Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood – 0
Ebbsfleet United – 1
by John Mead
The stark reality of life in the Blue Square Bet South came back into the spotlight with this latest defeat in the League. The score line hardly reflects the visitors dominance, although an astute double substitution by Ian Allinson early in the second half gave Wood an altogether more robust look.
The game will leave visiting Manager, Liam Daish, plenty to think about as to just how they can comfortably overwhelm a resolute Wood defence next week at home in the F.A. Challenge Cup after showing that they are head and shoulders above Wood talent wise across the rest of the park.
On a better day the ox-like Calum Willock who found fame at Peterborough United could well have gone home with the match ball, yet the centre forward found Ashlee Jones between the sticks and the rest of his soldiers protecting the dread locked ‘keeper’s net in outstanding form.
The first half was the most one sided seen this Season at Meadow Park. Joe Benjamin had shot wide in an early rare attack for Wood, before Ashley Carew saw his thirty yard free kick palmed away by Jones. Willock then beat Lee Kersey to set up Ricky Shakes who could not keep his shot down. Carew then tried a curler that Jones took at his left hand post before Wood’s industrious Captain Mario Noto saw his dangerous run out to save his defence’s blushes.
Luke Garrard was robust for Wood and he needed to be on more than one occasion with the dangerous Carew linking up with the attack.
With Wood forced to defend for pretty much the entire first half it left Leon McKenzie totally isolated up front, given the lack of success Greg Morgan and Benjamin were allowed out on the wings from the well organised Fleet side.
The inevitable breakthrough came not from wide as expected but from a central ball by Tom Phipp that found Michael West just inside the Wood penalty area. His first time effort took Jones completely by surprise with the ‘keeper diving low but allowing the ball to pass under his body.
Wood responded with a turn and shot from Elliott Godfrey that was just high to end the half.
Willock headed just over from Derek Duncan’s cross before a superb block from Ryan Moran denied Phipp before Jones atoned for his first half blip with a point blank save to repel Willock’s shot from six yards.
Jones then acrobatically tipped a further Willock effort over the bar, before the introduction of David King and Dean Cracknell, replacing Morgan and Benjamin. Slowly but surely Wood began to ease into the game for the first time. Noto had several attempts from distance as Wood suddenly appeared regularly in the Fleet half. Daniel Brathwaite pushed forward down the left wing to great effect and Noto had Preston Edwards scrambling to save a shot at his near post.
Leon McKenzie was adjudged to have pulled down Willock as he looked to counter attack, earning him his second yellow card of the game, yet with minutes remaining it had little effect on the end result.
Team: Jones, Garrard, Brathwaite, Moran, Kersey, Noto, Cochrane (Sub – Onibuje 80 mins.), Godfrey, McKenzie, Morgan (Sub – Cracknell 58 mins.), Benjamin (Sub – King 58 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Dadson, Baker-Owers.
Bookings: Boreham Wood: McKenzie (sent off 89 mins.), Noto.
Goals: Ebbsfleet United: West 39.
Man of the Match: Daniel Brathwaite.