Blue Square Bet South
Ebbsfleet United 2 Boreham Wood 2
by John Mead
A quite brilliant second half comeback earned a point at second placed Fleet, with Mike Cestor the eighteen year old Leyton Orient Loan player central to the effort. Going two goals behind after twenty minutes to a strong and well organised outfit, who looked like scoring every time they crossed the half way line, seemed to be the recipe for a morale crushing heavy defeat.
The turning point in the game came rather fortuitously after 27 minutes as Wood boss Ian Allinson explained “We were at a loss to the power of their midfield diamond formation. Then Alan Inns took a knock and could not carry on, forcing us to go from a back four to a back three, sending on Jerome Maledon to wrestle back control in the centre of the park.”
Wood played with fear as the home side stormed into the lead after nine minutes. Right back Joe Howe had already caused chaos with his marauding runs when his cross was repelled by Cestor only as far as Conor Okus inside the penalty area. He rolled the ball along the ground to Jacob Erskine, making his full debut who guided the ball wide of Wes Foderingham from eight yards out.
The relentless power play from the home side yielded further benefits when a dangerous ball into the area was punched by Foderingham to the edge of the area, where Tom Phipp angled a brilliant volley beyond the twenty year old on Loan from Crystal Palace.
With Wood struggling to even touch the ball, Inns made way for Maledon, with Cestor making the centre back position his own. Wood managed a rare attempt on goal, when the hard working David Bryant fed Ola Sogbanmu. His shot was charged down by a defender running for Gareth Risbridger whose ferocious low goal bound drive was excellently stopped by the feet of Preston Edwards, his first action after thirty-four minutes of play.
Allinson’s half time dressing down had the desired effect and what Wood produced after the interval left the entire Stadium shell shocked. Michael Kamara turned in another superb performance at right back and shot across goal, before Erskine failed to hit the target when well placed, signalling the Wood comeback. Elliott Godfrey was impeded on the edge of the penalty area, earning a free kick. Mario Noto’s shot hit Dean Pooley spiralling into the air, Sogbanmu reacted quickest sending a towering header beyond Edwards after sixty-five minutes.
The pressure on the Fleet goal continued and two minutes later Wood equalised to seal a brilliant comeback. Winning two successive corners and with the home side failing to clear Risbridger struck a low shot from twelve yards that was helped on by Substitute Sam Hurrell, with Cestor on hand to stab the ball over the line. With Allinson screaming for his side to go on and win the game Sogbanmu played out of his skin up front alongside Bryant. With the colour draining from the title challengers faces, Parisien Cestor was simply irresistible in the heart of defence winning every challenge and clearing every ball to safety.
There was a great chance to grab all three points when Kamara cleared his lines picking out Maledon who drove forward through the midfield, supplying Sogbanmu. He played a fine ball into the slipstream of Noto whose rising drive was just too high. It was a magnificent team effort that extends Wood’s superb run to just one defeat in nine matches.
According to Allinson, “We were as good second half as we were poor in the first. The players finally responded and I am extremely proud to have rescued a point, yet a little disappointed it was not all three. Our recent form dictates that we should fear nobody in this League, given the Squad we now have. The players that have come in have done magnificently. For me today, Ola Sogbanmu and the back three were outstanding. We are riddled with injuries and credit goes to the likes of Michael Kamara who has been outstanding covering at right back.” Wood remain seventeenth, yet for the first time this Season are sitting in a safe position should all the teams with games in hand secure maximum points. With Luke Garrard close to a return and the news that Luke Wilkinson may be only two weeks away from a comeback the tide seems to finally have turned in Wood’s favour after their trip to the Thames Estuary!
Team: Foderingham, Kamara, Brathwaite, Cestor, Inns (Sub – Maledon 27 mins.), Risbridger, Noto, Godfrey (Sub – Fraser 90 mins.), Sogbanmu, Bryant, Nicolau (Sub – Hurrell 62 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Close, Baker-Owers.
Goals: Ebbsfleet United: Erskine 9, Phipp 20. Boreham Wood: Sogbanmu 65, Cestor 67.
Man of the Match: Mike Cestor.