Blue Square Bet South
Woking 0 Boreham Wood 0
by John Mead
Just how valuable the likes of Mario Noto and Luke Wilkinson are to the Club’s Season was highlighted in their return from injury to contribute to an altogether better performance, holding one of the title favourites at The Kingfield Stadium.
Sam Hurrell also made his first start against his former Club since returning from The States, contributing to a fine game of football in which Wood created eleven chances to The Cards eight, a statistic that should dispel any worries that Wood are currently the only side not to score after three outings. Reverting to a 4 – 4 – 2 the task at hand was far more straightforward for Wood and they did not disappoint. Pelly Ruddock started as a wide man and had a fine afternoon in what would have been the teenager’s biggest Club game to date, with Assistant Manager Darren Currie coaching from the sidelines.
Inih Effiong had a host of chances as Wood finally provided the much needed service after their shaky start to the Season. He broke free down the left shooting across goal after six minutes, before Noto hit a sweetly struck free kick fully thirty five yards out that required a tip over save from Andy Little. The resultant corner saw another Effiong effort sail over the bar, before The Cards regrouped, only to miss a sitter. Dale Binns provided the ammunition from the left with Moses Ademola laying back into the path of Gez Sole who inexplicably blasted over from inside the six yard box.
Wood enjoyed the majority of possession until Elvis Hammond showed his intricate dribbling skills carving through the Wood defence. His quick one two with Ademola left his namesake Elvijs Putnins exposed, but he held the shot well at the second attempt. Putnins was exemplary all afternoon as were Charlie O’Loughlin and Wilkinson before him, frustrating The Cards time and time again. Jack King hit a rasping drive from distance that Putnins was well positioned for, then Ruddock held up play on the edge of the area feeding a fine pass into the path of Effiong who hit a well placed drive which drew a superb save at the far post from Little. Hurrell’s low shot was spilled as Wood continued to contribute to this enthralling game. Putnins saved from close range at the other end to deny Hammond before Wilkinson headed over from a Daryl McMahon free kick.
O’Loughlin made a fine tackle to deny Sole, before Binns turned up in the inside right position, the winger finding the side netting, with The Cards finishing the half in a determined fashion. Hammond broke into the area into a fine scoring position, yet Putnins again denied the forward. Wood almost opened the scoring early into the second half when a defensive mix up between ‘keeper and defender caused by the tenacity of David Bryant left Little stranded. Unfortunately Effiong found only the side netting with his effort. Binns then supplied Hammond with a trademark low cross, yet his effort was side footed over the bar.
New signing Steve O’Leary replaced the injured McMahon after 65 minutes. The midfielder spent last Season sidelined through injury, earlier in his Career playing 103 League matches for Luton Town, before joining Bradford City. Putnins again denied Hammond before defenders combined with Adam Newton sending Joe McNerney through. His shot from a tight angle across goal may well have been goal bound were it not for an exceptional full stretch stop from Putnins. Wood soaked up a great deal of pressure as Garry Hill introduced fresh legs, with Wilkinson turning in a truly sublime performance in the heart of the Wood defence.
Late on Wood had two great chances to steal all three points. Substitutes Simeon Akinola and Charlie Hunter exchanged exquisite passes with the latter scooping his shot just wide. Then Akinola and Bryant combined inside the area with the Cards relying on a defender to keep out Bryant’s effort. It was no coincidence that the Card’s shot stopper was awarded the Sponsor’s “Man of the Match”, in what was a pulsating game of football.
In summary Wood Manager Ian Allinson said, “This was a vast improvement compared to Tuesday and proves that if you are missing the spine of the team you will struggle at this level. The likes of Luke Garrard, Luke Wilkinson, Mario Noto, Sam Hurrell and James Smith are must have players if we are to compete in this very strong League. We showed today that when everybody is fit we can compete. Pelly Ruddock had a good afternoon and I feel if we look after him he will go on to greater things. Charlie O’Loughlin had to play out of position on Tuesday and showed today that on the right side of defence he is a valuable asset.”
Team: Putnins, Sankofa, Brathwaite, Wilkinson, O’Loughlin, Noto (Sub – Akinola 81 mins.), Hurrell, McMahon (Sub – O’Leary 65 mins.), Effiong (Sub – Hunter 85 mins.), Ruddock, Bryant.
Subs (Not used): Chaaban, Jordan.
Bookings: Noto, McMahon, O’Loughlin, Hunter.
Man of The Match: Luke Wilkinson.