Blue Square Bet South
Salisbury City 0 Boreham Wood 2
by John Mead
A highly disciplined second half performance which was played out with ten men after Luke Garrard was shown a straight red card in first half stoppage time, steered Wood to what was eventually an easy victory.
However it came at a price, with Daniel Brathwaite stretchered off with a suspected broken ankle. After showing stubborn resistance to a big and physical Whites side for half an hour, Wood took the lead against the run of play and never looked back.
Omer Riza was the star of the show, a lone figure not only battling but troubling the Whites defence for the whole of the second half, after scoring a shock second goal just seventy seconds after the restart, to double a lead gained after thirty-two minutes.
Riza had tried an early audacious lob on ‘keeper Mark Scott, only for a defender to read the situation and divert the effort. The Whites did hit the back of the net albeit via the hand of Daniel Fitchett, an effort which earned the perpetrator a yellow card. City’s Charlie Losasso shot just wide after capitalising on a Charlie O’Loughlin error, with the home side enjoying the lion’s share of possession. That was until against the run of play Wood scored through Mauro Vilhete. A move involving Garrard, David Bryant and Sam Cox combining with his fellow Barnet team mate who hit a low shot that was deflected past Mark Scott by a defender.
Bryant wriggled free of his marker to hit a powerful drive that was well held at the near post before Osei Sankofa shot just high with City seemingly stunned by the Wood opener. They were handed a life line when Referee Mr. Muge ordered Garrard up the stairs to the changing rooms after he was perceived to kick out a leg towards Stuart Sinclair after the pair clashed.
David Hutton replaced Vilhete for the second half which with ten men looked to be a long hard battle for Ian Allinson’s men. Against all odds from the first attack Wood doubled the lead. Riza and Graeme Montgomery combined down the right. Montgomery played into danger for Hutton whose first touch of the game was a sublime back heel into the path of Riza who hit a fine angled shot beyond Scott.
City replaced their big front man Robert Matthews with an equally robust Charlie Griffin at the interval and after fifty-three minutes he was played clean through on goal by Marvin Williams only to skew his effort well wide of the target. Wood’s game plan of allowing the defenders to spray long passes down field then intercept was working magnificently, yet The Whites had a further chance to reduce the arrears after fifty-nine minutes when Elvijs Putnins and O’Loughlin failed to communicate allowing Griffin into acres of space and with only Putnins to beat, his tame effort went straight at the Wood custodian who saved easily.
Meanwhile at the other end Riza was working his magic getting in between two defenders shooting just high and causing a now pedestrian looking City defence all kinds of problems. Putnins saved well from the head of Griffin before Brathwaite was unfortunately forced out of the game with a serious looking injury. Wood were quite magnificently winding down the clock to earn a great away victory against the odds but were dealt a late scare when O’Loughlin’s hashed clearance straight to Abdulai Bell-Baggie resulted in the Wood defender hauling him down inside the penalty area.
Up stepped Griffin in the first of eight added minutes, yet it was not to be his day at all as Putnins went the right way saving superbly at the foot of his left hand post. A superb challenge from Callum Reynolds on Matthew Wright was enough to preserve the clean sheet, leading Ian Allinson to comment, “They are a tough physical side and it took us a while to overcome their strengths. We were under the cosh for the first thirty minutes and could have increased our lead before the sending off of Luke Garrard. We will be looking to view any video evidence of the incident as it did seem a little harsh. I gave the players definitive roles during the break and the plan worked. They all did what was asked of them although we did ride our luck on occasions.”
Team: Putnins, Sankofa, Brathwaite (Sub – Beckles 78 mins.), Garrard, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Vilhete (Sub – Hutton 45 mins.), Cox, Bryant, Riza (Sub – Rubinia 90+3), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Close, Jordan.
Bookings: Cox, Garrard Sent off (45+2), Bryant, O’Loughlin, Reynolds.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Vilhete 32, Riza 47.
Man of the Match: Omer Riza.