Controversy As Wood Slip Up.
Vanarama Conference South.
Bromley 2 Boreham Wood 1,
by John Mead.
Bromley have the driving seat in the title race in a game that hinged upon one debatable decision from referee Mr Degnarian. His penalty award for a challenge by Wood’s Ben Nunn on Anthony Cook with just over an hour played will need some scrutiny to convince many of the 2000 plus fans present that it was a fair and correct one.
Speaking after the game I raised the days hot topic with The Gaffer Ian Allinson and he had this to say. “ I noticed in the first half a couple of hopeful tumbles inside the area from their players and hoped the referee would not be sucked in. Then it happened, a perfectly fair challenge and at the point the player loses control of the football he falls over. It happens in football, but in such massive games the referee must be 100 per cent sure, which of course he said he was. I beg to differ and I am not alone. The amount of time, effort, money, commitment and the work rate that teams put into a season campaign makes it a very bitter pill to swallow.”
The predicted shaky start soon gave way to Wood snatching an early lead with the first attack of the game by either side. Winning a corner on the right, Daryl McMahon’s delivery was met by Josh Hill who expertly guided his header into the top corner of the net, leaving keeper Alan Julian no chance.
Mark Goldberg’s decision to play with a lone striker made the Wood task of protecting the lead more of a formality than expected. Bromley won a string of corners but found the Wood defence in fine form and could not muster a shot on target.
Wood looked for a decisive second with the travelling fans out singing the massive home support. Lee Angol and Junior Morias both had shots blocked before a chance fell to Ricky Shakes. He drilled his shot into the ground with Julian relieved to gather.
The Ravens forced another corner with Rob Swaine heading just over before Danny Waldren shot over from his overhead effort from just inside the Wood penalty area.
Bromley missed a golden opportunity to draw level after 39 minutes when Waldren sent a tantalising cross over from the left that left James Russell flapping at the air. Before he had even landed the ball ran to Bradley Goldberg, who with time eternal and an open goal to aim at, the occasion took over and he skewed a hurried shot that failed to trouble the Wood lead.
Bromley registered a shot on target on the stroke of half time and it was rather special. Ben Herd’s clearance from a corner sat up for Ali Fuseini who from twenty five yards out hit a sweetly struck volley that was somehow kept out by Russell who produced a quite brilliant one handed flying save to divert the effort over the crossbar.
Goldberg Senior took the game to Wood after the interval, introducing a second striker in the shape of Jamie Slabber, with both Cook and Moses Ademola playing much higher up the field, forming an almost 4-2-4 formation.
Russell needed to rush out and prevent Slabber making an instant impact, before the influential Swaine succumbed to injury. However Paul Rodgers slotted in at right back and in truth more than made up for the departure of his Captain.
Wood were under pressure now, but rode the storm with a fine intervention from Shakes allowing Morias to advance play as far as McMahon who hit a fine effort cutting in from the left that Julian saved at the expense of a corner. A second corner quickly followed and with Julian failing to hold onto the ball, Callum Reynolds managed to swivel on the ground and get off a shot that was cleared off the line by a defender.
A minute later and the moment of the game transpired. Cook stole a yard and got inside the penalty area. Nunn neglected to dive in, instead forcing the player away from goal by getting goal side before making his challenge, taking the ball and winning possession, only for his opponent to go to ground. It was a huge decision and Cook duly took his opportunity decisively powering home the equaliser.
It served to awaken the hitherto stifled thousands that had flocked to Hayes Lane to witness one of the most important games in the history of both sides.
Bromley crafted a fine move when Goldberg and Slabber combined setting up another substitute Pierre Joseph-Dubois who found himself one on one with Russell. Surprisingly there was no flag and that may have put off the striker whose effort lacked conviction and gave Russell the chance to repel.
Allinson then made a treble substitution with seventeen minutes remaining, but seven minutes later the game ran away from his side. For the first time on the afternoon the Wood defence came up short. Jack Holland was allowed time to thread a central ball for Goldberg who ran his channel superbly getting beyond the defence to execute an accomplished finish over the diving Russell.
Wood were far from beaten with Ugo Udoji the local hero clearing Nunn’s shot off the line from a corner. Herd then flighted a free kick into danger with Hill rising to beat Julian who was again reliant on a defender to preserve the lead. Rodgers was on hand on this occasion to clear off the line.
Wood refused to buckle, with Angol drifting past three defenders quite superbly before seeing his shot from a tight angle come back into play off the base of the post.
It was a hard fought encounter that may have decided the title, yet Allinson has not given up on the idea. “ We have to now regroup and make sure we win our last three games. That will put pressure on Bromley. We know we are good at dusting ourselves down and I am tremendously proud of the way we responded to going behind. We never stop believing and they are all extremely disappointed with the way things went today. It is a privilege to still be in the mix with three games to go and we will go again in two days time.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas ( Whichelow 73), Shakes, Angol, Morias ( Walker 73), McMahon ( Montgomery 73).
Subs not used: Garrard, Martin.
Goals: Bromley : Cook 63 pen, Goldberg 80.
Boreham Wood: Hill 14.
Man Of The Match: Ben Herd.