Vanarama Conference South.
Boreham Wood 2 Sutton United 0,
by John Mead.
This seasons campaign continues to surprise, with this hard fought and difficult win giving Wood top spot back again with just three weeks remaining until the end of the season. Thankfully the disappointment of the Bromley defeat could be laid to rest at short notice and the team deserve immense praise in the way they went about beating a side brimming with quality.
It was by no means a resounding victory, with Ian Allinson’s men having to dig deep into their reserves to protect an early lead courtesy of Callum Reynolds against a side that enjoyed a lot of possession and looked after the football well. There were nerves at times in the Wood defence, but the ability and belief running through this settled squad of players ground out the victory. It keeps them in what is now a four horse race for a title that looks like being the closest ever fought in the history of the Conference South.
With a back strain ruling Daryl McMahon out of the starting line up against Sutton United, manager Ian Allinson opted for the mercurial talents of Graeme Montgomery who came into the side.
It was fitting that his excellently floated delivery from a free kick out on the right after 16 minutes found the head of Reynolds who planted his header into the top right hand corner of the net to ease the nerves.
Sutton produced a determined and assured defensive performance, allowing the visitors to take the game to Wood, making the one goal lead look decidedly fragile. Ben Nunn was on hand to deny Bedsente Gomis with a goal saving challenge, after Craig Dundas had headed on a free kick
Wood had chances, but failed to hit the target, with Montgomery again the supplier of a superb ball forward for Ricky Shakes who blasted over.
There was a scare before half time when Lee Angol appeared to man handle a forward inside the penalty area, but it went unpunished. It allowed Wood a chance to increase their lead in first half stoppage time. Angol burst through the defence cutting the ball back for Junior Morias who was denied by a superb blocking save from Aaron Howe. The ball ran loose for Shakes who sent his shot the wrong side of the post.
The visitors created an opportunity when Glen Southam sent a ball across the goal mouth that James Russell missed, yet Dan Fitchett allowed the ball to run across his body before hitting the side netting.
Paul Doswell then introduced the pace and fresh legs of Dale Binns and Damian Scannell, yet two minutes later another one of those penalty moments came along. Angol got the better of Kevin Amankwaah whose initial pull back soon became a two armed bear hug wrestling the Wood striker away from the ball. Referee Mr O’Donnell allowed play to continue and this served to send Allinson purple with rage.
Angol had gone five games without a goal, a drought by his standards and it stayed that way when he burst between two defenders only to shoot over the bar. He then made Amankwaah earn his keep, before Morias was pushed off the ball twenty five yards from goal. Angol lined up and sent a glorious free kick over the wall into the top right hand corner of the net, to edge his side closer to the priceless three points they desired.
Three minutes later a now rejuvenated Angol sent Howe into a full stretch flying save to keep out a quick second for the Leagues second highest scorer.
Nunn protected the lead with a fine interception cutting out Scannell’s cross, that led to Micky Spillane hitting a thunderous drive that was just wide.
Morias then found the side netting at the other end before one final scare for Wood came with two minutes of normal time remaining when Amankwaah’s header from a Scannell corner hit the crossbar.
A relieved Ian Allinson lauded, “ A very professional performance against a top quality side. We had a couple of scares but it was all about getting a result. I was pleased for Lee Angol today. You have to remember he is just 20 years old and this is his first ever full season of football. I have asked a lot of the lad and he has played in over forty competitive games for me. We will keep on believing and we have two games left to prove ourselves.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas, Shakes, Angol ( Walker 74), Morias ( Whichelow 89), Montgomaery ( McMahon 90).
Subs not used: Martin, Garrard.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Reynolds 16, Angol 66.
Wood Fans Man Of the Match: Sam Cox.