Friday, 25 November 2011

Back On The Horse - FA Trophy preview ,recent happenings - All aboard the Boreham Bus!

Hello again - missed me?

In the weeks since we last spoke, it's been a rollercoaster time for Wood. The fantastic winning streak came to an end, one of our midfielders played in a World Cup qualifier, the Inih Effiong saga was FINALLY resolved and one of our highly rated youngsters is on the verge of joining a top end Championship team. Crazy times indeed. Let's get down to business.

How have Wood been getting on in the league?
Well, since we last spoke...

+ Wood had two wins on the bounce, a 2-1 victory over Bromley at home, followed by a cracking 4-2 win against Saturday's opponents Dover. Bromley were dispatched with goals from David Bryant (who had picked up his BSS Player of the Month award before the game) and Luke Wilkinson. Bromley responded with a 35 yard howitzer from Danny Waldren. I brought a record EIGHT friends along with me to the game. Murray demanded I mentioned his Hot Dog. There you go.

+ The 4-2 win against Dover was highlighted by an impressive hattrick from young striker Michael Thallasitis, who had hit a hattrick the previous week for the reserves. Joining on the score sheet was, you guessed it, David Bryant. The pair have struck up quite the partership in their brief time together, with Thallasitis' ability to drag defences out of position crucial in helping Bryant add to his goal tally. Wood played the majority of the game with 10 men after Luke Wilkinson's dismissal in the 17th minute. Club Captain Luke Garrard made his first team return after 3 months out injured which was a big boost to the side.

- Sadly the good run had to come to an end, and after 5 successive wins (and eight games unbeaten overall) in the league, Wood went down 2-0 away at Welling United. To lose to a team who are second in the league and are unbeaten at home all season is no disgrace, and with Wood's side learning with every game, there were plenty of positives to take out of the game. Lee Clarke grabbed both goals for the home side.

The defeat at Welling was followed with a battling 1-1 draw away at Basingstoke. Both teams had good chances to take all 3 points, so by all accounts a draw away at a team who were sitting in sixth in the league (and have a 14 match unbeaten run in the league!) is nothing to be sniffed at, and shows the continued improvement in the side since the poor start to the season - much like Arsenal! Wood fell behind to a Toby Little screamer, only to snatch a deserved point through returning Captain Fantastic Luke Garrard, whose good finish from 10 yards gave Wood a valuable point and the man himself a rare appearance on the scoresheet. Welcome back, Luke!

Has it all been league action?

No! Wood made their first appearance of the season in the Hertfordshire FA Senior Challenge Cup, sneaking a 2-1 win after extra time against Hertford Town. Wood fell behind to a Mark Draper goal (no, not THAT Mark Draper), but were soon on level terms with a Chez Isaac penalty. 90 minutes could not separate the two teams, but in the 99th minute, 17 year old Dean Rubinia latched onto a long ball and cooly finished to send Wood through to the next round.

Any comings or goings in the team?

Good news from Meadow Park is that Chez Isaac, Simon Cox and Michael Thallasitis, who have all been very instrumental in recent good performances, have agreed to extend their recent loan spells at Wood. Joining them is Inih Effiong, who has returned from his spell at Concord Rangers, and is immediately back in first team plans. Let's hope his spell away did him good. There has also been a significant move made for one of the stars of the season, Pelly Ruddock.

Oh really, where is he off to?

Well, he has had a trial at West Ham, with rumours of interest from Crystal Palace and QPR. The trial was initially meant to only be for a week, but The Hammers were so impressed they extended it by another week, and a deal has been 'Agreed in Principle' for Ruddock to join an as yet undisclosed team, who must be West Ham. This is a fantastic move for both player and club, and again goes to show how fruitful the Wood PASE scheme has been, developing exciting and talented youngsters for a career at a higher level. This deal is really a credit not only to the player, but everyone involved in his development. Best of luck, Pelly - I'll keep an eye out for you!

