Boreham Wood 2-2 Hartlepool United
Monday 5th April 2021, 3.00pm
Meadow Park, Vanarama National League

A seventy eight minute equaliser from Hartlepool substitute Richie Bennett ensured a ninth draw in the last ten league fixtures for Boreham Wood, despite Hartlepool having an outfield player in goal from the thirty-seventh minute.

Wood were unchanged from their 0-0 draw against Sutton United on Good Friday and definitely had the better of the first half. Despite this, it was the Pools who had the first real chance of the game with Rhys Oates scooping his half volley just past Nathan Ashmore’s post. It was just five minutes in when Boreham Wood took the first lead of the game. After some excellent play down the right from Kane Smith, he played a ball into Kabs Tshimanga who held off two Hartlepool defenders before playing the ball back to Tyrone Marsh who finished well past Ben Killip in the Pools goal. Unfortunately for Boreham Wood, they switched off and less than a minute later  Gavan Holohan equalised for the visitors following some excellent approach play from Luke Armstrong.

On the eleventh minute, play was held up for six minutes when two Pools players, goalkeeper Ben Killip and defender David Odusina clashed and resulting in them getting treatment. They eventually carried on. Hartlepool could have taken the lead on twenty-five minutes when the dangerous Armstrong played in Holohan but he fired over with the Boreham Wood defence exposed. Two minutes later Boreham Wood did regain their lead, following an excellent run by Corey Whitely! The Wood wide man beat Killip at his near post and it looked like the goalkeeper’s error had something to do with the injury he’d picked up earlier.

On thirty-six minutes it was obvious Killip couldn’t continue and with no substitute keeper on the bench, Pools boss Dave Challinor brought on Richie Bennett and striker Rhys Oates went in goal. This gave Boreham Wood an excellent opportunity to test the novice goalkeeper and increase their lead. Wood spent the rest of the first half in the Pools half but the visitor’s defence did a great job protecting their goalkeeper.

The second half was dominated by the visitors in terms of possession and chances. Boreham Wood failed to test Hartlepool’s “makeshift goalkeeper” at all. The attacking threat of Hartlepool’s David Ferguson and Luke Armstrong was putting Wood under pressure and for a time, our defence held firm. On seventy-one minutes Ashmore produced a fantastic point-blank save from an Armstrong header which was similar to other great saves he’s produced this season, but unfortunately for The Wood, Ashmore could do nothing about the Pools goal at seventy-eight minutes when substitute Bennett produced a fantastic back post header. Just ten minutes later it looked like the visitors might have just won it but Ashmore made another excellent save to deny Armstrong and keep it level.

Luke Garrard was disappointed at another draw from a winning position, after the match, he said “It was a game of two halves. In the first half, we were brilliant. We created some good chances. We didn’t have a shot in the second half with an outfield player in goal. The fact we have dropped two points again is a bugbear. I can’t question their work ethic and commitment but it’s frustrating that we can’t see a game out”

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Smith, Fyfield, Champion, Ilesamni, Whitely, Ricketts, Murtagh (Rhead 80), Mafuta, Tshimanga, Marsh.

Subs not used: Huddart, Stephens, McDonnell, Mingoia.

Hartlepool United: Killip (Bennett 37), Cass, Ferguson, Liddle, Odusina, Shelton (Molyneux 69), Featherstone, Oates, Holohan, Sterry, Armstrong.

Subs not used: Donaldson, Williams, White.

Man of the Match: Mark Ricketts.

Match report written by Brett Lewis (Non-League Paper & Wood Army member)


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