F.A. Challenge Cup with Budweiser – Third Qualifying Round
Northwood 0 Boreham Wood 4
by John Mead
It was the most convincing victory of the Round, but the result was not made certain until the second half. Wood started like a train, rushing into a two goal lead inside eleven minutes, before some poor finishing prevented Ian Allinson’s side adding to their tally before half time.
This gave The Woods a chance, and they created two guilt edged chances to pull level before the interval. The second half began with Wood showing a complacency seen for the first time this Season, before notching up a gear to storm through to Monday’s draw.
Wood Captain, Mark Jones, was the most consistent passer of the ball on the afternoon played out to Cliff Akurang in a central position. He fed Inih Effiong down the left who cut inside the penalty area. He had options available but went for goal, his shot scrambled off the line by ‘keeper Jack Middleton. The resultant weak clearance ran to Akurang who held his composure to fire home through a sea of players, recording his first goal for the Club, after five minutes.
It was the perfect start but the home side responded well when Spencer Bellotti hit a rasping drive on the turn which James Russell was forced to punch behind.
Wood exposed the gulf in class between the sides after eleven minutes. Charlie O’Loughlin, still upfield after a previous attack chested down and played a high ball toward the right hand corner flag. Mauro Vilhete, on his return from injury, robbed a defender before neat footwork saw him pass two defenders, picking out David Hutton who had time and space to fire home Wood’s second from inside the area.
Akurang then went close with a header before Effiong powered past two defenders before shooting at Middleton at his left hand post with a sideways pass for Hutton always looking the better option.
Wood were pressing from the front and ‘keeper Middleton at times had difficulty clearing his lines. On one such occasion Akurang robbed him outside the area squaring for Effiong whose shot was skewed well wide with the goal gaping.
It was one way traffic at this stage, with Woods relying on Scott Raper to deny Akurang a certain third. Hutton then robbed ex-Wood PASE player Bradley Hewitt on the goal line. Driving in from the right he found an angle to shoot albeit straight at Middleton, this time ignoring Effiong who was well placed and unmarked.
With five minutes of the half remaining the home side went close. A great ball down the inside right channel from Raper was met by John Christian who drew a superb save out of Russell who was quick to get down and push away the goal bound effort. The last action of the half saw Raper intercept a throw out from Russell meant for Hutton. He played a one two with James McCluskey before seeing his low shot beat both Russell and the base of the left hand post. It was the home side who emerged the better for the break and for a time there was not much in the passages of play. From both sides. Vilhete went close with a shot from a very tight angle from the right which was acrobatically turned away by Middleton.
With both sides making mistakes it was left for Effiong to put the game beyond doubt after sixty-two minutes. Winning a touch line duel he wrestled possession before showing a pace and power that the home side had no answer to. He beat three defenders before coming out off the goal line to find an angle to smash home a convincing third for Wood, his fourth in two games. Chez Isaac went close to adding a fourth with Wood firmly in the driving seat. Substitute Adamson Ayaji showed great skill inside the Wood penalty area setting up a chance for Danny McDonnell, but unfortunately the left back turned his effort the wrong side of the post.
On came the PASE pairing of Harvey Scott-Morris and Robert Hastings with seven minutes remaining and they took less than a minute to contribute to the most satisfying moment of the afternoon. Scott-Morris picked up play inside the Woods half and released Effiong down the left channel. He powered forward producing a fine ball into the path of Hastings who hit home first time giving the seventeen year old his first goal in competitive First Team football.
Wood Manager Ian Allinson commented, “We got greedy in certain areas and should have been through by three thirty on the afternoon. All credit to Northwood they came back at us and we were only sure of victory after our third goal. We are a young side and I hope the players learned that you have to be on your game for ninety minutes. We made things hard for ourselves by taking our foot off the pedal.”
Looking on to Saturday’s massive top of the table clash away to Salisbury City he added, “We have lost the services of Luke Garrard until the New Year at least. He was subject to a very nasty tackle against Billericay Town and has broken a bone in his ankle. A tremendous leader of men on the pitch, he will be sorely missed as we forget the F.A. Challenge Cup and focus on our trip to the League leaders.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Vilhete (Sub – Scott-Morris 83 mins.), O’Loughlin, Reynolds, Hutton (Sub – Hastings 83 mins.), Isaac, Akurang (Sub – Morgan 74 mins), Effiong, Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Jefford, Close, Doolan, Baker-Owers.
Bookings: Vilhete, Scott-Morris. Goals: Boreham Wood: Akurang 5, Hutton 11, Effiong 62, Hastings 83.
Man of the Match: Inih Effiong.