Back to Inih Effiong - has that whole saga been resolved?

Yes, at long last - after a tribunal held at Wembley, Boreham Wood FC were said to have been very pleased by the 'fairness shown' by the FA in their verdict, which turned out to be a £1,500 fee with a 20% sell on fee. Ian Rodley, chairman of St Albans, had been looking for £5,000 and 50%, so I imagine he wasn't leaving the home of English Football best pleased. In a statement, Wood Chairman Danny Hunter drew a line under the matter, saying the following

“As I said clearly in my only statement on this way back on August 3rd. St Albans City’s Chairman Mr Ridley, will not be judged by making huge issues or unrealistic demands over Inih Effiong that’s just a distraction. He’ll be judged by the St Albans City supporters on what he achieves on and off the field over the coming years and by the success he brings to them and the appointments he makes.”

“However, contrary to what some people think, I genuinely wish the Saints board and their supporters well. People should remember my father Micky Hunter managed St Albans City in the 70’s for a short time. Although Dad tried very hard, he couldn’t be the success he or we as a family, had hoped he’d be at Clarence Park and this obviously cost him his job, but that’s football.

"I now live in the St Albans area, as do my kids, my brother, my nephews and nieces and a good working relationship with St Albans is great for everyone, so let me emphasise again, let this now be the end of the matter and let’s hope both clubs have a successful end to the season”

What's this I hear about a Wood player playing in a World Cup Qualifier?

Justine Cochrane, who returned to Meadow Park this season, flew out to Antigua and Barbuda to represent his adopted nation in their big qualifying match against Haiti. The Antiguan minnows actually ran out 1-0 winners in a famous victory. If selected, Cochrane could now go on to face Jamaica, Mexico and the USA in the next round. Everyone at Wood is very proud to have a full international in the squad.

I hear there is yet another PASE success story?

You don't miss much, do you? Indeed, Charlie Hunter and Ruddock Yala are both through to the final trials of the English College selection process. Both players are in a 18 man squad which will go to Lilleshall between 9-11th December, where the full squad will be picked. Best of luck to both lads involved - do us proud! Cameron Baker-Owens and Harvey Scott-Morris were also selected for trials. Again, a wonderful advert for the PASE scheme.

Finally - what is this about a blog who have taken on Wood as their team to follow? I hear that you are on a podcast as well?

Oh you. Yes, the guys over at Dodgy Knees and Dirty Balls have taken on Boreham Wood as their chosen team - 'All aboard the Boreham Bus'! We also have a fortnightly podcast where I update the team on Wood's latest goings on, as well as giving my forthright views on other matters. Our last podcast got up to second in the amateur sports podcast, behind the Alan Davies fronted 'The Tuesday Club', which is an Arsenal podcast and has the weight of the star of QI behind it. Our pod can be found on itunes or on the blog itself, so please help support us! We even have a day out at a Wood game planned, which should be a decent drink up to say the least!

WAIT! Are Wood playing today?

Yes! We are at home to Dover in the FA Trophy. COME ON WOOD!

That's it from me - again, apologies for a lack of updates recently - personal matters sometimes come in the way of these things. I can be found here in the comments section, on twitter @wearethewood and via @DodgyKneesBlog as well (I don;t man it, but can be found in and around there). Please continue to share, RT etc - I really appreciate it.

Until next time.....


Friday, 4 November 2011

Two wins from Two, Two new signings and Two departures - Recent happenings at Wood

Reinvigorated from a not even mid season break, let’s get back into the world of Wood, shall we?

