The Skrill South.
Eastbourne Borough 1 Boreham Wood 0
by John Mead.
Another fine performance and another disappointing result leaves Wood in the bottom three after a battling show. This was a fine and entertaining match between two sides playing attractive football. There was little sign of an F A Cup hangover to the credit of the visitors. Yet the inability to convert chances into goals, a regular theme this season allowed The Sports to rather fortuitously bag all three points.
Ian Allinson freshened things up recalling Matthew Ball and Matty Whichelow and it was Ball who missed the first of many opportunities after just twenty three seconds. Set up by David Moli his looping drive went just wide of the target. Less than a minute later Luke Garrard, showing a hunger for goal after his midweek penalty at Carlisle saw his on target effort blocked for a corner.
Chris Shepherd then curled a free kick into danger which James Russell needed to handle to keep his side level. Wood were peppering The Sports penalty area and were very much the better side in the opening half hour. The passing and movement was first class with Whichelow executing a fine pass to allow Graeme Montgomery in on goal, yet the home defence were in a mean mood.
Moli got the better of Ian Simpemba who scythed him to the floor, yet with the advantage played Montgomery struck a fine low shot on the right that was well saved by Craig Ross, showing the form that led to his recent England C call up.
It appeared Moli got the better of the experienced Simpemba again after 28 minutes when Sam Cox superbly gained possession in the centre of the park. The young Wolves forward powered into the penalty area and went to ground under the challenge. After initially pointing to the spot referee Mr Fitch reversed his decision giving a goal kick after consulting with his assistant.
Callum Reynolds was again peerless in the Wood defence reading the game with ease. Ben Nunn went close with a bouncing shot after some fine build up play before the home side created their first chance after 33 minutes. An inspired run through the middle of the park from Jack Deaman, a recent signing from Birmingham City led to Russell parrying then Reynolds clearing.
Garrard produced the best chance of the half just before the interval. A telling cross from Montgomery was only half cleared allowing Garrard to fire in a well controlled volley that was met by a fingertip save at Ross’s left hand post.
Charlie O’Loughlin went close with a header before The Sports leading scorer Simon Johnson fired well wide at the other end.
With Simpemba now winning his battle with Moli and with 1 strike partner Ball playing deeper, Wood’s chances dried up and Allinson responded introducing Raheem Sterling-Parker and Greg Morgan. It immediately made an impact, with Morgan’s long throw into danger falling for Garrard who again went close with a decent effort from just inside the area.
Sterling-Parker then supplied for Cox from the right and the diminutive midfielder scooped his effort over the bar when well placed. Nunn then joined the shooting gallery expertly playing a ball through a defenders legs before stinging the hands of Ross.
As the game wore on the home side exerted more pressure on the Wood defence . Reynolds was there time and time again however and a less competent side would have surely thrown the towel in.
Then with nine minutes remaining the killer punch came. The impressive right back Lewis Tallack skipped a challenge on the wing sending a pass to the feet of Darren Lok on the corner of the penalty area. His touch and shot was first class, rifling low into the bottom left hand corner leaving Russell no chance .
That gave an already exciting game a different perspective as The Sports looked to preserve their slender lead. Wood committed to going forward were almost caught out several times on the counter attack. The lethal pairing of Tallack and Lok combined again with Russell watching the latter’s shot run just wide of his post.
Lok had another late chance to make certain of the points but blasted over, leaving Ian Allinson to summarise, “ We had enough chances to win the game and looked good on the ball. Ultimately our problem of not scoring has come back again today. We may need to look at our formation and we were unfortunate to lose to a side who managed just two shots on target all afternoon. The boys were magnificent up at Carlisle and gave their all again today.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Cox, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Whichelow, Garrard, Moli ( Sterling-Parker 65), Ball ( Lipman 79), Montgomery ( Morgan 65).
Subs not used: Lobjoit, Noto.
Bookings: Charlie O’Loughlin.
Goals: Eastbourne Borough: Lok 81.
Wood Man Of The Match: Callum Reynolds.