Cup Holders Through To The Final!
Hertfordshire Senior Challenge Cup Semi Final.
Boreham Wood 2 St Albans City 0,
by John Mead.
A well deserved victory against local rivals City sets up another Letchworth showdown next month for Ian Allinson’s side.
City looked like a side suffering from a run of seven games without a win and were it not for the heroics of Joe Welch in the City goal it could have been a much wider margin.
Resting several key players, Allinson still had the chance to field a very strong side, “ To ensure we did not undo all the good work we had accomplished in the last round at Stevenage. It was important to get through and winning at home for the first time in four matches is a useful springboard going into Saturday’s massive game against Whitehawk.”
The visitors started brightly with Jake Green firing an early warning shot over the crossbar from distance before Wood settled into a short passing game controlling possession. Graeme Montgomery sent a tantalising cross over from the left which came off of Omar Beckles as far as Matty Whichelow who forced a flying save from Welch to prevent a certain goal.
The pressure on the City goal continued from the resultant corner which was played short to Whichelow whose superb cross was met by a well timed run from Callum Reynolds who powered home a fine header to gain advantage after 16 minutes.
Five minutes later Charlie Walker romped free beyond the defence and hit an audacious forty yard lob that left Welch with much to do, the shot stopper recovering well to scramble the ball to safety.
A war of attrition followed with City moving the ball well but their attempts to breakdown a defence led by Ben Martin proved fruitless.
Jumior Morias ran onto a long punt upfield from Russell but his shot failed to trouble Welch. Then in the last action of the half Daryl McMahon played in Montgomery who dragged the ball back onto his weaker right foot with Welch again equal to the effort.
Walker then had a fine chance to increase the Wood lead when he played a one two with Morias but Welch again stood his ground pulling off another fine save.
Minutes later and the two squared up again, this time Walker had more time to pick his spot but Welch went the right way and another chance went begging. However the pressure was to pay off from the next offensive passage of play when Morias was gifted space to roll the ball into the path of Whichelow who showed the degree of precision required slotting his shot from the right across Welch and into the bottom corner of the net, after 54 minutes.
This led to a much more open game with Steve Wales forcing the first real save of note from Russell who got down low to save at his right hand post.
Luke Garrard then made the tackle of the game to deny John Frendo as the visitors looked for a way back into the game.
Ben Nunn looking back to his best then played Walker through on the right who laid into the path of Ricky Shakes, the substitute having an instant impact. He was sent flying as he looked to pull the trigger.
When Lee Chappell crashed an effort against the crossbar in the final minute it was the closest City had come to making an impact on a disappointing evening for the visitors.
Wood will now face Hemel Hempstead Town in a Final showdown at the Letchworth County Ground next month.
In summary Allinson added, “ I was pleased with our overall performance but felt we could have finished the game off earlier. Playing two games in four days was important for the sharpness of the players and we now have a Cup final to look forward to!”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Garrard, Thomas, Martin, Reynolds, Whichelow, McMahon ( Shakes 68), Walker, Morias, Montgomery ( Cox 68).
Subs not used: Angol, Herd, Hill.
Bookings: Reynolds, McMahon.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Reynolds 16, Whichelow 54.
Wood Fans Man Of The Match: Callum Reynolds.