Wood Run Over
Vanarama Conference South
Eastbourne Borough 4-1 Boreham Wood
Wood saw their nine match unbeaten run in the League come to an end at the hands of a Borough side that took the visitors apart in an opening half to forget for Ian Allinson’s side. What happened after the interval was another story, making this a game that will stay in the minds of all those who witnessed it.
The first half belonged to The Sports. They started strong and won every fifty fifty challenge, attacking with menace and doing a conjuring act on the Wood midfield, which disappeared completely until the introduction of Scott Thomas after 58 minutes, a tactical change that itself had a sprinkle of magic about it.
The scene was set after 5 minutes when Darren Lok released Gavin McCallum down the right. His fine cross to the far post was met by Dean Sinclair who hit his volley just over the bar.
Lewis Toomey , in for the injured Junior Morias then took a touch to round Marvin Hamilton, whose recovery challenge had a penalty appeal waved away.
There was a hint of luck about the opener after 15 minutes, but that takes nothing away from the quality of the move. A central ball out to the right wing picked out Josh Hare and with Graeme Montgomery failing to cover Hare delivered a telling cross that was well met by Lok, who hit the target with James Russell slipping and unable to attempt a save.
Wood looked nervous and were failing to cope with a slippery surface, a strong wind and a very determined Borough outfit. The second goal was a “worldy” and came courtesy of a superb thirty yard effort from Simon Johnson that had the beating of Russell who failed to get a hand to it at full stretch.
The home side continued to hunt in packs, reducing Wood to hopeful balls forward which were easily dealt with a tall and athletic back four.
With the side two down and half time fast approaching Josh Hill committed an awful error. With McCallum bearing down the left he opted for a back pass that lacked conviction when aiming for the perimeter fence would have been the better option. Russell was left stranded and Lok duly danced around the Wood custodian to send the home fans into dream land.
To their credit Wood started the second half in a much better frame of mind. They were however exposed to the counter attack and Lok embarked upon a run from the half way line that Luke Garrard managed to stop at the expense of a corner.
The seeds of recovery were sewn, yet twice Russell was called upon to rush out and clear his area.
The whole game changed the instant Thomas was introduced to bolster the midfield at the expense of Montgomery. Five minutes later Wood pulled a goal back when Garrard set up Ricky Shakes on the edge of the penalty area. He laid the ball into the path of Matty Whichelow who cracked home a first time effort from eighteen yards out into the roof of the net.
Suddenly Wood were in control, executing quick passing moves, playing with an energy and testing the Sports defence.
McCallum had a chance to extend his sides lead but shot wide when under pressure, before Thomas, pulling the midfield strings set up Whichelow whose effort was spilled by Lewis Carey before being cleared.
Toomey beat the offside trap and dinked a fine effort that was inches high, before Lok again threatened on the counter. He clashed with Russell on the edge of the area, winning a penalty.
Lok crashed his effort against the crossbar and it was still game on with seventeen minutes remaining. Two minutes later Whichelow looked like he would reduce the deficit, beating Carey only to see his shot run inches wide.
The game was now a real edge of the seat thriller. Substitute Kane Haysman and Hill came together inside the Wood penalty area, but no infringement was deemed to have taken place. Then with ten minutes remaining Jordan Brown and Lee Angol broke down the left at pace. Whichelow joined in crossing for Angol who hit a fierce goal bound drive that drew a superb reaction save on the goal line from Carey.
Wood then won a free kick that was delivered into danger by Garrard finding Angol. He flicked on for Shakes who almost got the touch that would have set up an even tenser last five minutes.
In the final minute The Sports finally put the game to bed in emphatic style. Breaking down the right Hare delivered his second decisive cross of the game. It was met by substitute Nathaniel Pinney whose cushioned header back across goal was the pick of the five goals on a quite incredible afternoon of entertainment and drama.
This tie has produced twelve goals this season, this victory exacting revenge for the earlier 5-2 defeat at Meadow Park lifts The Sports to within four points of a play off place, leaving Wood’s lead at the top one that can be overhauled with the games in hand of their nearest rivals.
Speaking after the final whistle Wood Gaffer Ian Allinson held his hands up and admitted, “ Eastbourne raised their game today and did a very good job on us. They earned the right to win this tie and made no errors for us to capitalise on all afternoon. It was a tough tough game and they took their chances well in the first half. Their fourth was exceptional and unlike us they defended well.
I spoke to the players at length afterwards and told them this is what to expect from sides when you are top of the table. This is a tough tough League and there are no poor sides. It was a learning curve today and we need to reach new heights and raise our game.
At 2-0 down I felt we could regroup but the third goal on the stroke of half time killed us. That said I though we were exceptional in the second half and could easily have nicked something from it, which from three goals down is quite an achievement.”
Team: Russell, Garrard, Brown, Cox, Hill, Reynolds ( Martin 84), Whichelow, Shakes, Angol, Toomey ( Lipman 78), Montgomery.
Subs not used: Noto, Courtnage.
Eastbourne Borough: Carey, Hamilton, Khinda-John, Aldred, Simpemba, Raymond ( Worral 90), Hare, Sinclair, Lok (Pinney 86), Johnson, McCallum (Haysman79).
Subs not used: Pacquette, Welch.
Bookings: Hamilton, Haysman.
Goals: Eastbourne Borough: Lok 15, 45. Johnson 26, Pinney 90.
Boreham Wood: Whichelow 63.
Wood Fans Man Of The Match: Sam Cox.