The Skrill South.
Eastleigh 0-1 Boreham Wood
by John Mead.
With Eastleigh already confirmed League Champions and due to present winners medals to their players after the final whistle, they were the bookies favourites for making it eighteen wins at home to close out the season.
Try telling that to a Wood side that showed again that when they get in front, they make it very difficult for teams. On their day they are a match for any side in the League and after two abject League performances they finished the season on a real high.
Karl Brown made his full league debut and stung the hands of The Spitfires keeper Ross Flitney after four minutes with a decent effort. After surviving an early corner Wood got into their stride and stunned the home side going ahead after just 12 minutes. Josh Hill’s upfield clearance caught the defence out bouncing into the path of the run of Greg Morgan. He executed a sublime first time finish steering the ball beyond Flitney.
After 20 minutes Dan Spence fired the first shot on target for The Spitfires that failed to test James Russell. Wood had to be at their defensive best and to a man contributed to the cause with a superb collective team effort. Michael Green’s cross from the right was destined for the head of Spence at the far post until Callum Reynold’s showed awareness to clear for a corner.
Wood were not only resolute in defence but organised and penetrative in attack. Breaking through the middle of the park, Matty Whichelow, Lee Angol and Ricky Shakes linked up well, whilst Ben Nunn was industrious up and down the wing.
Mark Jones’s shot earned a corner before Hill hooked wide. After just half an hour one sensed that a goal from the home side could awaken the Champion’s, whilst another for Wood would have ended the game as a contest. Whichelow shot at Flitney from a free kick, whilst Russell had little to do at the other end.
To gauge how impressed Eastleigh Manager Richard Hill was with his side’s efforts in comparison to the disciplined and organised Wood, he allowed them less than ten minutes in the changing room at half time!
Mario Noto did his job from a corner heading a Ben Strevens header off the line. Then Angol gave the Spitfires defence something to think about going on a mazy run beating three defenders in close quarters although failing to produce a final ball.
A fine move from Whichelow and Shakes set up Nunn for a telling cross from the right that evaded everybody, whilst at the other end Jai Reason played Strevens through with a fine ball, although he was just offside.
Shakes then found himself one on one with Flitney who kept the deficit to a single goal. With Ian Allinson boldly introducing more youth in the shape of PASE players Max Holland and Jack Vasey, who both relished playing against Conference opposition. Their role was more in protecting the lead as the Champions laid siege on the Wood penalty area in the closing stages. However there was no way through against a focused Wood who took all three points home to finish the season in thirteenth place, with the Herts Senior Cup in the cabinet to boot.
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Noto, Hill, Reynolds, Shakes, Whichelow (Vasey 86), Angol, Brown (Holland 73), Morgan.
Subs not used: Montgomery, Pires, Courtnage.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Morgan 12.
Man Of The Match: Mario Noto.