The Wood secured their first league win of 2022 after a narrow victory over Wealdstone, with a second half Danilo Orsi strike being enough to overcome tough opposition.

Luke Garrard made two changes following the historic win over AFC Wimbledon that sent them to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, with Tyrone Marsh being given a breather after his Man of the Match performance along with captain Mark Ricketts dropping out for Orsi to make his full debut for the club and Frankie Raymond.

It was quite a dull first half performance from both sides, with chances very much at a premium and little quality in possession. Early chances for Gus Mafuta and Josh Rees saw the latter have the hosts’ best chance of the half, as he forced Sam Sargent into his first save of the evening after Orsi cut the ball back from the byline. Wealdstone began to grow into it and went close after a corner, with a flicked header leading to some pinball in the box before the Wood were able to get it clear. However, a large chunk of the opening 45 minutes brought very little in the way of clear cut opportunities, with a deep free kick from Raymond that evaded everyone in the box being the closest either side went to opening the scoring before the stroke of half time. Wealdstone produced their best chance of the half when Josh Umerah found himself unmarked in the box to collect a quick free kick with his powerful header being saved by Taye Ashby-Hammond, before Rees threaded a great ball through to Scott Boden who beat his man and floated a cross into the box, but it was too close to Sargent who was able to gather. Referee Lee Collins would bring a disappointing first half to a close, but sparked a resurgence after the break.

Indeed, the second half brought an improved display from the hosts who would begin to take control and dominate proceedings, with more sustained pressure and clear cut chances to really threaten the Stones. A slight scare right at the start of the half saw Craig Fasanmade fire a powerful low drive goalward that Ashby-Hammond was alert enough to get down for, but this would be the closest the visitors went for the rest of the game. Rees’ corner on 53 minutes met the head of Dave Stephens with his effort trickling wide, but it was a sign that the Wood were beginning to play like their old selves again. The big centre half would have to be at his best at the other end shortly after, making a brilliant last ditch challenge to prevent Umerah from getting one on one with Ashby-Hammond. An extended spell of dominance would follow from the hour mark onwards, and a minute later there were shouts for a penalty after Mendy Mendy’s strike from range allegedly hit the hand of a Stones defender, but Collins waved away the appeals before the former Wealdstone man went close to scoring against his old club, sending another effort from outside the box that was deflected behind for a corner after some nice build-up play. The Wood were in the ascendancy, and it culminated in Orsi finding himself free in the box on 67 minutes. A cross from substitute Marsh was flicked on by Boden into the path of an unmarked Orsi, who fired home from close range to net his first goal for the club, giving the Wood a deserved lead that saw him run to the North Bank to celebrate with his new fans. They went ever so close to doubling the lead shortly after when some nice footwork from Raymond afforded him some space on the edge of the box, but his effort looped over a stranded Sargent and hit the crossbar before bouncing over. The momentum was all with the home side though, with Mendy causing carnage on the left hand side throughout. A brilliant run saw him power past the full back before putting a cross on a plate for Orsi who found himself in acres of space in front of goal, but a heavy touch allowed Sargent to close him down quickly and the goalkeeper made a fine save to keep the score down. The left wing-back would be on the receiving end of a great run in the last few minutes of the game though, with Ira Jackson beating him with ease before firing a low cross into the danger area. Fortunately, Ashby-Hammond was once again on hand to make claim the ball and keep his defence at ease.

This was a theme for much of injury time as the Wood were able to comfortably see out what was a crucial victory. With the lack of league games in recent weeks and the disappointing draw with Barnet on New Year’s Day, it was pivotal they returned to winning ways, and was something that saw them leapfrog their promotion rivals and into third. The midfield worked tirelessly and the defence was resilient once again to keep yet another clean sheet. The formula has worked thus far, and long may it continue.

Boreham Wood: Ashby-Hammond, Evans, Stephens, Fyfield, Smith, Rees (Marsh, 58’), Raymond, Mafuta (Ricketts, 38’), Mendy Mendy, Orsi, Boden (Clifton, 78’).

Subs not used: Roach, Lewis, Comley.

Wealdstone: Sargent, Stevens, Okimo, Mundle-Smith, Tavares, Buse (Taylor, 68’), Dyer, Charles, Mascoll (Jackson, 85’), Fasanmade (Elito, 68’), Umerah.

Subs not used: Margliani, Shrowder.

Star Man: Danilo Orsi.

Match report written by BWFC Press Assistant Aaron Bennis.

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