Vanarama Conference South.
Basingstoke Town 2 Boreham Wood 1,
by John Mead.
Wood succumbed to defeat in the last three minutes of a pulsating tie at The Soccer AM Stadium.
Both sides had numerous chances and the goalkeepers were the real heroes at times.
Wood to their credit were not interested in preserving a point when the tie stood even and allowed the free flowing football, which brings fans to stadiums prevail.
Wood’s first half performance was faultless and showed exactly why they still sit top of the table, even after this result.
Wood were left angered when after ten minutes they were denied a blatant penalty. Lee Angol played a superb one two with Austin Lipman when Jay Gasson prevented Angol going through controlling the ball with his hand.
Louie Soares tested James Russell at the other end who pushed the ball wide for a corner, which Callum Reynolds cleared.
Wood were playing some lovely football with Angol lobbing a cheeky pass on for Lipman who teed up Graeme Montgomery for a trademark volley on the left. The shot curled beautifully but was met by a superb save from Stuart Moore conceding a corner. Matty Whichelow played it long for Luke Garrard who headed it down towards Ricky Shakes. Somehow with his back to goal he cushioned a quite audacious shot into the top left hand corner of the net, for the lead and a goal his recent outstanding performances deserved.
Benn Nunn then played a one two with Shakes down the right, hitting a low cross that Montgomery met perfectly, only for Moore to make his second superb save of the game to deny a certain goal.
Montgomery then completed his hat trick of chances firing just wide of the post , this time on his right foot.
With half an hour played Manny Williams split the defence with a fine pass for Chris Flood. His pass was intercepted by the alert Russell who cleared only as far as Williams and Town were denied for the second time in seconds as Russell made a fine low save.
Another double save from Russell denied both Simon Dunn and Gasson from a corner won courtesy of a Liam Enver-Marum counter attack, against the run of play.
Wood continued to brim with confidence after the interval and looked in control until the 58th minute. Enver-Marum drew Reynolds out of position with his run allowing Shaun McAuley space to cross from the right. He picked out the Town leading scorer Flood who finished well beyond Russell.
Angol continued to threaten the Town defence, whilst the home side took confidence from their equaliser and pressed at the other end. Russell pounced upon a Tom Bird cross, before both Reynolds and Garrard saw shots blocked at the other end as Wood refused to settle for a point.
Shakes then broke up an attack setting Angol on a run. He took the ball wide of keeper Moore who did well to narrow the angle conceding a corner.
Then came the save of the game from Moore. With six minutes remaining a quickly taken throw in allowed Montgomery to square for substitute David Moli who placed his shot to the right of the keeper who threw himself low to mark the pivotal point of the game with a brilliant reaction stop.
Three minutes later and the tables were truly turned. Wood were caught napping down the left and a long ball forward from Bird found Flood who ran on to finish under the body of Russell, thus joining Angol at the top of the leading scorers table.
Montgomery had the last chance but it was not his day, shooting just wide of a post.
It was a sting on the counter attack that left Wood beaten for the third time this season, yet Gaffer Ian Allinson was duly full of praise for his side, “ It was two good sides having a real go at each other and some of the football we played was outstanding. Their keeper has made three or four unbelievable saves and I felt we opened them up well. Maybe we should have shut up shop at 1-1 but as we know too many draws get you into trouble in this league!
Credit to Basingstoke they had a real go and caught us out twice when we had good possession.
There are certainly goals in my side and today unfortunately we did not convert our chances.
I can take a lot of positives from this performance however and we now move on to the F A Cup before coming back to the League when we take part in a first versus second match with Havant and Waterlooville.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Garrard, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Whichelow, Shakes, Angol, Lipman ( Moli 74),
Subs not used: Thomas, Morgan, Parsons, Noto.
Goals: Basingstoke Town: Flood 58,87.
Boreham Wood: Shakes 18.
Man Of The Match: Ricky Shakes.