Boreham Wood 0 – 1 Wealdstone
0 - 1
Stones finally got the win and the three points they wanted to get them up and running courtesy of a Ryan Ashe penalty after only two minutes play of this tense struggle at Meadow Park on Tuesday evening.
To say that Stones defended the precious two minute lead for the remaining eighty-eighty would be churlish and perhaps an unfair reflection of some very exciting attacking moves at times from Wealdstone. But Stones were undoubtedly guilty of frittering away large amounts of possession throughout and seemed to invite Wood on to them on far too many occasions on the excellent surface at the Park.
Ian Allison the Wood Manager must have wondered how his team could have squandered so much territorial advantage but his team could only blame themselves for several wasted opportunities in front of goal with woeful shooting after it has to be said some decent approach work.
Wealdstone started with the same starting line-up from Saturday with Chris O’Leary still out with injury and Rob Fitzgerald in for Jimmy Gray at the heart of the defence. With barely two minutes on the clock referee Mr G Young spotted a handball in the box by Wood defender Kevin Stephens and Ryan Ashe confidently fired Stones ahead from the spot.
Stones attacked well early and looked sharp going forward and worked hard to press home their surprise early advantage. Kieron Forbes used his pace to cut in on the bye line but the ball was just cleared to safety as it pinged around in the box with Charlie Mpi and Greg Ngoyi ready to pounce.
But the home side soon began to get their passing game together and used the width of the pitch to good effect and started to exert pressure on Stones. Alan Massey was working over time and was taking up some strangely advanced positions during open play; one challenge was adjudged to be too strong and he received a rare booking.
Play then settled into an uncomfortable pattern of Stones not holding the ball up and losing possession – sometimes in dangerous areas – punctuated by some threatening quick counter attacks driven by Forbes and McCoy’s blistering pace.
On 29 minutes a great chance was created by some great skilful play by Mpi was squandered in front of goal when midfielder Mark E’Beyer overplayed the situation and the opportunity was lost.
Greg Ngoyi showed great persistence to win a lost cause on the dead ball line as the striker battled to find shooting positions under pressure from a physical Wood back line. Ngoyi will surely find his predatory touch again soon and was unlucky with a good strike.
The half ended with a couple of strong attacks by the away side, Forbes and Mpi leading the way with Marvin McCoy pushing up whenever the opportunity arose in support.
Calum Botham figured early on in some flank play but the young former Wycombe Wanderers player was unsurprisingly struggling with the pace and physical nature of the game.
Wood was becoming an increasing threat with some decent fast raiding forays deep into Stones territory. Sean Sonner’s long throws a la Chappell were also causing problems for an overworked away defence.
Mpi had a cast iron penalty shout waved away on 55 minutes as Wood again broke out quickly only to be thwarted by a combination of poor shooting and brave last ditch defending. Sean Thomas twice brought off goal saving stops in a particularly difficult patch mid half when it seemed Stones would buckle under the weight of possession. A couple of corners from Wood added to the tension in the final 10 minutes.
Danny Spendlove replaced Botham and the winger did well, managing to relieve some of the constant pressure by some skilful moves down the left flank. Ryan Ashe was desperately close when he flicked in a shot that Wood keeper Tony Tucker only just held as Stones searched for a second goal to kill the game but effective possession was all too sporadic.
Jamie Osborne then replaced a tiring Ngoyi and was almost immediately in with a chance when his lob from distance was only just gathered by Tucker. Tension rose as Wood won a corner on 90 minutes but their luck was out as much as Stones was in and it was the away side that collected all the points on offer from a tense evenings work.
Stones will be grateful to have come away with a clean sheet and a real confidence booster for Saturday’s tough encounter at table topping Dartford
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Chappell, Fitzgerald, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, E’Beyer, Mpi, Ngoyi, Botham. Subs used: Spendlove, Osborne. N/u: Gray, Alexander, Beagle (GK)