Since we last met Wood have gone from strength to strength with two more victories in a row, leaving them with an impressive 16 points from their last available 18. The games went as follows:

Dorchester 0 Wood 1 – In a game which I couldn’t attend, Wood came out one nil winners courtesy of David Bryant’s looping header in the 36th minute. From all accounts it was a tight game with not too much in the way of clear cut chances, but also a game Wood never looked like losing. This game was notable for the debuts of Sam Cox and David Hutton, who joined the team from Barnet (Cox, on a one month loan) and The Glenn Hoddle Academy (Hutton). The two debutants, who had never even trained with the team before, came into the side and helped Wood to a valuable win. Wood boss Ian Allison remarked afterwards:

“ (It was) Thoroughly deserved. We were organised and strong today. Once we got in front we looked a hard side to break down. Credit must go to Sam Cox and David Hutton. They played their part commendably considering they have never trained with us. I only met Sam before Kick Off! Special praise must also go to David Bryant whose goals have earned us back to back wins on the road. With six players to come back at some stage from injury I feel we will only get stronger.”

Wood lined up as follows: Putnins, Sankofa (Sub – Hunter 79 mins.) Jones, Cox, O’Loughlin, Wilkinson, Lechmere, Isaac, Thalassitis (Sub – Ruddock 48 mins.), Bryant, Hutton.

Subs (Not used): Akinola, Martin, Baker-Owers.

I returned to Meadow Park the following Monday, for the home game against Maidenhead United. This game was of added importance to me as my colleague Phil is from Maidenhead and so any chance to gloat is warmly received. Taking my usual place (5 rows behind the home dug out), I anxiously awaited my first game in a while. It was perhaps this anxiety to get as much out of the game as possible that I failed to notice two stars of the game sitting nearby. Dave Beasant had made the trip to see his son keep goal for the visitors (in the line of Father/Son goalkeepers – Peter and Kasper Schmeichel, John and John Jr Lukic, er…..), and Glenn Hoddle came down to see how David Hutton was faring. Stevenage’s Graham Westley was also in attendance.

This game was a stark reminder of the opening few weeks of the season, as it was absolutely dreadful, but Wood managed to hang on under severe pressure and take hiome the three points. With both sides playing 2 games in 3 days, there were a lot of tired legs out there. Again, both of the new signings started, with Sam Cox spending a lot of the first half chasing the ball ,being caught out of position on a number of occasions to the point where player coach Luke Garrard had to have a word as the half time whistle blew to go over his positioning. This seemed to spur Sam on, as he was fantastic in a second half that would soon descend into niggly fouls and on a couple of occasions, near full squad brawls.

The first half was quite one sided in Maidenhead’s favour, and overall quite poor. Wood’s best chance of the opening stages fell to the in form David Bryant, who saw an effort cleared of the line after finding himself free at a corner. This was a rare chance for the home side who had been under pressure from the opening stages. First, Charlie O’ Loughlin made a fantastic saving challenge with a Maidenhead striker bearing down on goal, and later picked up a yellow card for stopping the same player with a less than fair challenge. However- and this should come as no surprise to those who have been following this blog, Elvis Putjnins was the man who kept Wood in the game with a series of outstanding saves. The first came with Manny Williams bearing down on goal, only for Elvis to make a brave stop at his feet with the goal at Williams’ mercy. Wood looked likely to concede, with Cox as noted struggling to adjust to the pace of the game.

Our other new signing was to grab what turned out to be the winner just before half time. After a long ball into the box, danger man David Bryant was hauled to the ground in a manner normally seen in a WWE wrestling ring as opposed to the Blue Square South. The offender managed to stay out of the referee’s notebook and Sam Hutton slammed in the penalty, despite young Beasant getting two firm hands on the ball. Wembley 88 this was not.

Unfortunately this is where the game began to turn sour. Nevin Saroya, who was lucky to escape without a booking for the penalty incident, absolutely crunched Michael Thalassitis just before the break, and picked up a yellow card in the process. It was a shocking challenge which could have seen red if the official was competent, but alas…. No, I’m not going to get into this again.

