It was another defeat for Luke Garrard’s men at Prenton Park on Tuesday evening, however it was a performance that the management and supporters will be proud of after pushing a very talented Tranmere Rovers side to the very end.

Garrard was forced into a number of changes due to niggles to several players. He started with Academy players Ben Goodliffe and Frank Keita, who was making his first team debut.

Things couldn’t have got off to a worse start for the Wood as they found themselves a goal down inside a minute, a ball in from the left found Andy Cook who out muscled Goodliffe and volleyed beyond Grant Smith.

Ricky Shakes then had a shot well saved after being played through by Tom Hitchcock. Moments later, following a corner, Hitchcock’s header was cleared off the line which Matt Paine followed up with a volley which was well blocked.

Wood then found themselves two goals down inside fifteen minutes when they failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell kindly to Cook who smashed it past Smith.

Ben Toillett nearly extended the home side’s lead after cutting in from the right but his shot went just the wrong side of Smith’s post.

Just before half time Keita found himself in a good position on the edge of the area, his shot was well saved by Scott Davies at full stretch and Shakes followed in but could not quite get on the end of it.

Toillett, who provided the spark for the home side, was at it again early in the second half when his ferocious drive from the edge of the area was blocked by Paine for a Tranmere corner.

Wood won themselves a free kick after Keita was fouled out wide on the left and Jai Reason delivered a great ball into the box. Goodliffe got his head to guiding it towards the corner of the goal but Davies managed to get a hand to the ball pushing it onto the post and then being cleared for a Wood corner.

Wood continued to push to find a way back into the game and Paine ventured forward and after a one two found himself bundled to the ground inside the box. The referee was not interested, waving away Wood’s penalty appeals.

With 20 minutes to play Garrard makes a double substitution bringing on Kenny Davis and Angelo Balanta for Daniel Uchechi and Hitchcock.

With Wood committing men forward in numbers they were always likely to get caught on the break. A long ball over the top saw Smith come running out of his area but the Wood stopper misjudged the bounce allowing James Norwood to get a shot away from an acute angle. Fortunately for the Wood Goodliffe got himself back and in a position to make the block.

Substitute Carl Stockton was through one on one after beating the offside trap and Smith again made a fantastic save to keep the score at 2-0. Norwood then hit the post for the hosts after Jake Kirby put in a fine ball across the face of the goal.

Wood made it a nervy last 5 minutes for Tranmere as a free kick from the final substitute Bruno Andrade was whipped into the box and met sweetly by Angelo Balanta who beat Scott Davies.

Wood won a corner in the last minute of added time but couldn’t make anything of it and headed back to Hertfordshire empty handed after a valiant effort.


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