Nunn Rescues A Massive Point.
Vanarama Conference South.
Ebbsfleet United 1 Boreham Wood 1,
by John Mead.
Ben Nunn’s 87th minute penalty rescued a massive point for Wood against a classy Ebbsfleet United side.
It leaves Wood needing to beat Chelmsford City in their last game of the season in two weeks time to guarantee at least 2nd spot in the table. That would ensure that the play off final will be at Meadow Park, should Wood indeed take part and win the double header Semi Final .
The title is mathematically still between four sides, but if Bromley beat Weston super Mare next weekend they can start the celebrations.
There is no doubting the quality that is oozing through Jamie Day’s expensively assembled squad, yet as other less wealthy teams have done in the recent past, Wood gave them a run for their money. It was Wood who played all the football right up until Adam Cunnington finished off a polished move to give The Fleet the lead after 40 minutes. Prior to that the home defence were the busier of the two outfits, yet it took over half an hour before either keeper was tested. Josh Hill met a long cross from the right from Graeme Montgomery and forced Brandon Hall to punch the effort onto the roof of his net.
With the quality in riches that Ebbsfleet possess in front of goal, it was feasible that one decent chance would be enough and so it was proven. They broke from deep on the right, with Danny Kedwell riding two weak challenges before playing Matt Godden through down the wing. With the Wood defence stretched his cross was perfect for Cunnington to peel away from his marker before steering a superb header beyond James Russell.
Buoyed by the goal The Fleet looked capable of a second after the interval, but found the Wood defence in superb form. Ben Herd blocked a Theo Lewis effort before Kedwell shot just wide.
Wood needed a goal badly and Charlie Walker replaced Lee Angol with just under twenty minutes remaining. A minute later he drew a save from Hall steering Nunn’s cross towards goal. Nunn then lost possession allowing Cunnington space to strike a goal bound effort from thirty yards out that Russell tipped over the bar.
Kedwell then saw a header saved by Russell, before Ian Allinson threw the kitchen sink at the opponents. Ricky Shakes was replaced by Ben Martin, with the Wood Boss demanding his two wing backs stay forward.
After a couple of shaky moments at the back Martin sent a mercurial cross field ball forty yards upfield for Nunn out wide on the right. He played a quick one two with Junior Morias before sending a cross into danger. It spiralled free for Sam Cox who prodded the ball through the defence for Walker was was brought down before he had the chance to shoot. Nunn stood tall and blasted possibly the most important goal of his career high into the roof of the net with three minutes remaining to set up a tense finale.
Suddenly Wood were back in the game and the title race. Tyrone Marsh saw his cross cut out by Callum Reynolds. It was Reynolds again from the resultant corner who cleared upfield for Walker to miss the target with an overhead kick.
With Wood so desperate for a win Martin set up one final attack. Morias drove forward setting up Matty Whichelow who found himself through on goal only for Hall to make a superb save to preserve a draw for his side.
This result combined with others on the day means Whitehawk are just one win away from securing the final play off place still up for grabs, with Concord Rangers now the main challengers, leaving Ebbsfleet although not mathematically out of it, to become the bookies favourites for the title for the second year running!
I caught up with Ian Allinson later in the evening and he gave his appraisal of the afternoon’s action. “ When you look at the team we played against with a host of players that were playing League football at Christmas I am extremely pleased with the way we performed. I thought we looked comfortable before we gave away the goal which was the only disappointing moment for me. We were looking forward to going in level at the interval and knew we would have to chase the game in the final stages. Obviously when I chose to go three at the back it gave us height in both boxes and it was a huge gamble to leave ourselves open but it led to the penalty. At that stage I welled up with pride. We had no recognised penalty taker on the field, but Callum Reynolds and Ben Nunn, who were both absolutely outstanding today offered themselves up for the task. I thought we were superb in the last fifteen minutes and their keeper has saved the draw for them at the death. These players have been absolutely fantastic for me and they never give up. We will now get ready for a Cup Final on Tuesday!”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Shakes (Martin 81), Thomas, Angol ( Walker 71), Morias, Montgomery ( Whichelow 65).
Subs not used: Garrard, Courtnage.
Bookings: Reynolds, Thomas.
Goals: Ebbsfleet United: Cunnington 40.
Boreham Wood: Nunn 87 pen.
Wood Man of The Match: Ben Nunn.