Late Storm Reins In Sutton.
Vanarama Conference South.
Sutton United 1 Boreham Wood 3
by John Mead.
Wood displayed a battling mentality to overturn the result in this closely fought tie in atrocious conditions. After an even first half which featured many chances for both sides, Wood found themselves a goal down after 74 minutes. When the well deserved equaliser came with seven minutes of normal time remaining many sides playing away from home against the bookies 3rd favourites for the title would have shut up shop. Not classy Wood, who hit the back of the net twice in stoppage time to rise to second in the table.
Ian Allinson got his tactics spot on against a side that have recruited heavily during the close season. Matthew Whichelow got his first start of the campaign in place of Austin Lipman. The ex Watford forward was rampant, showing pace and agility that allowed Wood to counter attack with menace. The sting in the tail eventually came from the player he replaced, Austin Lipman, who produced the best piece of skill of the game after coming on as a substitute to hit the first of the two late late goals that sealed the win.
Whichelow saw a tantalising cross come shot cleared off the line in the 3rd minute, before a brilliant ball forward by the outstanding U’s central defender and Captain Charlie Clough played Jessy Reindorf in behind the defence. His shot just over the bar from just eight yards out.
Marvin Williams then put Reindorf through with just James Russell to beat, who came off his line to prevent a certain goal.
Wood responded with Greg Morgan getting forward allowing Graeme Montgomery a cross that found the head of Ricky Shakes which was cleared off the line by a defender.
Whichelow then powered forward skipping a challenge to set up Shakes who went close. Lee Angol then provided the skill out on the touch line setting up Montgomery whose left sided cross was crucially put behind by Jack Evans with Shakes again getting into good areas.
Sutton then went close after Clough, Luke Ruddick and Louis John combined down the right playing Jamie Taylor through whose shot across goal ran just wide of the left hand post.
There were surprisingly few errors on a very slippery surface that held up well given the constant and torrential rain that was falling throughout the tie. When Matt Lockwood did slip up, Angol found himself through on goal but the veteran shot stopper Alan Julian made an outstanding save to deny the hard working forward.
Both Managers would have thought their sides had done more than enough to take the lead before the interval, with a more cagey affair continuing after the break. Whichelow hit a shot just over the bar after a fine break from inside his own half and a one two with Shakes.
Clough denied both Angol and Thomas in quick succession before Wood were put under pressure with Sutton winning several corners. It was one from the right that the Wood defence failed to deal with. Russell came and missed, allowing John to power home with his head.
The lead was almost doubled when Callum Reynolds slipped allowing Taylor through on goal. Russell’s save was crucial and possibly the turning point of the match.
Lipman was then pulled back and delivered a free kick from the left that was met by the faintest of headers from Josh Hill that had the beating of Julian after 83 minutes. It was no more than Wood deserved for their fine performance and it was about to get better.
John denied Angol, before the seemingly impassable Clough stopped Lipman in his tracks.
With five minutes of stoppage time signalled both sides turned up the heat. Russell came off his line to save twice before an intelligent quick release set Whichelow galloping forward down the left. He found Lipman in a central position whose sublime movement took him across two challenges before pulling the trigger to place a fine shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Cue mass celebrations and a need to play into the corner flag as the clock ticked down. Wood won a final corner, which was taken short. Shakes wanted more blood and his ball in for the superb Angol finally produced the goal his individual performance warranted. Akin to Lipman three minutes earlier he drifted across the edge of the area before firing home to cap a very productive Bank Holiday weekend.
Wood Gaffer Ian Allinson summarised, “ We came under pressure and conceded after dominating play for periods. I was disappointed to go behind, but the response from the players was fantastic. It was a tough call to leave Austin out, but I felt we would not be given time to get the ball into feet. Matthew Whichelow has been unfortunate to be left on the bench and he delivered today. I have seen what Austin can do coming off the bench for Arsenal and his goal was quality. Lee Angol also deserves credit for his contribution. We need to stop making the little mistakes that lead to goals as this is an extremely tough League and you get easily punished.
This performance will give me a selection headache for next Saturday, yet I feel we are still one or two players short of a really good squad.”
Team: Russell, Nunn. Morgan, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Shakes, Thomas, Angol, Whichelow, Montgomery (Lipman 76).
Subs not used: Hope, Noto, Holland, Courtnage.
Goals: Sutton United: John 74.
Boreham Wood: Hill 83, Lipman 90+3, Angol 90+6.
Man Of The Match: Matthew Whichelow.