Following the half time interval, Maidenhead came out looking for an equaliser, as well as blood it seemed. Within a few minutes Thalassitis was again on the receiving end of a shocking challenge, this time from Bradley Quamina, and tempers began to flare. In the second half alone there were at least 3 opportunities for players to see red on both sides, and it turned into an ill disciplined affair which I assume both managers will not want to see. Sam Letchmere, who minutes before had seen a sensational overhead kick saved following good work from Osei Sankofa, almost had his season ended with another disgusting challenge from the visitors, this time from Reece Tison-Lascaris. In the ensuing melee a Maidenhead substitute managed to get booked, adding to the chaos. To round off a game filled with aggression, play was stopped for what seemed like an eternity as an almost full scale brawl broke out, which amounted to nothing more than a lot of shirt grabbing and the odd shove. The referee had long before lost the respect of the players, and did not handle this well.

With the game nearing it’s conclusion, it began to become more and more stretched. Maidenhead tested Wood on at least 3 occasions, but that man Elvis was in supreme form, denying them on each occasion. On the one time he was beaten, from a deep corner headed across him, Charlie O’ Loughlin was there to clear off the line, despite the protests that the ball had indeed crossed. Wood survived, and even wasted a chance to go two up when sub Pelly Ruddock sprung the offside trap and was clear through on goal, only to shoot straight at Beasant. The referee announced seven minutes for stoppages, in which I must have screamed ‘BLOW UP’ at least 47 times, but Wood held firm and picked up a crucial three points to put them up to seventh in the table (for 24 hours at least).

Dashing to make my train (I decided halfway down the road to stay at my parents house), I missed the post match fracas involving Manny Williams, who decided not only to confront the Wood bench at full time, but also kick in a few advertising boards at the same time. Stay classy Manny, stay classy.

Man of the Match was, AGAIN, Elvis Putnis, who produced another performance worthy of a much higher league than this one. Here’s hoping QPR don’t get wind of this and we get to keep him for much longer.

Wood lined up as follows:

Team: Putnins, Sankofa (Sub – Hunter 77 mins.), Jones, Cox, O’Loughlin, Wilkinson, Lechmere (Sub – Ruddock 64 mins.), Isaac, Thalassitis (Sub – Akinola 90+5 mins.), Bryant, Hutton.

Subs (Not used): Martin, Baker-Owers.

In other Wood news:

  • · David Bryant was named ‘Blue Square South Player of The Month’ for his goalscoring heroics throughout October, which have seen Wood’s season turn around. Much deserved (although it could have been a joint award with Elvis) – well done David!
  • · We have had to say goodbye to Nathan Koranteng, who returned to Woking after a successful one month loan at Meadow Park. Nathan was always a threat down the left and gave us real width, and will surely be remembered fondly for a spell which included a rasper against Dartford, as well as a fantastic assist against Hampton. Cheers Nathan, all the best for the rest of the season (accept against us!)
  • · Joining Nathan out the door, albeit ion loan, is Inih Effiong, who has joined Concord Rangers. I’ve expressed many a time how frustrating Inih can be, as well as how much talent he has, so I hope the loan spell does him well and he returns to Wood with renewed vigour. Ian Allinson has stated that Inih is still definitely in his first team plans.
  • · The Wood youth team crashed out of the FA Youth cup in the first round after a fantastic run, away at Thurrock. Thurrock took the lead in the 78th minute and killed the game in added time. A tough break for the youngsters but well done on a good run to get to the first round.
  • · Wood’s game at Basingstoke has been moved to Tuesday 22nd November, which is a royal pain in the arse.

This Saturday sees my return to Meadow Park, to hopefully exact revenge on the Bromley side who humiliated us 4-0 in the second game of the season (see previous posts for that one). Bromley are currently preparing themselves for a FA Cup first round tie away at Leyton Orient, after beating Dartford in the last qualifying round. Sitting 5 places below us in the league in 14th, Bromley have had an inconsistent season after such a strong start (having said that we were utterly dire at the start of the season). With Wood on such a good run and Bromley surely thinking of Brisbane Road, I’m hoping and expecting a home win tomorrow. I will have at least 5 mates with me at the game tomorrow, so it should be a good laugh. Full match report on Monday.

