Boreham Wood 0 – 0 Eastleigh
Saturday 25th March 2023
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
HONOURS EVEN AS WOOD ARE HELD TO A DRAW
It finished goalless at the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park as Boreham Wood and Eastleigh went head-head-head in a fiery clash that saw sixth place face seventh place in the National League, with a draw completing a full house of results this season against the Spitfires with the Wood coming out on top in the FA Cup First Round before losing at the Silverlake Stadium in December.
A largely enjoyable first half saw the visitors have the better of things with a handful of chances, the best of which fell to Danny Whitehall as he almost gave the visitors the lead with a magnificent solo effort midway through the half.
The Wood saw a slight improvement after the break, but they were unable to penetrate a stubborn Spitfires defence despite producing a golden opportunity at the start of the half with Lee Ndlovu and Dennon Lewis having chances in quick succession go amiss, although the Wood rode their luck at the death when Charlie Carter fired inches wide of the far post as he came ever so close to sealing a winner, but it wasn’t to be for the visitors as Nathan Ashmore recorded a sixth clean sheet in seven games.
A point against the Spitfires means the Wood avoid successive defeats after last week’s trip to Solihull Moors, remaining in seventh whilst keeping tabs with their play-off rivals in their pursuit of a place in the top seven as they approach the business end of the season, and they will be looking to return to winning ways immediately as a short break sees them welcome Torquay United on Tuesday night.
Luke Garrard opted to shake up his attacking options as he gave Lewis a rare start up front to partner Ndlovu, with two changes to the starting line-up seeing the former Watford man come in for Tyrone Marsh while Cameron Coxe replaced Érico Sousa on the right flank due to a groin injury.
An end-to-end opening to proceedings promised an entertaining affair under the sunshine, with some early pressure seeing Chris Bush’s long throw-in headed out for a corner which Femi Ilesanmi headed goalward before the referee brought play back for a foul.
Eastleigh responded by forcing a couple of corners of their own as they looked to stamp their authority early on, and they almost made one of them count as Whitehall met Michael Kelly’s delivery but he was unable to keep his header down.
They were almost gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead after a bright start though when Oscar Rutherford broke away at speed following a Zak Brunt free kick at the other end, but the Wood were able to recover and get back in shape to ensure the chance fizzled out.
Keen to avoid going behind in what was a crucial encounter in both side’s quest for a play-off place, it was the Wood who went closest next as they looked to take the initiative against their play-off rivals. A deep Bush cross found Ndlovu at the back post where he headed back across goal, with his ball just lacking a final touch as nobody was waiting in the middle to get on the end of it, allowing Eastleigh to clear.
The Spitfires will have been buoyed by the start they made and soon found themselves inches away from taking the lead when Whitehall almost produced a wonderful opener, creating a chance out of nothing as he met Brennan Camp’s header before swivelling and firing a first-time effort that bounced off the post.
The sunshine soon disappeared as the heavens quickly opened up and took its place, with a downpour of rain flooding the pitch. This swift change in the weather certainly mirrored that of the action which quickly became rather drab and uninspiring, with a break in play causing chances to dry up as neither side really threatened during an extended period at the end of the half, although Ousseynou Cissé did head another corner inches over the crossbar.
Ashmore would prove to be the hero right on the stroke of the interval as a late chance almost saw Eastleigh go into the break ahead, getting the last touch of the half as another corner was headed goalward by Christian Maghoma with the Wood number one producing an acrobatic leap to tip the ball over the crossbar, ensuring his side went into the break level.
HT: Boreham Wood 0-0 Eastleigh
The Wood kicked off the second half in the ascendancy as they looked to improve on a first half display that lacked many clear cut chances for the hosts, and they almost broke the deadlock mere minutes after the restart with a flurry of attempts in quick succession.
After Ndlovu had seen a tame header gathered by Joe McDonnell moments earlier, he soon had an even better chance as he raced clear and found himself one on one with the Eastleigh stopper who superbly denied him, with the rebound falling to Lewis in space on the edge of the box who’s follow-up effort was cleared off the line by Camp. The ball fell to Ndlovu once more though, but he wasn’t able to beat McDonnell from close range as Eastleigh were able to clear after some heroic defending from the Spitfires saw them avoid a certain goal.
The Spitfires remained resilient for much of the game, and they had to be alert with the Wood amping up the pressure as the half progressed. Some more brave defending from the visitors saw George Broadbent have an effort from distance blocked, before Lewis drove forward and fired a shot goalward that lost its sting after a block from Aaron Martin, with McDonnell able to gather as a result.
The visitors hadn’t quite been able to match their performance from the first half after the break, but they were awarded a golden opportunity with ten minutes to go from a free kick in a dangerous position, however Whitehall’s effort went straight into the wall with Camp’s follow-up effort from distance being floated towards Rutherford in space who tried to flick it on towards goal, but he couldn’t keep his header down from close range.
This preceded another opportunity for the Wood, but Lewis could only fire his effort high over the crossbar after being picked out by Broadbent on the turn.
Five minutes of added time meant there was still an opportunity to find a winner for both sides, and this saw tempers flare as David Agbontohoma was shown a yellow card seemingly for an off-the-ball incident which brought a bust up in front of the dugout, not too dissimilar to an early incident which had seen home manager Garrard booked on the hour-mark.
Tensions were high as a result, and Eastleigh almost took advantage with a last gasp chance at the death as Rutherford got beyond Ilesanmi to reach the byline following a counter attack, before cutting it back towards Carter in the middle who swept a low effort agonisingly wide of the far post, meaning it was a point apiece as it ended goalless in Hertfordshire.
FT: Boreham Wood 0-0 Eastleigh
Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Agbontohoma, Fyfield, Bush; Coxe, Payne, Broadbent, Ilesanmi; Brunt (Rees 79’); Ndlovu (Newton 87’), Lewis
Subs Not Used: Kelly-Evans, Ricketts, Marsh
Eastleigh: McDonnell; Camp (Hill 84’), Maghoma, Martin, Kelly; Rutherford, McKiernan, Cissé, Carter; McDonagh, Whitehall
Subs Not Used: Harper, Lloyd, Bragg, Scrimshaw
Star Man: Nathan Ashmore
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