Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Salisbury City 0
by John Mead
This was a real advert for Blue Square Bet South football with both sides playing at a breathtaking speed from start to finish. City, top of the League until yesterday, for five and a half months brought the best out of Wood’s defence whom can list this amongst the best they have produced all Season.
When breached James “Rusty” Russell was on hand winning three one-on-one battles with the League’s leading scorer Jamie White, the stand out statistic that led to this memorable win.
Cliff Akurang kept his place in the starting line-up, on this occasion partnered by Michael Thalassitis who played most of the game in a wide position allowing Graeme Montgomery a free rein through the middle. Then, the introduction of bright starlet, nineteen year old Jamal Lowe, took Wood across the finish line with a terrifying injection of pace that had the Whites defence backpedalling in the latter stages.
Montgomery had ‘keeper Willem Puddy scrambling to keep out a free kick after eleven minutes, saving low on the goal line. Chris McPhee then drifted across the edge of the Wood area testing Russell.
Ricky Wellard, both composed and dangerous for the visitors, executed a perfectly weighted ball for White whose excellent first touch left him with just Russell to beat in a central position. The Wood shot stopper went the right way and saved a certain goal.
City played a very high line and thwarted Wood time and time again playing the offside rule to perfection. Wood nearly forged ahead after twenty-two minutes when Montgomery headed on for Akurang. His shot from the left was mishandled by Puddy with Thalassitis on hand to shoot, only for a defender to clear off the line after reading the move.
McPhee won a race to a high ball yet could not take advantage of Russell coming off his line. The last action of the half featured a ball down the right wing from Brian Dutton which evaded Callum Reynolds. White found himself clean through yet Russell again saved superbly rushing out to spread himself low.
The second half continued at the same frantic pace as the first with both sides playing attractive football at a very high tempo. Charlie O’Loughlin blocked a Wellard shot which led to a swift counter attack with Akurang ploughing past several challenges to earn a corner. Luke Garrard showed what an athlete he is with a commanding performance in only his second start for five months, heading at Puddy from a Greg Morgan corner.
White then found himself through on goal again and staring at the whites of Russell’s eyes he was pushed wide by the out rushing ‘keeper, with the defence getting back en mass to do the rest. With White’s confidence possibly ebbing it was time for Ian Allinson to inject even more pace to the game. Jamal Lowe made his Wood debut and the nineteen year old gave skipper Dutton a torrid time.
Garrard set up Morgan for a cross that Lowe almost back heeled home, before Wood went ahead after seventy-two minutes. A tantalising cross from the right from Montgomery dropped right over Puddy. He failed to catch cleanly with Isaac winning a battle with a defender to stab the ball over the line from close range. It was his first of the Season and the ever present midfielder showed his joy in no uncertain terms!
It was a lead that Wood never looked like giving up. Ben Nunn released Lowe down the right who skinned Dutton before firing at Puddy. The young Barnet Loan player then did the same on the left wing, this time stabbing the ball beyond Puddy but with no takers to finish the move.
Meanwhile the back six continued to show why they form the meanest defence in the League and Wood cruised over the line recording a very valuable three points that cements their credentials as Play-off challengers against an exceptionally good side.
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan (Sub – Mingoia 82 mins.), Isaac, Akurang (Sub – Lowe 64 mins.), Thalassitis (Sub – Toomey 80 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Noto, Hastings.
Bookings: Reynolds, Isaac.
Goal: Boreham Wood: Isaac 72.
Man of the Match: Callum Reynolds.