Blue Square Bet South.
Boreham Wood 2 Chelmsford City 0, by John Mead.
New look Wood recorded a superb victory over the second placed team in the league to lift themselves off of the foot of the table. There were three more debuts in the shape of goalkeeper Elvijs Putnins, a 19 year old Latvian who was at Meadow Park pre season representing his club QPR, who joins until the end of the season, 18 year old Woking loan striker Ola Sogbanmu and in defence Mike Castor , an 18 year Parisien who joins on loan from Leyton Oriemt.
The transition from a side lacking confidence or idea caught the high flying visitors cold. Defensively Wood were an unrecognisable force than of late. Putnins instilled a belief in his back four, with Ryan Moran back to his best. Cestor did not disappoint and his penetrating run led to the opening goal. Yet it was the performance of Luke Wilkinson that really caught the eye. He was an immovable object that constantly frustrated the shell shocked visitors.
Wood were also a threat going forward thanks to the addition of Sogbanmu, a talent so desperately missing hitherto this season. His very presence caused panic in the Clarets defence and allowed Ali Chaaban the space to express himself.
City were not allowed to settle by a Wood side that took the lead after 17 minutes. Cestor seemingly parted the waters with his forty yard run that drew surprisingly little attention from the visiting defence. He laid into the path of Sogbanmu whose low shot was missed by keeper James Pullen thanks to a deflection off the boot of defender Sami El-Abd.
Stephen Reed curled a shot the wrong side of the post for the visitors, while Putnins looked extremely comfortable saving a Dave Rainford free kick and a Takumi Ake shot. With Wilkinson in top form there was little else to trouble the new Wood keeper.
Chaaban was just beaten to a loose ball by the outrushing Pullen at the start of the second half, with City enjoying slightly more possession before Wood went further ahead. Mario Noto’s free kick was met by Moran, then only half cleared. Wilkinson deep on the right sent a high cross to the far post where Jon Clements timed his run to perfection heading home just two days before he returns to the States to continue his scholarship.
City managed a short period of sustained attack. Peter Crouch like substitute Robert Edmans met a superb ball into danger from Ake , yet headed over. It was City’s best chance all afternoon. Luke Garrard then cleared for a corner, which was well punched by Putnins, before Noto dispossessed Billy Bricknell.
Noto was clearly desperate to get on the score sheet against his old club and nearly accomplished it with a trademark fierce dipping drive that was just high.
Pullen looked under pressure with some awful clearances, before Cestor hit a low shot across gaol on the left which ran just wide.
In truth Wood were on the afternoon by far the better side and thoroughly deserved the win, which pleased boss Ian Allinson. “ We talked a lot about commitment before the game and we have had another tough week trying to bring in the right players. This is the standard we have been aspiring to and I was pleased with the contributions from all of my players today.”
In terms of what a difference a week makes Allinson added, “ I had defenders coming up to me saying they had their confidence back for the first time in weeks. That is no coincidence. Elvijs Putnins had little to do but his positioning and distribution was exemplary and something we have been missing since the end of last season. Mike Cestor came in at left back and gave us stability. Up front Ola Sogbanmu gave me commitment in bucket loads and at 18 years old he is an exciting prospect.”
Team: Putnins, Garrard, Cestor, Moran, Wilkinson, Noto, Morgan (Hibbert 64), Sogbanmu, Chaaban (Adjei 80), Risbridger, Clements (Aisien 90).
Subs not used: Green, Nicolau.
Bookings: Cestor, Risbridger, Sogbanmu.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Sogbanmu 17, Clements 57.
Man Of The Match: Luke Wilkinson.