The Skrill South.
Boreham Wood 0 Havant And Waterlooville 2,
by John Mead.
The visitors extended their run to just one defeat in 17 games in all competitions with a disciplined display. The defeat leaves Wood still concentrating on their relegation battle, with the next four matches all against fellow strugglers.
Wood started the game with pace and were the side in the ascendancy for the opening half an hour. Matty Whichelow orchestrated proceedings with an assured display and had a hand in every attack early on.
18 year old Junior Morias headed just wide after Ben Nunn picked out the Wycombe Wanderers loan striker from a right sided cross,
Kudos Oyenuga also looked sharp in the first half and his close control allowed Nunn a curling shot which was held by Benjamin Buchel on his debut for the Hampshire side.
Graeme Montgomery took a couple of touches before teeing up a shot that the Liechtenstein International shot stopper was equal to.
Whichelow and Oyenuga formed a fine understanding with the latter’s shot deflected behind for another Wood corner which Buchel fumbled allowing Callum Reynolds a stab at goal that was cleared off the line by a defender.
Reynolds was then on hand to deny Perry Ryan a shot after a spirited run at goal, before Sam Cox stung the hands of Buchel with a whipped shot as Wood continued to create all the chances.
However The Hawks marshalled by an exceptional central defensive pairing of Dan Strugnell and Captain Ryan Woodford had their first real chance after 38 minutes when Nic Ciardini sent a cross from the right to the back post which was met by left back Daniel Blanchett. His initial header was soft, his follow up shot wide, with Wood lucky that the space afforded was to a defender rather than a forward.
With a minute to the half time whistle the visitors gained a free kick thirty yards out. Slack marking even after the Wood bench had pointed out the danger allowed Scott Donnelly to roll the ball into the path of Ryan whose low drive left James Russell spectating as it sailed past him onto the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Wood, like the visitors in the first half failed to get a foothold on the game after the interval. Chances were at a premium for both sides as defences ran the show.
The visitors did a superb job of defending their slender lead whilst breaking with pace and the sensible introduction of fresh legs by Lee Bradbury bolstered the cause.
Wood showed an urgency and went long but found The Hawks defence in a mean mood, the young Wood strike force finding it difficult to break down the rearguard.
Buchel rushed out to the edge of his area to deny Oyenuga, before Lee Angol and Loick Pires were sent on with sixteen minutes remaining.
Hawks substitute Scott Jones was causing the Wood defence some concerns with his penetrative runs and on one occasion he beat the outrushing Russell to the ball but the defence stood firm in his absence.
With five minutes remaining a Nunn free kick was met by Charlie O’Loughlin with Bechel missing. The ball was cleared to Morias whose blistering volley was deflected away from goal by a defender.
Angol then produced a simply breathtaking run down the left wing, beating three defenders before showing composure to pick out Montgomery inside the area. Unfortunately for Wood his shot was not of his usual standard and a fine chance went begging.
Then into injury time Blanchett who had never previously scored for his side lobbed Russell from 45 yards out to ensure his sides impressive run continues as they look to make up ground on the top five.
After out stunning 7-0 win at the weekend Wood Boss Ian Allinson examined the contrasting results, “ I actually thought we played better tonight, the difference being if you do not take your chances against the top sides you will get punished. They have scored twice from distance and other than that James had little to do in our goal. They did a job on us and it was very effective, given that we wasted our opportunities in front of goal. We started very brightly before the goal took the stuffing out of us. Bringing Lee Angol on changed that as we failed to give our front boys any service at all in the second half prior to his contribution. We will keep on believing in ourselves and fight on. If we play that way every game until the end of the season I cannot see us losing too many more games!”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Morgan, Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Whichelow ( Angol 74) , Cox, Morias, Oyenuga ( Pires 74), Montgomery.
Subs not used: Noto, Brown, Courtnage.
Goals: Havant And Waterlooville: Ryan 44, Blanchett 90+2.
Wood Man Of The Match: Ben Nunn.