Thanks as always for all your support - My self imposed break has got the writing bug back so I am looking forward to more updates over the next few weeks, including an on-going Football Manager blog as I attempt to guide Wood out of the BSS on the new version of the game. Please share, comment, debate, argue – I can be found on twitter @wearethewood, in the comments below and at all home games and most away ones. Cheers!

One last Plug - I'll be appearing on the Dodgy Knees Podcast this weekend (up early next week on itunes), where I will be discussing Wood and other football issues. More details when I have them.

Until next time….


Friday, 21 October 2011

The Week at Wood: Away win at Hampton, Dorchester preview and News Round up

With both teams not participating in the weekends FA Cup features, Wood were on the road last weekend for a re-arranged fixture against Hampton and Richmond Borough.

One of the major plus points of my recent move to South London is that most of the away games are easily commutable from Waterloo, and Hampton was no different. With a door to door journey of just under an hour, my trip to The Beveree was pleasant, quick and thankfully didn’t involve First Capital Connect in any way, shape or form.

The ground itself was a gentle 5 minute stroll from the station, but, me being me, I was still concerned I was going the wrong way (seriously, my sense of direction is so awful that once I had to get a cab, A CAB, from Liverpool Street to Fenchurch Street. That’s not a long journey) so I asked the nearest person who looked like they were heading for the ground if I was going on the same route. Thankfully he was, and as we walked towards the ground we chatted about the game (I think it was obvious I had come from Borehamwood), and he revealed that he was there on a scouting mission for Welling, who were Hampton’s next opponents. We then proceeded to spend the next 40 minutes (up until kick off) chatting about various teams in the league, our sides respective chances and other players who we have seen at this level (there was a surprising amount of vitriol spewed towards Rocky Baptiste at this point). Despite my lack of knowledge (but growing by the week!), I managed to hold my own in the chat and enjoyed a few shared anecdotes. As kick off approached, we parted ways as we had different jobs to do (he scouting, me swearing and occasionally eating) for the next 90 minutes.

The Beveree itself is exactly what you would expect a ground to look like in Hampton. It was charming, with a nice backdrop, and at times you felt as if you were watching a game in a nearby mansions back garden. The main stand was divided into one large stand and one smaller stand put right next to it. I took my seat in line with the half way line, and despite a pillar being a bit in the way, had a good view of the game.

The match itself was very much a ‘smash and grab’, to use a tired football cliché. Wood made one change to the side that beat Dartford, with Charlie Hunter in at right back due to Daniel Brathwate’s knee injury (when I spoke to him at full time he was unsure of how bad it was – insider gossip right there), with Mark Jones switching back to his natural role at left back.

The first half was scrappy at best, marred by, you’ve guessed it – another poor refereeing performance. I won’t go too much into detail here but although this referee looked like Pieruigi Collina, he certainly wasn’t and made some shoddy decisions for both side, most notably in the first half when he booked Justin Cochrane for the heinous crime of winning the ball cleanly in a challenge. That was sadly the main contribution from the skipper, who limped off early to be replaced by Pelly Ruddock, giving an already young side an even younger average age. Ruddock handled himself admirably in replacing Cochrane, using the ball smartly and always looking to get forward.

With the game drifting towards half time, and David Bryant and Mark Jones exchanging words on more than one occasion (Bryant was justly annoyed at a lack of support, Jones was basically calming him down), the ball broke to Nathan Koranteng down the left hand side in space. Bringing the ball forward, Koranteng whipped a perfect ball in, Bryant nipped in with no pressure from the home defence and headed home his 6th goal of the season, which puts him clear leader at the top of the Wood goalscoring charts. The referee blew up for half time shortly after and Wood were just about value for their lead.

