Bristol Rovers 0 – 2 Boreham Wood
Sunday 27th November 2022
Memorial Stadium, Emirates FA Cup Second Round
Out of gas against the Wood
The Wood’s name will be in the hat for Round Three of the FA Cup for a third successive season, as a 2-0 victory at the Memorial Stadium saw non-league Boreham Wood cause an upset for the second season running to overcome League One outfit Bristol Rovers.
Sheffield United loanees George Broadbent and Zak Brunt combined once again to break the deadlock midway through the first half, with the latter cleverly cutting a corner back to the former who arrowed a first time effort into the bottom corner, and this was doubled on the half-hour mark when David Stephens sent a looping header beyond James Belshaw.
The visitors pushed the Pirates all the way, with an unbelievable defensive display to hold out and ensure their FA Cup journey continues.
Victory in the West Country means the Wood return to winning ways after not tasting a triumph since the FA Cup First Round against Eastleigh, and this bodes well ahead of a trip to the Spitfires next Saturday as they look to return to National League action with a first league win in six games.
Two changes were made to the side that lost to FC Halifax Town last time out, as David Stephens and Danny Newton replaced Kyron Gordon and Tyrone Marsh as Luke Garrard attempted not only to replicate last season’s heroics against St Albans City, but also to end a run that includes just one win in their last seven outings.
The first shot of the game fell to Antony Evans inside two minutes who tried a speculative effort that flashed across goal, but this would just be a sign of things to come as Rovers saw the better of the opening exchanges.
Aaron Collins was the danger man for the Gas and was involved in two golden chances early on as the hosts went close to scoring an opener. After a free kick appeal was waved away at one end, Rovers immediately went up the other with a wonderful through ball from Glenn Whelan catching Jamal Fyfield out of position to send Collins away in acres of space, but the centre half recovered well to make a crucial block. He would turn provider minutes later as he showed good skill to beat Fyfield before rolling the ball towards Josh Coburn in the middle, but Will Evans denied him from a tap-in with a vital intervention to send it over the crossbar.
Ryan Loft would later have an acrobatic effort fly wide, but this only spurred the Wood on as they looked to cause another cup upset. Danny Newton would go close before Brunt fired the ball into the mixer to no avail, but a shock lead was soon on its way with the youngsters from Brammall Lane combining again.
A move straight off the training ground saw Brunt play a short corner into the path of Broadbent, who sent a powerful drive into the back of the net to give the Wood the lead against all the odds, allegedly via a deflection by Evans.
This gave the visitors the momentum with Newton having a shot deflected into the arms of Belshaw, but they did have the ball in the net a second time minutes later. A fast break saw Brunt deliver a cross to Broadbent who’s header cannoned off the post, but Femi Ilesmani picked up the pieces before firing the ball back into the danger area towards Lee Ndlovu, who slotted the ball past Belshaw only to see the flag go up for offside.
The disappointment would last just a few minutes though as the Wood made it two on the half-hour mark. Chaos ensued when Ilesamni stood a ball up into the penalty area with Belshaw punching it away, but Stephens rose highest to meet the rebound and head the ball over the line to double their lead.
The Wood were in control, although they almost let their two-goal advantage slip when Brunt conceded a free kick in a dangerous area, but Evans was unable to fire his effort past the wall on the stroke of half time.
HT: Bristol Rovers 0-2 Boreham Wood
Four substitutes were made by Joey Barton at half time as he looked to raise the performance after the break, and they almost halved the deficit inside a minute when Scott Sinclair’s cross needed to be tipped over by Nathan Ashmore. It was one of the substitutes who had the first shot of the half with Sam Finley firing over the crossbar, moments before Jack Payne fired an effort even higher at the other end.
The Wood were in control and continued to enjoy spells of possession, producing a couple of half chances as they looked to add a third with Cameron Coxe seeing an overhit cross go begging before Newton delivered a ball too close to Belshaw after some neat build-up play.
The Gas began to grow back into it though and regain a foothold of proceedings. Collins saw an effort deflected over the crossbar with the Wood defence putting their bodies on the line, before Coburn fired over from a tight angle after being played in behind by Trevor Clarke.
It just wasn’t happening for the hosts who simply lacked the finishing touch. They would have another good chance to get one back when Harvey Saunders rounded Ashmore, but he fizzed a tame effort into the box which was able to clear.
Ashmore would need to make his first real save of the game with less than ten minutes to go, something which really highlights Rovers woes on the afternoon, but it was a comfortable stop to deny Coburn from close range and keep their two-goal lead intact.
The Wood remained ever so resilient to ensure there was no past for the Gas, and a hard-working performance deserving of victory was confirmed when a speculative effort from distance flew into the grateful arms of Ashmore, with the referee bringing proceedings to a close soon after.
FT: Bristol Rovers 0-2 Boreham Wood
Bristol Rovers: Belshaw; Gibson, Connolly, Thomas (Gibbons 45’); Sinclair, Evans (McCormick 45’), Whelan (Finley 45’), Gordon (Clarke 45’); Collins; Coburn, Loft (Saunders 65’)
Subs Not Used: Jaakkola, Kilgour, Hoole
Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Evans, Stephens, Fyfield, Coxe, Broadbent, Payne, Brunt (Rees 77’), Ilesamni; Ndlovu (Marsh 71’), Newton
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Lewis, Williams, Sousa, Andrade
Goals: Broadbent 18’, Stephens 30’
Star Man: George Broadbent
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