Pre Season Friendly.
Boreham Wood 0 Watford 1,
by John Mead.
There was little of a pre season feel to this game as Wood faced possibly the strongest side they have ever encountered and somehow rode out the storm to produce a quite magnificent display.
With respect to our previous games this pre season, this was a tie between two sides that are fit , organised and raring to go. The end product was a thoroughly watchable game, with the visitors providing slick and silky football, whilst Wood dug in with a dogged determination.
Early signs were of a rout, with Wood penned back on the edge of their penalty area, such was the variation and quality of The Golden Boys build up play. A frenetic pace ensued that really only abated in the final ten minutes, when the visitors took the foot off the gas.
Lloyd Dyer then burst through on goal with James Courtnage in the Wood goal stealing the ball away. Wood were not allowed to settle with Almen Abdi pulling the strings.
He combined with Ikechi Anya who was thwarted by a fine intervention from Greg Morgan, allowing Courtnage to easily save the final ball into danger.
It all felt a bridge to far at this stage, Abdi splitting the defence finding Cristian Battochio whose run was smothered out by Courtnage who was in inspirational form on the evening.
Matej Vidra then capitalised on a superb up field clearance, bursting through to strike the base of the post. Gabriel Tomas then played Anya through as The Golden Boys continued their onslaught only for Courtnage to pull off a fine save.
Dyer showed some real class passing Graeme Montgomery down the right before Vydra and Daniel Toszer had shots blocked in quick succession.
Wood showed a mettle that was rewarded with a surging claim to a piece of the action coming back strong in the final ten minutes of the half. Ben Nunn saw his cross hit the top of the netting, before Montgomery hit a left foot server from distance that went just over.. Wood made the most of their possession play with Ricky Shakes in particular a monumental driving force.
Dyer tried to spoil the party dancing round four defenders, but Courtnage was having none of it taking the ball off the talented wingers foot.
It took a goal line clearance from Tommie Hoban to deny Wood from the restart, before another half time change for the visitors Mathias Renegie found the side netting at the other end. Courtnage kept out shots from Lewis McGugan and Dyer before a superb one touch build up from Watford ended with Adbi scuffing his shot wide when well placed.
The action continued unabated for the 741 watching fans. Montgomery forced Gomes into an flying save with a swerving volley from thirty yards out after the visitors failed to deal with a Wood corner.
The deadlock was broken as against Arsenal five days earlier in the 68th minute. Vydra drifted across the face of goal hitting a drive that left Courtnage wrong footed after taking a deflection off a defender.
Scott Thomas who had just been the subject of some frustration from Toszer then blocked an Abdi effort after Callum Reynolds produced similar heroics on Vydra seconds earlier.
McGugan rattled the crossbar before a quadruple Wood substitution signalled a dip in momentum from the visitors. It was Wood who had the final chance of the game with Matty Whichelow played in against his former club shooting the wrong side of Gomes’ post.
It would have been a fitting end to a hard fought encounter which for Wood Boss Ian Allinson was, “Very very pleasing. We worked so well and more than matched them for periods. We worked hard and I firmly believe this is the strongest squad I have ever had here. We created more chances than I had expected which was a nice surprise. Now we go again against Reading tomorrow night!”
Team: Courtnage, Nunn, Morgan, Garrard, Hill ( Cox 45), Reynolds, Whichelow, Thomas ( Hope 78), Angol ( Sterling-Parker 78), Shakes ( Donnelly 78), Montgomery ( Noto 78).
Subs not used: Freund.
Watford: Gomes, Doyley (Hoban 45), Angella, Tamas ( Ekstrand 45), Pudil, Abdi, Toszer, Battochio (McGugan 45), Anya ( Ranegie 45) Vydra , Dyer ( Fabbrini 74).
Subs not used: Doherty, Smith, Bond.