Misses Prove Costly.
Vanarama Conference South.
Boreham Wood 2 Whitehawk 2,
by John Mead.
A string of misses cost Wood all three points in this important game for both sides. In the end they were forced to come from behind to secure a draw that failed to make up any ground on leaders Bromley.
The disappointment of the result in the reverse fixture was laid to rest in a blistering first half performance in which Wood were the better side in every discipline. However a slow start to the second half allowed the curse of failing to beat top five sides to bother the team yet again. It allowed The Hawks to score twice from their only two efforts on target all afternoon, relying on Ricky Shakes to again pop up with an all important goal.
Wood started well and shut out the visitors by executing a supreme midfield operation that led to some fine chances. Callum Reynolds was a whisker away from heading goal wards from a Ben Herd cross.
Josh Hill then advanced play down the left with Lee Angol setting up Daryl McMahon for a cross that led to both Shakes and Junior Morias having a bite before Angol had his shot blocked.
Whitehawk then set up a fine move with a sublime flick from the outstanding Jake Robinson playing Danny Mills through,with Hill making a fine tackle.
Both sides were attacking with purpose yet the visitors were often guilty of over hitting the final ball. The breakthrough came after 20 minutes. Angol out on the left played a ball into the path of McMahon on the overlap in doing so shielding an interception from an opponent. McMahon’s curled low ball across the face of goal was sublime and it found Morias who still had work to do slotting home beyond Craig Ross.
Just three minutes later and a long clearance out of defence was met by Angol who timed his run to perfection. He lobbed the stranded Ross and his effort went just wide. It proved to be the miss of the game.
It was all Wood at this stage. Scott Thomas curled a sumptuous cross over from the left that was met by a diving header from Morias that Ross saved well. A minute later Angol, who was unplayable before fading in the second half danced past Lee Hills before seeing his shot beat around the post by Ross.
The Hawks rallied without causing any problems and had Sergio Torres booked for diving as half time arrived with James Russell having made no saves whatsoever.
However comfortable Wood looked a 1-0 lead is never substantial and the second half proved to be a more even affair. The Hawks won their first corner of the game and followed it up with several more. Yet Wood had the guile to force the opposition into conceding free kicks and corners with seemingly little on.
With so much at stake there were errors from both sides and with the pressure mounting on the Wood defence the brilliant Robinson made it count. After failing to get past Herd he regathered possession just inside the area turning to shoot blind through a sea of players. He knew exactly where the goal was, his shot curling away from Russell at full stretch finding the bottom corner of the net.
A minute later another inch perfect cross from McMahon picked out Shakes unmarked at the far post who sent his header the wrong side of the post. It was another blow for Wood and after a couple of half chances at both ends, Robinson dealt the killer blow. Substitute Scott Neilson quickly set him off down the right wing. His cross was perfect, drawing Russell who could not get a hand to it allowing Mills to bomb home from just two yards out.
With past results against the top five sides playing on the minds of everybody connected with the club both on and off the field, the four minutes it took for the equaliser to arrive seemed an eternity. As is often the case on these occasions Shakes is the saviour and when McMahon sent over a low corner from the left at pace the former Kidderminster Harrier was on hand to drill home his ninth goal of the season.
There was one more guilt edged chance to turn the game back into Wood’s favour when Morias found himself through on goal. He had only Ross to beat but hesitated before laying into the path of McMahon by which time the Hawks defence had recovered to block.
The late introduction of Charlie Walker and Matty Whichelow failed to dent the reserve of the visitors.
It left Ian Allinson disappointed after the final whistle, who felt, “ We had done enough to win the game before half time. They are a very talented side with a host of ex League Players and after the interval we started dropping deeper and deeper. It allowed them a lot of possession. Second half we had another two fantastic chances to grab all three points so it hurts. I felt we should have had a second man in place to prevent their opening goal.”
Team: Russell, Herd, Garrard, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas, Shakes, Angol, Morias ( Walker 81), McMahon ( Whichelow 81).
Subs not used: Martin, Montgomery, Courtnage.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Morias 20, Shakes 79.
Whitehawk: Robinson 64, Mills 75.
Wood Fans Man Of The Match: Ricky Shakes.