Boreham Wood 4 Dover Athletic 2
by John Mead
A Michael Thalassitis hat-trick in the face of adversity continued Wood’s current blistering form with a sixth straight victory.
The victory was exceptional given that Wood found themselves a goal down after just three minutes and then were forced to play with ten men for the majority of the game after Luke Wilkinson’s seventeenth minute dismissal. By that stage Wood had already overturned the goal deficit with two goals in the first eleven minutes, one of which was a result of slack defending. Thereafter Dover hit the self destruct button twice further with Thalassitis simply on fire in front of goal.The victory was exceptional given that Wood found themselves a goal down after just three minutes and then were forced to play with ten men for the majority of the game after Luke Wilkinson’s seventeenth minute dismissal. By that stage Wood had already overturned the goal deficit with two goals in the first eleven minutes, one of which was a result of slack defending. Thereafter Dover hit the self destruct button twice further with Thalassitis simply on fire in front of goal.
With The Whites in stunning form on the back of four straight victories and occupying a Play-off place going into this game, it looked a tall order for Ian Allinson’s men to compete at the right end of the table when they fell behind in the third minute. Tom Wynter drilled a ball down the left channel finding Donovan Simmonds in acres of space. The Wood defence collectively were slow to react and his cross found Harry Baker who enjoyed the luxury of being totally unmarked lashing the ball home across Elvijs Putnins.
Yet just two minutes later Wynter was the villain at the other end. His under hit back pass was pounced upon by Thalassitis, who advanced like a train before slipping the ball under the advancing Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz for the equaliser.
Just how much the Wood leading scorer David Bryant missed the presence of Thalassitis on Tuesday at Hertford Town was exemplified after eleven minutes when the Stevenage Loan striker turned provider.
His central run and ball to the right found Sam Lechmere whose first time low ball into danger was rifled home by Bryant who timed his run to perfection to give Wood the lead in an action packed opening.
Luke Wilkinson then headed just over from Wood’s first corner delivered by Lechmere, before Putnins made a truly brilliant one handed save to deny James Walker who was clean through on goal at the opposite end.
The action continued unabated and when Walker took a superb touch to control and
run at goal beyond Wilkinson, the young Wood Captain dragged his man down and
walked thereafter straight to the Dressing Room, leaving Wood a seemingly
insurmountable mountain to climb.
David Hutton was forced to make way for Luke Garrard and it was hard to remember that he was returning from a three month layoff such was his contribution.
Bryant did very well to execute a volley just over for Wood, before Putnins denied
Barry Cogan. The quality of the action was certainly tainted by the reduction in numbers with Wood sitting deep and Bryant playing a throttled midfield role. Ian Allinson called repeatedly for patience from his players as they seemed to be already defending their slender lead.
Yet the onslaught never came and in stoppage time at the end of the half Thalassitis grabbed his second and Wood’s third.
It came gift wrapped from a Dover Athletic short corner that was played straight to Mark Jones. He set off in pursuit of the Dover goal supplying Bryant who laid into the path of Thalassitis who showed amazing composure in rounding the ‘keeper before finishing a counter attacking move of the highest quality.
Putnins denied Simmonds who shot on the turn after the interval before The Whites gave Wood another chance with a howler of a cross field ball deep in their own half. The culprit Glen Southam’s pass went straight to the best player on the pitch and he duly dispatched a low shot under Jaimez-Ruiz for a memorable hat-trick.
Some resilient midfield play from Sam Cox and first class defending from Jones and
Garrard kept Dover at bay thereafter. Nathan Ashton’s cross grazed the crossbar
before Walker reduced the arrears from the penalty spot after Charlie O’Loughlin pushed over Southam in the box.
Lechmere almost caught Jaimez-Ruiz out from a free kick, Baker blasted wide in
desperation at the other end, before O’Loughlin tested the ‘keeper with a header from a corner.
The nature of the win left Manager Ian Allinson purring, “We were organised and
there is a good belief amongst the Squad. We are decent and we are getting better. Michael Thalassitis showed tremendous composure in front of goal today and for me Sam Cox was absolutely outstanding in the middle of the park. People do
not give us enough credit for the fact that we are an extremely young side and
we will keep our feet firmly on the ground as we prepare for a trip to Welling
United next weekend.”
Team: Putnins, Sankofa, Jones, Cox, O’Loughlin, Wilkinson, Lechmere (Sub – Johnson 90+2 mins.), Isaac, Thalassitis (Sub – Ruddock 78 mins.), Bryant, Hutton (Sub – Garrard 19 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Hunter, Jordan.
Bookings: Wilkinson Sent off 17. Jones, Cox, Garrard.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Thalassitis 5, 45, 57. Bryant 11. Dover Athletic: Baker 3, Walker 66 pen.
Man of the Match: Michael Thalassitis.