F.A. Carlsberg Trophy – Third Qualifying Round
Boreham Wood 1 Dover Athletic 0
by John Mead
League rivals Dover Athletic are probably sick of the sight of Meadow Park. This was their second fruitless visit in a fortnight and they were outplayed by a strong Wood side that could have won by a greater margin, given their commanding second half performance.
The Whites welcomed back two key defenders in Olly Schulz and Shane Huke, both
missing from the 4 – 2 defeat earlier this month, whilst Wood were without defenders Luke Wilkinson and Mark Jones through suspension, with centre forward Michael Thalassitis failing a fitness test.
This already gave the tie a different complexion, with Wood forced to play a lone
striker in David Bryant. It took the Club’s leading scorer just a quarter of an hour to add to his tally however. Sam Lechmere lofted a ball from the goal line on the right towards the far post. It held up spectacularly, in the swirling wind, falling perfectly for Bryant who claimed his tenth goal in all Competitions, with a header from just three yards out. In truth ‘keeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz could have done better with his attempted save.
Wood then forged a fine move courtesy of a superb reverse pass by Sam Cox who fed
Bryant. His flick on allowed David Hutton time to shape a cross from the left which Lechmere met superbly only to see his goal bound shot charged down by a defender. Michael Jordan got behind a couple of shots on target, yet for all their possession the visitors failed to trouble the solid Wood defence. In particular Charlie O’Loughlin and Luke Garrard were on top form and impassable.
James Walker saw his wide effort clip the crossbar before the visiting centre forward
spurned his side’s best chance of the game. Tom Wynter’s deep cross was cleared by Luke Garrard only as far as Walker who unleashed a fierce volley from just inside
the area that he failed to keep under the crossbar. Much of the game was played in the centre of the park and that was a battle that Wood won hands down. Antigua and Barbuda International Justin Cochrane was recalled into the side and was pure class all afternoon. Suitably aided by Cox, he dominated proceedings, with a display of well timed tackling, superb ball control and quick passing that was the catalyst for this victory.
The second half belonged to Wood and they posed a threat every time they attacked
Dover Athletic, who boasted the meanest defence in the League before being
battered by Michael Thalassitis a fortnight ago.
Cox skied an effort then, The Whites Barry Cogan did the same, before Wood forced
three corners, one of which Jaimez-Ruiz had to claw off the line as Lechmere looked for a direct hit. Then came the miss of the match. A quick break left The White’s back peddling when Lechmere’s clearance was predated by Bryant. He galloped clear squaring back into the path of Chez Isaac. With Jaimez-Ruiz totally out of position a side footed effort would have ended the tie, the glorious curling effort that manifested curled up and over the upright angle.
Bryant had a effort charged down by a defender before Cochrane combined with Hutton playing the winger through on goal. Jaimez-Ruiz did well to block with a defender forced to scoop Bryant’s follow up off the line.
Wood continued to search for the all important killer second goal with Charlie
O’Loughlin heading just over from a Lechmere corner, then Isaac again went close, this time picked out by Bryant.
Garrard made superb headed intervention to stamp out any last ideas the visitors had of forcing a Replay, leaving Wood the task of collecting a cheque for £4000 and the glamour of watching out for Monday’s draw for the next Round, when the Conference National sides join in the battle.
The afternoon pleased the Wood boss Ian Allinson who praised his side’s, “Good
disciplined performance. I thought Dover Athletic were slightly the better side first half whilst we were still adjusting to our new shape. In the second half we could have had three or four more goals and my only concern today was that we did not convert them. Other teams will punish you when they get in front of goal like that so we need to take that forward. That said we defended magnificently from the front today and therefore made it very hard for Dover Athletic.”
Team: Jordan, Sankofa, Brathwaite, Cox, O’Loughlin, Garrard, Lechmere, Isaac, Cochrane, Bryant, Hutton (Sub – Johnson 90+2 mins.).
Subs (Not used): McMahon, Beckles, Scott-Morris, Wilton.
Goal: Boreham Wood: Bryant 15.
Man of the Match: Justin Cochrane.