Boreham Wood 4-3 Southend United
Saturday 7th November 2020, 3.00pm
Meadow Park, Emirates FA Cup 1st Round Proper

A dramatic penalty shootout victory ensured Boreham Wood’s second ever victory over a Football League side in its 72-year history, which ensured they go into the hat for Monday’s Second Round Emirates FA Cup draw. This pulsating encounter had so many twists and turns including the Wood surrendering a 2-goal lead, the home team got the right result in the end.

There was no indication of what was to come when Boreham Wood dominated the first half against their EFL opponents. Jamal Fyfield headed Wood into a deserved lead after just 6 minutes of play. For the rest of the first half Wood had numerous chances to add to their lead. After 14 minutes, an excellent run and cross from Corey Whitely just needed a Tshimanga touch that would have doubled our lead. Followed by Thomas’s well struck free kick which was pushed away by Mark Oxley in the Southend goal. The Shrimpers who sit at the bottom of League Two, offered almost nothing in this period.

The second half started in pretty much the same vain. Tshimanga’s shot was well blocked by Harry Lennon when it looked like he would score. After 50 minutes Boreham Wood doubled their lead. A Thomas corner was headed against the crossbar by Matt Rhead only for it to come out to skipper Mark Ricketts who struck a volley which nestled into the top corner of Oxley’s goal for only his second goal in 4 years at the club. The obvious delight of the Boreham Wood players was apparent for all to see as they embarked on a joyous celebration. They were happy to be 2-0 up and pleased for their skipper who had scored such a great goal.

Perhaps the players switched off slightly at that point and a few minutes later the visitors halved Boreham Wood’s lead when Brandon Goodship capitalised on some sloppy defending. Only 3 minutes later the visitors equalised when Jason Demetriou’s shot ricocheted to Terrell Egbri who had just come onto the pitch, who slotted past Ashmore.

There is no doubt that Luke Garrard and the players were shell shocked by this dramatic change of the scoreline. Although the visitors now had a spring in their step, the Boreham Wood players did regain their composure but were now second best.

Goodship and Olayinka went close for Southend, while Tshimanga might have had a penalty for Boreham Wood but all appeals were waved away by referee Ben Toner. The Wood lost Corey Whitely and Mark Ricketts to injuries before the referee blew for the end of the 90 minutes.

In the first moment of extra time, Tshimanga was fouled in the penalty area and the former Oxford City man, made no mistake from the spot to put Boreham Wood back in front. Despite Boreham Wood’s advantage, this wasn’t the same Southend side from the first half. They were quickly on the front foot and looked likely to get another equaliser. When the goal did come, it was something special. Arsenal loanee James Olayinka ran from inside his own half, weaving in and out of a number of Wood players before a superb finish from the edge of the area. For the remainder of extra time Southend were in the ascendancy and to the Wood player’s credit, they kept going and nullified any threat. Perhaps, having 11 days rest since our last match helped with the player’s fitness. When Ben Toner blew the whistle, it signalled, we would have the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Shaq Coulthirst, who had just come on for Ilesanmi, took the first penalty which was saved by Mark Oxley, not the best start for the Wood. It got even worse for Wood as Olayinka then scored for Southend. Fortunately, Mingoia kept us in it when he converted his spot kick. Clifford then scored for Southend and Thomas for Boreham Wood. Ashmore pulled of a fantastic save to deny Matt Rush, which then made the score 2-2 with only 2 penalties left for each side. Tshimanga, cool as you like, scored his second penalty of the afternoon before Nathaniel-George also converted for Southend. Mafuta only just managed to convert his penalty and was then down to Demetriou to keep Southend in the Emirates FA Cup competition. The Southend skipper’s effort went wide ensuring Boreham Wood’s victory and celebrations among the players.

This was a hard-fought victory for Boreham Wood, the football they played in the first half was as good as any we’d played this season. Following Southend’s two quick fire goals, it was a gritty game that really did have it all. Nathan Ashmore was once again the hugely influential with his penalty shootout heroics.

Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard was understandably delighted with the dramatic victory, he said, ”We were brilliant in the first half but came off the gas after Ricketts scored the second. However, we’re in the Second Round of the cup, a great achievement. We showed togetherness and mental strength. I loved the character we showed to win the penalties.”

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Ilesanmi (Coulthirst 120), Ricketts (Stephens 90+4), Champion, Mafuta, Tshimanga, Whitely (Mingoia 88), Fyfield, Thomas, Rhead, Smith.

Subs not used: Woodards, Francis-Angol, Huddart, McDonnell.

Southend United: Oxley, Bwomono, Hobson, Olayinka, Dieng, Goodship (Rush 116), Clifford, Acquah (Egbri 57), Nathaniel-George (Sterling 120), Demetriou, Lennon.

Subs not Used: Seaden, Phillips, White.

Man of the Match: Gus Mafuta

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


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