Boreham Wood 0 – 2 Gateshead
Tuesday 25th April 2023
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
WOOD FAIL TO HEED WARNINGS
A brace from Adam Campbell either side of half time proved enough to seal all three points for Gateshead, preventing Boreham Wood from sealing their place in the play-offs in the process.
A dominant opening to proceedings from the visitors saw Campbell give them the lead when the Wood defence failed to track his run into the penalty area, and he was afforded time and space to fire the ball beyond Nathan Ashmore after being picked out by Stephen Wearne.
The Heed continued to control the game into the second half despite a slight improvement from the Wood, and they will have paid the price for notable golden opportunities for Lee Ndlovu and Tyrone Marsh going amiss when Campbell doubled both his tally and his side’s lead with minutes to spare, ensuring the Wood have to wait until the final game of the season to secure their play-off spot.
Defeat against the Heed sees the Wood remain in seventh and fail to clinch their place in the top seven with a game to spare, and they will be keen to make amends and seal their play-off spot when they host already-relegated Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Luke Garrard named an unchanged XI for the fourth game running in an attempt to bounce back from defeat last time out at the hands of National League champions Wrexham, and they will have been keen to channel some of that winning energy from the scenes they witnessed at the full time whistle in North Wales.
The Wood nearly produced a lightening quick start for the second game in a row, with George Broadbent being played in behind the Gateshead defence to produce three excellent chances in quick succession. A heavy touch from the Sheffield United loanee gave James Montgomery the chance to make the first save, before a crucial block from Robbie Tinkler denied him at the second attempt, and the ball would then fall to Lee Ndlovu who couldn’t keep his effort down with the goal gaping.
The Tynesiders then responded with a quick counter attack that saw Campbell drive forward before firing an effort inches wide of the far post, and this seemed to put them in control with the visitors seeing much of the ball during the next 20 minutes.
Their pressure finally paid off with 24 minutes on the clock, with Kamil Conteh playing the ball into the path of Wearne on the left flank who evaded challenges from Érico Sousa and David Agbontohoma before firing a ball into the penalty area, where Campbell picked it up in acres of space to send the ball past Ashmore.
The Heed were in the driving seat, and Campbell almost added to his tally soon after when Greg Olley jinked in and out of the Wood before setting the ball off to Owen Bailey who combined with Campbell to see the latter have a low shot from the edge of the box blocked, with the ball falling back to Bailey who sent the rebound over the crossbar.
Some neat build-up play from the Wood followed in an attempt to get back into the game, and they could have levelled the score when Sousa’s driving run on the right flank led to him firing the ball into the danger area, where Bailey had to send the ball high over the crossbar on the slide with Ndlovu lurking.
This didn’t seem to faze the visitors though, and they almost doubled their advantage moments later when Ashmore had to produce a superb save down low to deny Dan Ward, with the ball falling to Olley who couldn’t make the most of the rebound as the Wood’s defence quickly recovered to crowd him out.
Campbell would have another chance to put the finishing touches on a dominant first half from the visitors, finding himself in space in stoppage time to send an effort goalward that was comfortable for Ashmore, but his earlier goal proved enough to send the Heed went into the break ahead nonetheless.
HT: Boreham Wood 0-1 Gateshead
A disappointing first half should have kicked the hosts into gear after the break, and they looked for an improvement right from the off with a couple of free kicks won in dangerous areas early on.
This preceded a great chance for Ndlovu who tested Montgomery from close range, but the Heed stopper stayed strong and made an important save.
Ndlovu would have a golden opportunity fall to him moments later though, and he would have been kicking himself after being unable to finish off a wonderful team move. Zak Brunt sent a perfectly-weighted volley through to Broadbent who left it for Sousa on the right flank, with the wing-back sending a cross into the middle towards Ndlovu who had space to set himself for a volley, but he couldn’t get the desired contact on his attempted strike with the chance breaking down.
Bailey proved to be the danger man for the Tynesiders with a couple of chances in as many minutes, first arriving at the back post to force Ashmore into a strong save, before driving forward and sending a low effort inches wide of the far post.
The Wood continued to push though, and were roared on by the fans in the North Bank when Sousa got to the byline before winning a corner, with Brunt’s delivery almost being met by Femi Ilesanmi but he just couldn’t reach it. Ilesanmi would still manage to take control of the ball though, and picked out Broadbent who laid it off to Marsh, with the Wood number ten testing Montgomery with a low effort from close range.
Although evidently an improved second half from the hosts, it remained fairly end-to-end with Gateshead going close to a second goal once more, as Ashmore had to be at his best to deny Campbell following a one-two with Bailey, who produced an outstretched save to push the low effort away from goal.
In need of an equaliser, Garrard looked to refresh his side with the introductions of Danny Newton and Dennon Lewis, and the latter almost made an instant impact as he got in behind a couple of times without being able to take advantage.
Clear chances proved to be at a premium during large spells of the second half, owing to the strong defending shown by both sides. Another great chance fell to Marsh though with 14 minutes to go, with the striker skying his volley from close range into the North Bank.
This preceded a half chance for Wearne, who found himself in plenty of space to carry the ball forward before seeing his low shot from the edge of the box take a deflection off Will Evans that took all the spark out of his effort, allowing Ashmore to make a comfortable save.
This was then followed by another chance for Conteh, who sent his effort from inside the box over the crossbar.
The Wood should have heeded the warnings though, with the Tynesiders finally finding a way through the Wood backline for a second chance when Campbell finished off a lovely team move when he slotted the ball under Ashmore from close range following a counter attack.
This all but sealed the three points for the Heed, although Montgomery had to be alert to make an acrobatic save to deny Marsh’s speculative effort from distance and keep their two-goal cushion intact, but this proved enough to ensure Gateshead returned to the North East victorious.
FT: Boreham Wood 0-2 Gateshead
Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Agbontohoma, Evans, Bush; Sousa (Lewis 75’), Payne, Broadbent, Ilesanmi; Brunt (Rees 82’); Ndlovu (Newton 64’), Marsh
Subs Not Used: Kelly-Evans, Fyfield
Gateshead: Montgomery; Bailey, Tinkler, Francis, Hasani; Conteh, Olley; Ward (Storey 53’), Campbell, Wearne; Dinanga (Harris 76’)
Subs Not Used: Marschall, Pye
Goals: Campbell 24’, 87’
Star Man: Érico Sousa
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