Boreham Wood 2 – 1 Oldham Athletic
Tuesday 6th December 2022
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
LEE ‘IN LOVE’
Lee Ndlovu’s late winner brought the Wood’s winless run to an end, stealing the victory from the grasp of relegation strugglers Oldham Athletic after a battling performance from the Latics.
The opener came in stylish fashion as Ndlovu got on the end of a Dennon Lewis cross to flick the ball over the line on the hour-mark, but Ben Tollitt cancelled out this out late on when he smashed the ball past Ashmore with seven minutes to go. Ndlovu was on hand to nick a winner deep into stoppage time though, ensuring the Wood taste three points for the first time in nine league outings.
A first league victory since October means the Wood rise to eighth in the National League table, and fans will be able to prepare for England’s World Cup Quarter-Final against France on Saturday with the visit of Southend United five hours before.
Although Jamal Fyfield’s red card against Eastleigh last time out was rescinded, Luke Garrard still opted to make a change at the back with Kyron Gordon coming in for his third appearance for the club in place of Will Evans, who was forced to drop out of the squad due to injury.
Despite 11 positions separating the two sides before kick-off, it was Oldham who got off to a more positive start and they could have taken the lead inside five minutes. Sydie Peck threaded a ball through to Hallam Hope who forced Nathan Ashmore into the first save of the match from a tight angle, with the ball remaining in play as the Latics continued to apply pressure. Tollitt kept it alive and ensured the danger didn’t subside yet, but the Wood were eventually able to clear.
Peck was the architect to much of the Latics’ good play early on, and later almost sent Alex Reid through on goal with the Wood’s back three recovering well to regain their shape. The ball only went as far as Ellis Chapman though who let fly from distance, but his shot was blocked.
The visitors continued to enjoy the better of things with a lovely team move seeing Hope reach the byline before forcing a corner which the Latics took short, before sending in a cross that was blocked but it once again fell to Chapman who’s powerful volley flew past the post.
The Wood finally began to gain a foothold of proceedings with Ndlovu winning a corner after a driving run led to a powerful shot which was deflected away, with Fyfield heading the subsequent delivery wide.
George Broadbent and Zak Brunt later combined after Chapman lost control of the ball in midfield, with the former racing away before setting up the latter to send a shot into the danger area, but Oldham had enough bodies back to deny the Sheffield United man.
The hosts had finally begun to gain momentum and almost broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion on the half-hour mark with Ndlovu attempting a bicycle kick, but he couldn’t get the desired contact to send the ball goalward.
Oldham continued to keep their opponents at bay and with the Wood at sixes and sevens in their offensive shape, they almost took advantage. Tollitt broke away with Reid eventually leading the counter attack at pace which Danny Newton prevented when he got himself booked for a professional foul, and the subsequent free kick was played short before eventually falling to Peter Clarke, who sent a curling effort well wide.
Femi Ilesamni had perhaps the best chance of the half a few minutes before the interval when he found himself free in the box to meet a corner, but he could only direct his header straight at Magnus Norman as the two sides went into the break goalless.
HT: Boreham Wood 0-0 Oldham Athletic
There was a marked improvement to the Wood’s play at the start of the second half and they looked a lot more threatening after the break. This was particularly noticeable on the left-hand side, with Newton, Ndlovu, Brunt and Ilesamni all involved in the Wood’s early attacks as they looked to break the deadlock, although they were unable to make it count.
The first shot of the half fell to Tollitt instead who sent a curling effort just wide of the near post after cutting inside, but the Everton academy product had a second bite of the cherry ten minutes later when he saw a powerful shot from distance crash off the crossbar as the Latics searched for an opener.
All good things must come to an end though, and for Oldham this was clear as the relegation strugglers couldn’t hold out for much longer. An instant impact from Lewis saw him beat his man on the left flank before sending a cross into the middle where Ndlovu was waiting to audaciously flick goalward where it rolled in slow motion over the line, finally giving the Wood the lead.
Fellow substitute Érico Sousa looked to have his own impact when he charged forward in acres of space before laying it off for Newton, who cut inside before seeing a shot blocked.
A second goal of the game was wanted by both sides, with Hope sending a shot straight at Ashmore as they looked for an equaliser.
And an equaliser they would soon have, with Hope picking out Tollitt in the box who smashed the ball into the back of the net from a few yards out to send the away fans behind the goal into hysterics.
The Latics had the momentum once more, and almost went in front when John Rooney saw a header come back off the crossbar from close range with four minutes to go.
A succession of corners on the stroke of the full time whistle saw them go close again, the second of which forced Ilesamni to clear off the line as David Unsworth’s men almost stole the victory.
To the shock of those inside the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park it wouldn’t be a point apiece though, as Ndlovu popped up again to score a late late winner. Broadbent delivered a cross which was deflected into the path of the Wood number nine, who took a touch to get it out of his feet before finishing into the bottom corner, proceeding to rip his shirt off in both celebration and relief, as the Wood’s poor run of form had finally come to an end.
FT: Boreham Wood 2-1 Oldham Athletic
Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Gordon, Stephens, Fyfield (Lewis, 56’); Coxe (Lewis, 67’), Broadbent, Payne, Brunt (Rees, 73’), Ilesamni; Ndlovu, Newton
Subs Not Used: Marsh, Williams
Goal: Ndlovu, 61’, 90+3’
Oldham Athletic: Norman; Sheron, Clarke, Hogan, Kitching; Chapman, Gardner (Rooney, 56’); Hope, Peck, Tollitt; Reid (Abraham, 67’)
Subs Not Used: Hudson, Maynard, Couto
Goal: Tollitt, 83’
Star Man: Lee Ndlovu
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