Boreham Wood 2 Wealdstone 1,
by John Mead.
Come the end of April Wood can hold their heads high and say “ We gave it our all”, after this victory that seemed to be slipping away from them. Behind for 75 minutes, yet searching for a breakthrough with relentless belief, the goals finally came in the 87th and 90th minutes.
The visitors had forged ahead after 12 minutes and as time wore on they rode their luck at times, yet four outstanding saves from Jonathan North and some superb last ditch defending looked enough for Gordon Bartlett’s side to upset the form books. It was not to be as even the most optimistic Wood fans who thought this was not going to be their day, were left as relieved as their opposite numbers were left disappointed over what might have been.
It did not take long for the tie to produce action. A low cross from Graeme Montgomery after four minutes was controlled by Matty Whichelow setting up Lee Angol whose close range effort was well saved by North. Whichelow then went for a solo run and shot that was comfortably saved, before the visitors threatened.
A back heel by Shaun Lucien found Connor Calcutt whose powerful drive was well held by James Russell. Matt Ball then sent Calcutt through on goal with an alert Russell flying out of his blocks to gather.
However two minutes later the Ball and Callcutt combo produced the opener. The ex Wood player’s ball was flicked on by the Stevenage loan striker finding the unmarked Jonathan Wright who deftly lobbed the stranded Russell.
Wood regrouped, winning a mammoth seventeen corners during the game, yet in the main they were let down by a lack of precision from the providers and a lack of presence from the receivers.
Wayward shooting also prolonged the wait for a breakthrough. Whichelow blasted out of the ground before Montgomery took full advantage of a loose ball firing a decent volley just over the bar.
Angol and Junior Morias then tried the tiki taki approach and it almost paid off, save for a brilliant block from Wes Parker. Morias was then denied by Ryan Watts before North pulled off the first of a string of quite remarkable saves. Whichelow curled in a free kick from the left flank that was met by Angol whose cushioned back header was destined for the net, only for North to get an unfeasible hand to the effort.
With half time approaching Montgomery swung over a corner that Callum Reynolds powered goalwards which was all but in until North again somehow managed to tip over the bar.
More wayward shooting continued after the break, until Ball and Callcutt broke well allowing Lucien a low shot on target. Wealdstone went closer on the hour when Ball set up Calcutt who was denied by a point blank save from Russell.
Back came Wood and The Stones had North to thank again when he twisted acrobatically to prevent Montgomery’s corner flying straight into the top right hand corner of his goal.
At this stage Ian Allinson went for broke reverting to a 3-4-3 formation replacing Luke Garrard and Montgomery with Austin Lipman and Scott Thomas. It took just five minutes for Reynolds to release Lipman who timed his run off the shoulder of a defender to perfection. He was through on goal and showed composure to pull the trigger at the perfect moment, yet North again drew gasps of disbelief from the crowd somehow saving with his legs.
Wood refused to give up, Whichelow flashed an effort across goal, Angol’s trap and shot was blocked by a defender as the pressure built on the Stones defence. When they failed to clear their lines Wood worked the ball back into danger via Whichelow from the left and the ball was knocked home via the thigh of Angol , sparking a huge sigh of relief, that was almost short lived when Calcutt dived in to head a fine cross from the right just wide from the restart.
In the final minute of normal time Wood mounted a final attack. Reynolds played a ball to Whichelow who advanced exchanging passes with Sam Cox twice. Cox then played a one two on the edge of the area with the tireless Ricky Shakes before coolly placing a low shot into the left hand corner of the net, to complete what was an extremely hard fought victory.
Speaking to The Gaffer after the final whistle he admitted, “We made hard work of it again today against a very hard working side who showed a great fighting spirit. I have said it before on numerous occasions this season, we created enough chances to have been out of sight and on this occasion we were reliant on two late goals. The two substitutes freshened things up for us and gave us a spark. We worked extremely hard all over the park and will need to do the same again in two days time!”
Team: Russell, Garrard ( Thomas 68), Brown, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Whichelow, Shakes, Angol, Morias (Moli 90+4), Montgomery ( Lipman 68).
Subs not used: Noto, Johnson.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Angol 87. Cox 90.
Wealdstone: Wright 12.
Fans Man Of The Match: Matty Whichelow.
CLICK HERE To see Pictures of today’s game. (Photos by: Sean Hinks)