Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 1 Basingstoke Town 0
by John Mead
The introduction of Ola Sogbanmu after 55 minutes turned this game from a dour struggle into a priceless victory. On paper the starting eleven looked commanding with Ian Allinson finally having a healthy Squad to choose from. On grass however it was a different story. With front men David Bryant feeding off scraps and no cohesion between midfield and play maker Elliott Godfrey Wood looked short of ideas.
This allowed the visitors to boss the game through the middle of the park and create the better chances in the first half. The game was crying out for a tactical change and when Sogbanmu entered the fray Wood were an altogether different side. His presence changed the whole dimension of the game and when Sam Hurrell joined in the fun with fourteen minutes remaining it was left to a quite brilliant goalkeeping display from the visitors Chay Morris to keep the score line respectable.
Town smothered any hopes of an early goal that Wood harboured. Snubbing out any attacking play down the wings and looking by far the hungrier in the middle of the park the visitors looked the likelier side to take the points. A lack of communication between Mike Cestor and Wes Foderingham almost proved fatal, before Foderingham made the first save of the match after twenty minutes when the strength of David Pratt allowed him to set up Greg Draper for a low drive which the Crystal Palace Loan player was equal to.
A Nicky Nicolau corner driven low to the near post then hit defender Rob Rice before flying across the goalmouth like a loose cannon, when just a touch was all that was needed to convert. Callum Reynolds then curled a free kick around the Wood wall for Pratt to connect with a rapier like header which flew off the top of the crossbar.
The half featured a distraught Allinson remonstrating with his stuttering defence, before Dragons Manager Frank Gray took advantage of the clement weather by conducting his half time talk on the playing field.
Compared to the first fifty-five minutes the rest of the game was unrecognisable. Daniel Brathwaite almost turned in an Elliott Godfrey free kick, before the visitors swung into action. It took a brilliant reaction save from Foderingham to deny Draper at the near post, before Brathwaite was on hand to clear his follow up off the line. Sogbanmu, the catalyst for Wood’s now attacking threat went close when he turned in the area, only to be denied by the brave goalkeeping of Morris.
The goal came after 71 minutes. Brathwaite did well to maintain possession down the left and played a ball forward for Sogbanmu, whose deft lay off released Bryant. He collected his third goal in five starts by staying upright to jig past two defenders before poking the ball beyond the advancing Morris, a fine individual goal.
Sogbanmu then held off three challengers to supply Bryant whose strike was thwarted by Morris, before the same pair went into combat again less than a minute later. Bryant ran back from an offside position to go through one on one with the ‘keeper who again got his angles right and smothered the effort. Godfrey went close with a thirty yard free kick, before Morris again saved his side with another great block to deny Mario Noto who had been set up by Bryant after another Wood counter attack carved the Dragon’s defence apart. Sam Hurrell’s fine low cross from the left was met squarely by Bryant as Wood looked to tear the opposition to pieces in the final stages. Morris saved his best till last with a quite superb reflex save to deny Bryant a certain goal.
Sogbanmu almost got the goal his quite magnificent thirty-five minute display deserved when the lively Hurrell again supplied, only for his header to strike the crossbar.
Speaking after the game Manager Ian Allinson admitted, “We were poor for an hour. I wanted to start with the two small strikers up front, but when you fail to pass the ball it makes their job impossible. Ola Sogbanmu, who was unlucky to have been left out of the starting eleven was just the option we needed and in the end it could have been four or five!”
With Wood the only side in the bottom ten recording a victory they find themselves at their highest ever League position of fifteenth, an amazing nine points clear of the drop zone, a position that was unthinkable at the turn of the year!
Team: Foderingham, Garrard, Brathwaite, Noto, Wilkinson, Cestor, Morgan (Sub – Hurrell 76 mins.), Risbridger, Bryant, Godfrey, Nicolau (Sub – Sogbanmu 55 mins.).
Subs (Not used): Kamara, Maledon, Moran.
Bookings: Godfrey. Goal: Boreham Wood: Bryant 71.
Man of the Match: Ola Sogbanmu.