Ricky Shakes Up The Leaders.
Vanarama Conference South.
Maidenhead United 0 Boreham Wood 1,
by John Mead.
After dominating the first half, Wood were made to dig deep for this all important victory recorded significantly on an afternoon when they were the only side in the top eight to win.
It was down to Ricky Shakes, one of only three players to have featured in every League game so far to hit his seventh goal of the season just eight minutes from the end of normal time, to keep the pressure on at the top of the table.
The playing surface had an impact on the afternoon’s entertainment, a bouncy sparsely grassed surface that, along with the wind gave both sides a disadvantage especially when kicking away from the York Road end. It was advantage Wood in the first half and after an early scare they completely dominated the game. After the turnaround the game became a patchy, more even and sometimes turgid affair with the ball spending most of the time off the ground.
Wood were almost behind in the third minute when Adrian Clifton down the left lifted the ball into the path of Tyrell Miller-Rodney whose volley from just eight yards out was superbly blocked by a point blank save from James Russell.
Thereafter Wood took control, yet failed to add the gloss to some good penetrative play. Lee Angol should have found Charlie Walker with his cut back after some good work down the left but the pass went awry, before Shakes cut a ball back into the path of Daryl McMahon who shot high.
Ben Herd hit some lovely flighted free kicks into danger that troubled the defence but the finishing touches were poor. With Wood winning a string of corners they played one short out on the left which McMahon sent over. Josh Hill flicked on to Callum Reynolds at the far post but he headed the wrong side of the upright and another chance went begging.
Angol netted with a bicycle kick after Shakes had wrestled possession whilst prostrate in the penalty area but it was from an offside position. McMahon then went close twice in as many minutes with audacious efforts hit with venom from tight angles, on both occasions forcing Ashley Timms into saves.
Angol and McMahon combined on the break with the latter firing just over the bar. Angol then embarked upon a mazy run taking him past several defenders but without an end product.
Russell, who had spectated the game since his early save was forced to cut out a cross as the half time break approached.
The second half commenced with Shakes, who was up and down the field of play all afternoon, setting up McMahon who on another day would have taken the match ball home, again missing the target. After that the action deteriorated until Miller-Rodney forced a save from Russell who gathered at the second attempt.
A change was needed and both managers began to tinker in search of a goal. Allinson introduced Junior Morias after 69 minutes and it proved to be the change that held the winning formula. Angol broke down the middle playing Morias through on goal. Timms did well rushing out to block the original effort, but Shakes followed up superbly firing the loose ball into the bottom corner of the net.
The Magpies’ De’Reece Vanderhyde then delivered the best cross of the entire game with two minutes remaining and it needed a superb intervention from Reynolds to deny substitute Tashan Adeyinka.
There was one more late scare for Wood when Dave Tarpey who had been kept quiet all afternoon, thanks to a solid unassuming midfield performance from Scott Thomas, got in behind the defence forcing Russell into his second important save of the game.
However Wood held on to record their nineteenth victory of the season, breaking through the sixty point barrier and staying second in the table.
After the game I spoke with Ian Allinson who gave his analysis. “ I was really pleased the way we went about our business. We kept our shape well and created the better chances. We defended well especially in the second half and James Russell made two very important saves. We had to dig deep and we did not play particularly well but the pitch and the wind was a great leveller and it was tough for both sides out there today.”
With regards to the team selection he added, “ It was the first chance for Charlie Walker today and with all new strike partnerships they need time. Then you look to the midfield and you look at Scott Thomas. He has started seven games for me since Christmas and we have won every single one of them. That speaks volumes and the excellent squad I am currently working with give me options that I need to look at very carefully with seven massive League matches and a Cup Semi Final to prepare for!”
Team: Russell, Herd, Nunn, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas, Shakes, Angol, Walker ( Morias 69), McMahon ( Whichelow 79).
Subs not used: Montgomery, Martin, Garrard.
Bookings: Hill, Angol.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Shakes 82.
Wood Fans Man Of The Match: Scott Thomas.