The FA Cup
Frome Town 2-2 Boreham Wood
By John Mead.
There was plenty of endeavour from both sides but the deadlock means they have just 48 hours to regroup before doing it all again at Meadow Park this Monday night.
Wood had to come from behind twice, yet there were no further additions to the score line after Junior Morias’ 50th minute leveller.
The Robins, buoyed by their biggest gate of the season forced James Russell into a 3rd minute save from a Mark Francis effort. Morias, in his first start since signing for the club just six days earlier heeded the early warning. Lee Angol stepped past Rhys Baggridge setting up his former Wycombe Wanderers team mate to strike an effort that crashed against the crossbar.
It was end to end cup tie fayre from the off, with Ben Thomson finding space at the other end for a free header that was just wide but deemed offside. Matty Whichelow tested Darren Chitty in The Robins goal, before Wood were caught out cold.
Luke Garrard failed to prevent Mark Cooper and Aaron Rodriguez combining down the right with Cooper crossing low into danger where more defensive dallying allowed The Robins leading goal scorer Ben Thomson space to fire home the opener after just 13 minutes.
It took a slightly bemused Wood just six minutes to level. It came from Graeme Montgomery and it was in keeping with his goalscoring record this season, something special. Receiving the ball to feet twenty yards out from goal he judged to perfection a superb lob that left Chitty flailing in the showery Somerset air.
Frome continued to battle and their pin point crosses and deliveries from set pieces caused concerns at the back for Wood, somewhat uncharacteristically all afternoon. A superb long ball from the left from Baggridge was perfect for Jack Vallis who found himself totally unmarked in the Wood penalty area. His first touch let him down and Wood were reprieved.
Callum Reynolds led by example at the back, his dominant Captains performance consisted of numerous definitive clearances to keep his side on track.
Morias was quickly onto a flick on from Sam Cox and let fly with another fine effort that Chitty did well to save. It was then the turn of Russell to excel when Ricky Hulbert got away down the right wing picking out Matt Smith whose well struck effort forced a low diving save.
Ian Allinson was left with a stern half time dressing down of his side when they went behind on the stroke of half time. A speculative thirty five yard drive flew off the boot of Jon Vance hitting the top of the crossbar before rising vertically. Russell lay prostrate and when the ball eventually fell it landed on the goal line allowing Mark Francis the easiest goal of his career, finishing from a yard out.
Wood improved after the interval and it took just five minutes for Morias to score for the second game in succession. It came from a lapse in concentration by Mark Cooper whose defensive header fell straight into the path of Wood’s recently returning hero. He smashed home an unstoppable drive beyond Chitty to level things up.
Both sides had chances, Angol shot at Chitty from a free kick, before a brilliant fluent move ended with Whichelow hitting a shot that moved in the air, with Chitty making the save of the game flying through the air to tip over.
Town were now camped out in their own half, but defended well and several tumbles inside the box went unpunished by referee Mr Laver who had a good afternoon.
Whichelow combined well with Ricky Shakes and Angol shooting just wide across goal, before Wood won a free kick. It was delivered to the far post where Reynolds was impeded by Morias and another chance went begging.
Late substitute Austin Lipman saw his header tipped onto the bar by Chitty from yet another Wood corner before Ian Allinson’s side survived a late scare. Cox yielded possession to Smith whose run and cross was dangerous, leading to two late corners which Wood managed to clear, setting up the replay.
After the final whistle Ian Allinson shared his disappointment. “ I thought we were excellent in the first five minutes, then we seemed to take things for granted until we improved in the second half. Defensively the side are giving me concerns. We have not kept a clean sheet for a while now, which is an important feature of our play. We had enough chances to win two games but at times I felt we were playing like a team of individuals.”
When questioned over his sides chances in the replay against a side in the relegation zone in the Evo Stick Southern League Premier Division he concluded, “ We will need to defend better.”
Team: Russell, Garrard, Brown, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Whichelow ( Morgan 90+4), Shakes, Angol, Morias ( Lipman 86), Montgomery.
Subs not used: Thomas, Moli, Courtnage.
Goals: Frome Town: Thomson 13, Francis 45.
Boreham Wood: Montgomery 19, Morias 50.
Man Of The Match: Callum Reynolds.