed to not increase their advantage. Grego-Cox then looked to take advantage of a poor headed clearance from the Wood stopper, finding himself in acres of space just outside the box before rifling a powerful shot over the bar.

A late chance for us to get an equaliser saw Mendy Mendy win a corner after his venomous shot was blocked, with Will Evans meeting the subsequent set-piece and forcing Oxborough into an another important save as he flicked his header onto the crossbar. As the clocked ticked into an extra three minutes of added time, Barnet continued to defend their lead with resilience. There was just enough time for Marsh to control a deep cross from Lewis, who swivelled and shot but his tame effort rolled into the grateful palms of Oxborough.

The Wood will be disappointed to make it four games without a win with a poor performance, and the visit of Grimsby on Saturday will be earmarked as a crucial opportunity to stop the slide.

Barnet: Oxborough, Turley, Greenidge, Richards-Everton, Marshall, Woods, De Havilland, Beard, Grego-Cox, Mason-Clarke, Marriott (Howe 90’).

Subs Not Used: Azaze, Hall, Walsh, Fonguck.

Boreham Wood: Ashby-Hammond, Evans, Stephens, Fyfield, Lewis, Rees (Clifton 77’), Ricketts (Raymond 45’), Mafuta, Mendy Mendy, Boden (Orsi 54’), Marsh.

Subs Not Used: Roach, Smith.

Star Man: Dennon Lewis.



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