Boreham Wood 1-0 Eastleigh
Saturday 26th February 2022
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League

WOOD GRIND OUT NARROW VICTORY OVER SPITFIRES

The Wood’s first ever Ladies’ Day kicked off with a scrappy win over Eastleigh, as an early goal from Tyrone Marsh saw us run out 1-0 victors to return to winning ways and keep their unbeaten home run going after a disappointing couple of results on the road.

Luke Garrard made three changes ahead of the coming week, with a trip to Liverpool for the highly anticipated FA Cup Fourth Round tie with Premier League side Everton to come. Dave Stephens, Scott Boden and James Comley all came back into the starting XI along with a welcome return for Nathan Ashmore to the Wood bench after a long-term injury.

It was a fantastic start for the hosts, who took just five minutes to break the deadlock. Perhaps in fortuitous fashion, a corner was swung in by Frankie Raymond and met the head of Will Evans who flicked it on to Marsh a few yards in front of goal, with the striker sending his header goalward where a scramble on the line ended with the ball in the back of the net.

Unfortunately, they struggled to build momentum from their early goal, as the game remained flat for much of the first half. Eastleigh started to grow into the game while failing to create a meaningful chance, although they did have the ball in the back of the net after 26 minutes when Tyrone Barnett rifled a cracking volley in off the post, but the referee’s whistle had already gone for offside on Harry Pritchard.

The Wood then produced a golden opportunity with Marsh breaking quickly down the left against a backpedalling Spitfires defence, before squaring a ball to the onrushing Josh Rees to put him through on goal, but he didn’t quite look comfortable and dragged his effort wide of Joe McDonnell’s far post. An improved period of possession followed for the hosts who look tidier and more threatening but continued to struggle to find a clear opening before referee Aaron Jackson brought an end to a rather dull opening 45 minutes.

The second half got underway in similar fashion to the first, with chances for both sides being very much at a premium. Jacob Mendy Mendy looked particularly dangerous in the early stages though, being involved with a handful of half chances that failed to come to fruition. The visitors then began a spell of half chances themselves with Cavaghn Miley going close with a blocked shot and a close-range volley he was unable to keep down, along with Michael Kelly firing a half volley into the heavens after it came to him from a corner.

Wood made sure they weren’t going to lose control of proceedings, and perhaps should have doubled their lead with 21 minutes to go. Raymond played a lovely reverse pass over the top from deep to send Marsh through on goal, who took it down well and cut inside as Eastleigh’s backline return to their defensive shape before playing it through to Boden, but he took too long, and the chance broke down. They continued to push, and Mendy Mendy played another dangerous cross into the box with no one waiting to receive it a minute before Marsh drove at the Spitfires defence before spreading a ball over to Dennon Lewis, who cut inside and saw his shot blocked by Vincent Harper.

There was enough time for Eastleigh to go close late on from a corner, with the cross resulting in pinball in the box before substitute Danny Whitehall swung a right leg at it from a tight angle to send it into the side-netting, although Taye Ashby-Hammond seemed to have it covered.

Eastleigh just didn’t have enough though, and a hard-earned win was secured thanks to Marsh’s first half strike along with another resolute defensive display to keep their 16th league clean sheet of the season. Will Evans, Dave Stephens and Connor Stevens were magnificent once again while Mendy Mendy looked a constant threat down the left wing, with Raymond running the midfield in Mark Ricketts’ absence. It was crucial to build momentum after two winless games ahead of extremely important week in the club’s history, whilst also keeping tabs on those above them in the Vanarama National League table.

Boreham Wood: Ashby-Hammond, Evans, Stephens, Stevens, Lewis, Comley, Raymond, Rees, Mendy Mendy, Boden (Orsi 71’), Marsh (Clifton 87’).

Subs not used: Ashmore, Smith, Ranger.

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Kelly, Camp, Broadbent, Harper, Hill, Hollands, Miley, Pritchard, Barnett (Whitehall 79’), Pitman.

Subs not used: Flitney, Hesketh, Bragg, Bradshaw.

Man of the Match: Frankie Raymond.

Match report written by Aaron Bennis. Photos by Martin Greig.

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