Shakes Shaping His Own Destiny!
Vanarama Conference South.
Wealdstone 0 Boreham Wood 1,
by John Mead.
Ricky Shakes decision to commit to Meadow Park next season was made with an open view as to which League “The Wood” will be playing in. At the moment it is Shakes himself who is seemingly determining the future of the club. His 45th minute goal, the only one of the game earned his side another precious three points in a race for not only a play off place, but a punt at the title itself.
Last Saturday it was Shakes who again rescued the point with his 78th minute equaliser at home to Whitehawk, the week before another gritty 0-1 win on the road at Maidenhead United was down to another goal from the Guyana International.
Today’s effort, coming at the end of a period of intense pressure and just seconds before the momentum would have been thwarted by the half time whistle, puts the midfielder into double figures for the season. He has been ever present this campaign, a player Ian Allinson seemingly dares not to leave out.
Just how difficult this league is was laid bare for all to see minutes after the final whistle with the news that League leaders Bromley were beaten by Staines Town on their own patch. It has taken the victors 35 games to reach 20 points, in doing so blowing the title race wide open, again!
In truth the three points were worth their weight in gold to Allinson’s side, whilst Gordon Bartlett’s charges are steering themselves to as high a finish as possible in their first season in this gruelling competition. That said it was, as it always is in the Vanarama Conference South, a titanic battle.
The first half was a breeze for Wood, quite literally with the wind at their backs and a gradient in their favour. That they amassed seven corners in the opening twenty minutes, all of which troubled either Jonathan North or his foot soldiers in front of him was testament to how good Wood were. Add to that four telling free kicks from dangerous areas, the lead was well deserved when it eventually came.
Jefferson Louis fired a low shot that was gathered by James Russell, before Shakes and Lee Angol combined setting up Junior Morias for an overhead effort that went just over the crossbar.
With recent signings Ben Herd and Daryl McMahon providing excellent options from dead ball situations Wood have a more clinical look about them of late. McMahon forced North into a flying save to tip over a free kick from thirty yards out.
Wealdstone then threatened with a superb volleyed effort from Matt Ball requiring the full attention of Russell who was equally as acrobatic as his opposite number.
Scott McGleish then tried a bicycle kick but it lacked any real power.
Angol saw his flicked effort from a McMahon corner cleared off the line by Luke O’Nein as Wood looked the likelier to score. More excellent work from Angol involving a run drifting across the goal mouth before a quick one two with Ben Nunn led to the Clubs leading goalscorer firing just wide.
The breakthrough came courtesy of a fine free kick delivery out on the left from Herd. Josh Hill rose to head it back across goal and Shakes was on hand to head home.
The second half lacked the conviction in attack from Wood, with The Stones enjoying the added inertia of the weather and the gradient. Yet the Wood defence dealt with everything that was thrown at them. Callum Reynolds was impassable, as was Hill. Herd meanwhile often turned defence into attack with a superb wing back display that showcased all his experience from his League football days.
Ball went close firing an effort just over the bar as the home side forced a string of late corners, roared on by The Stones faithful in the Bulla Stand, but with so much at stake the Wood defended superbly to a man, epitomising a fine all round team performance on the day.
This priceless win leaves Wood just one point off top spot and although the surrounding pack have games in hand, the Wood faithful can continue dreaming!
Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Hill, Reynolds, Thomas, Shakes, Angol, Morias ( Martin 93), McMahon ( Whichelow 78).
Subs not used: Walker, Montgomery, Garrard.
Bookings: Cox, Nunn.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Shakes 45.
Wood Fans Man Of the Match: Ricky Shakes.