At half time I decided to check out the club house, which had it’s own curry service going, which makes a change from pies and hot dogs (which were also available)! A colleague at work, with whom I would have gone to the game if it had of been on it’s original date, advised me that the local curry house was sensational, but sadly I had a big breakfast and as such didn’t quite fancy a Tikka Massale (not that down for the record books). I settled instead for a pint of Magners (£3.60 a pint at Non League Football? Outrageous) and headed back to my seat, with the drinking regulations seemingly relaxed in this part of the world. I wasn’t complaining.

I needed the drink it turned out, as the second half was far more nervy than the first. Hampton came at Wood for most of the second half, but Wood started brightly with Chez Issac’s long range effort being beaten out by Hampton keeper Mark Lovett. From then on, it was mainly the Elvijs Putnins show, as he kept the hosts at bay with a series of outstanding saves, including one which I have to put down as my save of the season, keeping out Charlie Moone’s rasper that was headed for the top corner with an athletic one handed stop. It was a performance of real assurance (bar one mishap with a passback which was hastily put into touch) from the on loan Latvian, and if it wasn’t for him Wood would have easily lost by at least 3. Bravo Elvijs.

There were a couple of chances at the other end, the best one falling to Michael Thalassitis, who capitalised on a poor back pass to round the last defender and the goalkeeper, only to put it over with an open goal facing him. In his defence it was from a tight angle and under pressure, but I am sure he would have been disappointed with that one, to put it in the dullest, blandest Alan Shearer analysis.

With Nathan Koranteng coming off with a knock, Jordan Lawal came on and quickly adapted to the pace of the game, making a few good runs and using the ball wisely with Ruddock. With time ticking away a Hampton ball into the box eluded everyone and drifted just wide, as half the players were ready to wheel away in celebration. However, it wasn’t to be and Wood left Buckinghamshire with 3 points and an away clean sheet. A great day out all’s told! My day out finished with another conversation on the way home with the Welling Scout (whose name I didn’t pick up, sadly), offending a few AFC Wimbledon fans along the way. I could do with more away trips like this!

My Man of the Match award is obviously to Elvijs Putnins, who gave his performance of the season and kept Wood in the lead with his stunning saves. Well done that lad. Other shout outs go to Mark Jones, whose experience was invaluable on the day with such a young team, as well as centre backs Charlie O’ Loughlin, who was dominant in the air, and Luke Wilkinson, who read the game well and snuffed out danger well. Their partnership will become key as the season progresses. In midfield, everyone worked hard, and Isasac and Ruddock particularly impressed, the latter in an unusual role in the middle of the park. Nathan Koranteng looked threatening again, and added an assist to his goal against Dartford, and up front both Bryant and Thalassitis worked tirelessly, with the former showing his knack of being in the right place at the right time to nod in the winner and move Wood up to 16th place.

Wood lined up as follows:

Team: Putnins, Hunter, Jones, Isaac, O’Loughlin, Wilkinson, Lechmere, Cochrane (Sub – Ruddock 28 mins.), Thalassitis (Sub – Effiong 86 mins.), Bryant, Koranteng (Sub – Lawal 64 mins.).

Subs (Not used): Akinola, Jordan.

This weekend sees Wood travel to The Avenue Stadium and Dorchester Town, in a game that sadly I will not be able to attend as I simply cannot make the journey down there. Dorchester sit just one place above Wood in the league, which adds more importance to the game. To say they have been inconsistent would be an understatement, winning five and losing eight of their opening league fixtures, so maybe a draw is not the best bet tomorrow (or is it?)!

Dorchester have injury worries surrounding their captain Mark Jermyn, who picked up a knee injury in their 3-2 defeat at Welling, and had been targeting this game as his return to the team. Hopefully this game may be one too far for him!

Town’s main goal threat comes from Ryan Moss, who has 4 in the league this season. Moss, in his 3rd spell at the club, is a ‘very strong, quick target man’, who should give Wilko and Charlie some trouble on Saturday and so the centre backs will need to be on their toes from the first minute (thankfully Wood’s lacklustre starts seem to be fading somewhat). He is joined up front by former Crawley front man Chris Flood, who will look to race onto any knock downs from Moss to exploit his pace.

