Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Havant & Waterlooville 0
by John Mead
Greg Morgan starred for just thirty-two minutes, yet was the difference between the two sides with his virtuoso ninth minute solo effort which saw Wood home to victory.
On Grand National day this was a tale of two also rans, a totally different concept to facing up to the title and Play-off favourites. Wood has had a hard time of late picking up a sultry point out of twelve, a run that negated their monumental charge away from the relegation zone. Given that three of those games were against the leading pack, this contest took on a totally different bias.
Morgan was the undoubtedly the star of the show, albeit before succumbing to injury. With Manager Ian Allinson juggling his pack to ensure that come Eastleigh on Easter Saturday those available will have smelt each other’s sweat, there was no place in the starting line-up for the soon to be suspended Daniel Brathwaite, his jersey handed to Ryan Moran whose contribution was huge before turning an ankle.
It was also no surprise to see Alan Inns replace him with under half an hour remaining, given that the excellent Mike Cestor ends his Loan spell after next Saturday’s trip to Dartford. Michael Kamara was also recalled at right back and he did not disappoint.
Morgan’s winner was the result of a superb forty yard ball from Mario Noto. He picked out Elliott Godfrey down the right who sent Morgan off on a trademark jinking run that took him round two defenders with a brilliant change of feet before hitting a low shot across Aaron Howe that went in off the left hand post.
This halted a wave of early Hawks pressure as the visitors soon remembered their title challenge is already over. Wood were as tense as Hawks were indifferent resulting in a game of few real chances.
Morgan then set up Godfrey whose shot was charged down by Sam Pearce, before Wes Fogden had a shot from the edge of the Wood area deflected for a corner.
Ola Sogbanmu replaced Morgan and led the line well. The Hawks replacement ‘keeper Nathan Ashmore saved well from Mike Cestor, before Sogbanmu had a shot charged down by Pearce.
The second half was devoid of any goalmouth action as Wood tried desperately to prevent the visitors from scoring. Steve Ramsey managed a dipping drive that was high of the target before Luke Garrard capped his excellent performance in an unaccustomed midfield role with a points saving tackle to deny Guiseppe Sole after Substitute Mustafa Tiryaki had rounded Cestor to cross from the right.
The longer the game went on the more anxious the Wood team and their home fans became. The Hawks first shot on target came after seventy-eight minutes and that was a misguided cross that Elvijs Putnins very nearly carried over his own line. The final whistle signalled the end of a more business than pleasure affair that courtesy of other results equalled a very good day at the office.
Wood were the only side in the bottom eight to record a victory lifting them to six points above the drop zone, with four games remaining on the afternoon that St. Albans City claimed the first relegation berth.
The result delighted Ian Allinson who called the three points “ Priceless! We were playing with fear and we concentrated on Havant not scoring. Their Manager Shaun Gale admitted to me after the game that he found it hard to motivate his side with little at stake.”
On individual performances he added, “Greg was superb for his half an hour and Ryan Moran was exceptional in his first start since the beginning of March. Luke Garrard showed he can play in midfield and now hopefully the players can take some confidence to Dartford next Saturday.”
Team: Putnins, Garrard, Cestor, Moran (Sub – Inns 66 mins.), Wilkinson, Kamara, Morgan (Sub – Sogbanmu 32 mins.), Godfrey, Bryant, Noto, Nicolau (Sub – Brathwaite 80 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Risbridger, Maledon.
Bookings: Garrard, Noto.
Goal: Boreham Wood: Morgan 9.
Man of the Match: Elliott Godfrey.