Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Basingstoke Town 1
by John Mead
Omer Riza came off the bench to strike a seventy-seventh minute penalty, cancelling out a calamitous opening to this fiercely contested match.
Inih Effiong replaced Riza in the starting line-up, the only change from Saturday’s victorious F.A. Carlsberg Trophy side. It all went horribly wrong after just two minutes for Wood, when the returning Wes Daly made an instant impact upon proceedings. His sweetly struck curling delivery from a free kick just inside the Wood half on the left caused a lethal slip up. James Russell took his eye off the ball, dropping it at the feet of seasoned forward Tim Sills who scored one of the easiest goals of his illustrious Career to date.
A lively contest followed with both sides working incredibly hard outside the penalty areas. Cliff Akurang played Mauro Vilhete through who was stopped by Matthew Warner’s fine challenge.
Mark Jones had Ashley Bayes briefly concerned with a speculative effort from range as Wood tried to get in on the points. Both sides played some attractive football, Wood’s best move including a fine cross field ball from Graeme Montgomery for David Hutton whose shot was parried as far as Akurang who struck wide of the goal.
The recent rain added more than a zip to the playing surface which almost cost Russell a second moment of madness when he recovered from a slip just in time to again deny the predatory Sills.
Delano Sam-Yorke was proving a handful up front for Town but the Wood defence had just enough in their armoury to keep Russell relatively quiet in the Wood goal. Hutton was unlucky after the interval when he seized upon a loose ball hitting a low drive from thirty yards that struck the base of the post. The lively start to the half continued with Sills heading just wide. The stakes heightened as the half wore on, with both sides eager to take the points on offer. Wood’s urgency was met by a resilience and determination by the very capable visitors.
The already booked Douglas Bergqvist hauled down Akurang on the edge of the area, with Substitute Greg Morgan blasting the resultant free kick wide. Morgan atoned five minutes later with a super run down the left wing. His drag back left the first defender standing, his pace took him beyond Bergqvist who nudged him to the ground inside the penalty area. Bergqvist was certainly leading a charmed life as he again escaped punishment, yet in conceding the penalty allowed Wood’s other Substitute Riza to firmly place his spot kick beyond Bayes for his eighth goal of the Season.
It was the visitors who finished the stronger, with a corner clawed off the line by Russell , before he again saved well to deny Stuart Lake’s follow up shot. Callum Reynolds then stopped the dangerous run of Simon Dunn leaving the honours even at the final whistle.
The early goal left Wood Manager Ian Allinson rueful, “Without that mistake we would have won the game 1 – 0 and kept another clean sheet. We responded well and played some good stuff against a side that had a real go last night. Their form of late has not been good but Basingstoke Town disrupted our performance and certainly raised their game. We showed good character throughout and both Greg Morgan and Omer Riza did exceptionally well coming on for us. I was hoping we could have gone on and killed the game after the equaliser but credit to Basingstoke as they finished the stronger.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Vilhete, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Hutton (Sub – Morgan 64 mins.), Isaac, Effiong (Sub – Riza 64 mins.), Akurang, Montgomery (Sub – Noto 90+3 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Jefford, Close.
Bookings: Jones, Nunn.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Riza 77 pen. Basingstoke Town: Sills 2.
Man of the Match: Mark Jones.