Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 6 Eastleigh 1
by John Mead
This was Wood’s best performance at this level of football, taking a very competent and expensively assembled side to the cleaners with a first class display. Ian Allinson’s self proclaimed “great little Squad” were irresistible showing just what is achievable when a plan comes together.
Wood shaded the first half going in a goal to the good, before a blistering salvo of three goals within eight minutes of the start of the second half ended the game as a contest. In some ways Eastleigh contributed to their own demise. Scott Rogers gave away a cheap corner after eight minutes. Graeme Montgomery against his old Club delivered from the left and Callum Reynolds ghosted in to steer a perfectly cushioned header beyond Jack Dovey, his first goal in Wood’s colours.
Montgomery almost supplied for a second when he found Omer Riza with a long ball forward. Riza’s first touch with his back to goal was sublime playing back out to Montgomery, whose ball from the left across goal found David Bryant who slid in to shoot just wide. Bryant then turned provider for Montgomery playing the ex-Wealdstone player through, who stuck out a leg sending his shot wide of the right hand post.
Eastleigh shot stopper Dovey then made a hash of saving a low Sam Cox effort which he carried behind for a corner. Montgomery picked out Charlie O’Loughlin at the far post who headed back across goal where Bryant knocked on for Riza who headed straight into Dovey’s arms. Lee Peacock and Bradley Bubb combined after twenty-five minutes with the Aldershot Town’s Loan striker hitting a ferocious curling drive at Elvijs Putnins, thus recording the visitors first shot on target. The returning Daryl McMahon tested Putnins further after thirty-two minutes forcing a full stretch diving save to keep out his trademark curling free kick from twenty-five yards out. There were further scares for Wood before the interval when McMahon played Bubb through down the right. His low drive was well blocked at the near post by Putnins.
A minute later Montgomery charged down a clearance and raced through on goal only to shoot wide with the goal gaping. Had McMahon capitalised a minute later from a similar situation at the other end his side were still in the game, yet he also pulled his effort wide of the mark. Wood however were rampant and retaliated in style. Bryant played Riza through who drifted across a defender only for his goal bound shot to be charged down by Ben Wilson’s fine interception.
The second half was all Wood. On forty-seven minutes Montgomery’s free kick from forty yards out was cleared as far as Riza whose blunderbuss of a volley was cleared off the line by a defender, leaving Bryant to nip in and claim a pure poacher’s goal, his eleventh of the League campaign. Just a minute later the quite brilliant Riza’s flick on for Montgomery took Andy Forbes by surprise who was left standing as Montgomery raced from inside the halfway circle to steer a shot wide of Dovey and into the net for his first goal for the Club.
With fifty-three minutes played Wood made it four. Mauro Vilhete, whose close control and movement caused the Spitfires trouble all afternoon, predated a deflected ball into the penalty area from O’Loughlin. Substitute Tom Jordan cluttered into the pint sized Barnet Loan player, leaving Riza the opportunity to definitively blast home Wood’s fourth from the spot. With sixty-three minutes played Rogers delivered his second punishable late tackle of the game and the visitors were stunted in number, leaving their task one of damaged limitation. McMahon reduced the areas four minutes later when his free kick destined for the head of Jordan rose above the giant Substitute, before bouncing awkwardly leaving the defence flat footed and Putnins clawing at thin air as the ball finally ended up in the back of the Wood net.
Wood, led by the midfield dynamo of Luke Garrard went straight up the other end scoring within sixty seconds of the restart. The Eastleigh defence cleared to the edge of the area where Garrard himself hit a low drive under Dovey, making it 5 – 1. Wood were still creating chances a plenty. Vilhete went close with a superb rising drive from an acute angle after wriggling free of his marker, which needing the fingertips of Dovey to prevent further embarrassment.
Osei Sankofa almost got on the score sheet when a deflection to his ball in from the right needed a defender’s clearance off the line, before the single piece of stand out individual skill of the afternoon was supplied by Riza. A clearance dropped vertically in front of him on the edge of the area and from a standing start his dipping volley smashed against the underside of the crossbar before coming back into play with Dovey a mere spectator. Cox wrapped up proceedings in the last minute claiming a much deserved goal. Riza’s perfectly weighted ball allowed him two touches before finding his range just inside the area wrapping up a truly memorable team performance.
“That was the first time we have done that to a team” declared Wood boss Ian Allinson after the game. “At half time again we were faced with not putting our chances away and could have well missed out again, but I did emphasise if we stuck another two away they would crumble. This has done our confidence the world of good and we will go again next Saturday down at Dover Athletic.” When asked if his team had ever played better he hesitated before replying, “No, I don’t think so!”
Team: Putnins, Sankofa (Sub – Close 83 mins.), Beckles, Garrard, Reynolds, O’Loughlin, Vilhete, Cox, Bryant (Sub – Scott-Morris 83 mins.), Riza, Montgomery (Sub – Hutton 69 mins).
Subs (Not used): Jones, Jordan.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Reynolds 7, Bryant 47, Montgomery 49, Riza 53 pen, Garrard 68, Cox 90. Eastleigh: McMahon 67.
Man of the Match: Luke Garrard.