Blue Square Bet South
Boreham Wood 2 Eastbourne Borough 1
by John Mead
A hard earned first win in six home matches against a competent Eastbourne Borough lifted Wood back up to fourth in the table. It was an entertaining affair with both sides committed to playing attractive football. It needed something special from both sides to breach the respective defences, before Mario Noto’s second half penalty, his first goal this Season in only four starts, set Wood on course.
Anwar Uddin made sure his side did not fall behind to some early Wood pressure, clearing up to deny first Greg Morgan, then Mauro Vilhete. The visitors pressed Wood high up the pitch who found it difficult on occasions to play out of their own half. Vilhete and Morgan combined with the Barnet Loan supplying Wood’s PASE product who shot just wide. With Mark Jones in sparkling form, he did not deliver a stray pass all game, and the aerial prowess of Callum Reynolds and Charlie O’Loughlin in the heart of the Wood defence, Wood found themselves a goal to the good after twenty minutes. Chez Isaac released Vilhete who retained possession foraging for a space to shoot on the edge of the area. He accepted Isaac’s offer of a return pass who superbly turned the ball into the path of Graeme Montgomery who from the right of goal unleashed a fine shot that flew across Ross Worner and into the back of the net.
Wood delivered an altogether improved performance from New Year’s Day and plaved the ball around with pace. They nearly came unstuck when Isaac’s clearance in The Sports box hit Jones, falling for Chris Shephard who was undone by a clinical interception from O’Loughlin. A moment of controversy came when Elliott Charles out jumped his marker from a long ball forward allowing Shephard a run on goal. He was pulled back by O’Loughlin right on the edge of the area. Referee Mr. Wood awarded the free kick, O’Loughlin escaped punishment and Shephard went close curling his effort over the wall and just over the bar.
From a slip up by Reynolds Wood recovered well and immediately went on the attack. Montgomery slipped Luke Norris through down the right who dispatched his effort early shooting wide of the target. That miss cost Wood as from the next passage of play they found themselves back on level terms. Undone by the pace of the attack, James Smith was allowed to play a fine ball for Charles who skipped a half challenge before coolly lifting the ball beyond the out rushing James Russell. Thereafter the visitors took the upper hand, before Montgomery’s thirty-five yard run and shot drew a diving save from Worner, just before the interval.
Isaac was instrumental in a superb move involving Norris and Montgomery whose cross from the right found Vilhete who headed against the crossbar as both sides looked to gain the early advantage after the break. Isaac again contributed to a quite brilliant move that led to the penalty award after fifty-three minutes. The speed of the interchange of passes was breathtaking with Montgomery and Vilhete involved and Isaac starting and finishing the move that sent Norris through on goal only to be brought down by Ollie Rowe, allowing the Wood Captain to send Worner the wrong way from the spot.
Shephard went close at the other end with a flicked header as the visitors looked to maintain an unbeaten away run in the League that stretches back to September. The high standard of football both sides were displaying was sometimes overshadowed by some of the refereeing decisions, with Mr. Wood doing his best to stifle the action the fans really wanted to see. Vilhete tested Worner at his left hand post after a fine one two played with Norris, before Marvin Hamilton combined with fellow Substitute Darren Lok to force Russell into a save from his powerful low drive.
There was time for Cliff Akurang to miss a fine chance when he was clean through on goal with just Worner to beat. The ‘keeper managed to repel the first shot which ran loose at the right hand post, where Akurang was again foiled by the alert shot stopper. Thankfully for Wood it was not an expensive miss as Messrs. Reynolds and O’Loughlin stood firm to ensure the three points stayed in Hertfordshire. With half the programme completed Wood are still in the Play-off positions, amassed thirty-five points, a statistic which Ian Allinson was keen to discuss after the final whistle.
“It was a tough game today and I am pleased to get away with the three points. Before the kick off today we sat fifth yet just eight points above the drop zone! Luckily for us we got back to winning ways today which leaves us I feel in a battle for fifth spot with the likes of Farnborough, Weston- super-Mare and anybody else who cares to put a little run together. Today’s opponents were one of the better sides we have faced this Season and they will also feature I would imagine. We have been a very good second half of the Season side in the last few years, so long may that continue!“
Team: Russell, Beckles, Jones, Vilhete, O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Morgan, Isaac, Norris (Sub – Riza 77 mins.), Noto (Sub – Akurang 71 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Hutton, Close, Hastings.
Bookings: Norris, Beckles, Riza.
Goals: Boreham Wood: Montgomery 20, Noto 53 (pen.) Eastbourne Borough: Charles 36.
Man of the Match: Mauro Vilhete.