Woking 0 – 2 Boreham Wood 
Saturday 11th December 3.00pm
The Laithwaite Community Stadium, Vanarama National League

Victory over Woking was secured thanks to two early goals from Kane Smith and Gus Mafuta.

In a game that very much defined the phrase ‘a game of two halves’, Boreham Wood came out the blocks in spectacular fashion when they opened the scoring within 30 seconds. Luke Garrard kept the team unchanged from the historic win in the FA Cup Second Round over St Albans City and got off to a lightening quick start when Kane Smith hit a first-time volley into the bottom corner after a clearance, taking under a minute to break the deadlock and give the visitors the lead. This lead would be doubled 11 minutes later when Tyrone Marsh sent in a deep cross from the left, where Mafuta was waiting to head in his second goal in as many games from close range. Woking struggled to break down a stubborn Wood defence for much of the first half, with half chances for Tyreke Johnson and Louis Britton being the closest the hosts came to scoring in the first half an hour. The Wood continued to dominate possession without having too many clear opportunities, although Scott Boden volleyed over from close range after being picked out by Smith before Marsh tried his luck from distance with an effort that flew well over the bar. Woking saw what was perhaps their best chance of the half, as Britton was sent through on goal by Max Kretzschmar but the striker’s first touch let him down, allowing Taye Ashby-Hammond to gather in the Wood goal. The hosts certainly grew into it towards the end of the first half, however. Tommy Block sent in a long throw from the right that bounced around in the box before coming back to the wing-back, who struck a powerful half-volley across goal that was deflected out for a corner. Johnson would then beat Smith with some trickery and footwork on the left but his cross was claimed by Ashby-Hammond. Wood were undoubtably the happier of the two sides going into the break, but Woking wouldn’t have been disheartened by their display at the end of the half and were keen to take it into the second. Boreham Wood probably should have added a third when Boden came close to poking home a Jacob Mendy Mendy cross before Jamal Fyfield hit the side netting with the goal gaping just three minutes later. They were nearly made to pay for failing to extend their lead too, when Dave Stephens needed to be alert to clear off the line when an in-swinging corner nearly went all the way in. Woking started to grow in confidence as well as enjoying extended spells of possession, and were only denied a goal due to a lack of cutting edge in the final third. They were gifted a lifeline though when Will Evans saw red just after the hour mark, being penalised for handball on the edge of the box and receiving his second yellow card. The subsequent free kick from Kretzschamer was saved by Ashby-Hammond, but Woking looked the clear favourites to score the next goal, if only they could find a way past a resolute Wood defence. Chances continued coming and going for the hosts with Kretzschamer and Block going close, and Garrard reacted to this shift in momentum by putting Frankie Raymond on for Marsh. Another lifeline was awarded to Woking when substitute Innih Effiong went down in the box under a challenge from Fyfield, with the referee pointing to the spot with no hesitation. Kretzschamer stepped up take the spot-kick, but it was clear this wasn’t Woking’s day as the midfielder rattled the crossbar with a powerful strike that left Ashby-Hammond stranded. The goalkeeper needed to be on hand again soon after, making a brilliant save to deny Effiong before Johnson was unable to find the net from the rebound. Effiong would fire a tame effort goalward from the edge of the box that was comfortably gathered by Ashby-Hammond in injury time, with pressure easing towards the end as the Wood were able to regain their shape and maintain control of the game. Smith was a standout for the visitors, along with a resilient backs to the wall performance by the back three. The game management was impressive as they withstood plenty of pressure throughout the second half, and Garrard will be pleased his decision to switch to a back four paid off too. They were perhaps lucky to avoid conceding, but two early goals and a strong first half display was enough to secure the three points, sending the 61 away supporters home happy.

Boreham Wood: Ashby-Hammond, Evans, Stephens, Fyfield, Mendy Mendy, K Smith, Ricketts, Rees, Mafuta, Boden (Clifton 88), Marsh (Raymond 71)

Subs not used: Lewis, Comley, Ranger

Woking: Smith, Champion, Diarra, Kretzschimar, Johnson, Annesley, Britton (Effiong 61), Campbell. Block, Anderson, Ince

Subs not used: Ross, Casey, McNerney, Allarakhia

Star Man: Taye Ashby-Hammond

Match report written by Aaron Bennis


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