PREDICTION: With Wood on such a good run, with 10 points from their last possible 12, I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that we will continue this good form with a solid away win. Blue Square Bet has us at 7/4, which must be worth a fiver of anyones money, maybe even mine.

In other news from the club:

  • The official website ran an interesting article in regards to the current youth movement at Meadow Park, including an interview with new assistant manager Daryl McMahon. More of this please!

  • The Youth Team themselves marched into the first round of the FA Youth Cup where they will travel to hurrock in a game they will fancy winning, This comes after a 2-0 at home to Billericay on Thursday evening.

And that’s about it! Thanks as always for reading, much appreciated. Please continue to share, RT, comment etc. I can be found on twitter @wearethewood, and enjoy all interaction with followers, be they wood players or opposing fans!

Until next time…..


Friday, 14 October 2011

Wood 3 Dartford 1, Part 2 - Youngsters run riot, Possible Turning Point?, Mini Hampton and Richmond Preview, Match thoughts

Onto the game itself…

As I sat and discussed the Chairman’s article with the locals, someone said ‘Oh here he is’ and I was met with the nauseating sight of Teddy Sheringham and what I had assumed was his daughter but turned out to be his girlfriend. He was of course there to see his son Charlie line up as the dangerman for Dartford. I’m delighted to say that I doubt Teddy had too much fun at the game as Charlie and Dartford had a day to forget. With a youthful line up on display, including debutant Michael Thalassitis, who joined the club on loan on Friday from League One Stevenage Town, Boreham Wood were looking to get 3 points on the board and start turning their season around.

Wood got off to a blistering start within 40 seconds, as Chez Isaac, in his first contribution to what would be a man of the match performance, received the ball 35 yards out, looked up and unleashed an absolute howitzer into the top corner, leaving Dartford Keeper Andrew Young helpless as he dived in vain to try and keep out the shot. 1-0 with a Goal of The Season Contender! A fine and unexpected start to say the least.

Unfortunately the lead was only to last 5 minutes, as Dartford equalised due to some shambolic defending from a set piece, with a corner (which was given after a lapse of concentration from Daniel Brathwaite almost led to a goalscoring chance) being allowed to pinball around the box before being fired home by Elliott Bradbrook. The groans of frustration could be heard from the stands as we thought it might be a case of ‘Here we go again’, but thankfully it wasn’t to be.

The next 10 minutes were all Dartrford, and Elvis Putnins was called upon on more than one occasion two keep the scores level. First, he dived low down to his left to keep out a goal bound deflection, and secondly showed both excellent bravery and agility in making a double save from point blank range . Three vital stops which gave Wood confidence and perhaps shook Dartford a little, as they were being repelled by Putnins and his backline, who after a shaky start (sound familiar?) were beginning to hold their own, with O’ Loughlin and Wilkinson imperious at centre back, as well as Mark Jones playing out of position at right back, but coping admirably.

Wood’s second was a product of skill and endeavour. David Bryant, who again ran tirelessly whilst showing some excellent touches and is seemingly coming into his own up front, worked his way through three Dartford defenders, before the ball broke loose to Michael Thalassitis, who showed great composure in front of goal to bury it into the bottom corner for 2-1. A debut goal, and a well deserved one at that. The initial loan period we have is one month, but judging by Thalassitis’ endeavour, skill and finishing ability, Wood will look to keep hold of him for longer. Again, at 18 he is another youngster in the setup, but importantly he is one who is looking to prove himself and give his all for the team (Maybe a certain Mr Effiong could take notice?). Bryant then had a great chance to make it 3-1, with two chances in quick succession, but both were foiled by a combination of goalkeeper and defenders. As the half came to a close, Bryant almost turned provider again for Justin Cochrane, enjoying his second spell at the club and the captain’s armband, but the midfielders shot was deflected just wide for a corner. Wood went into the break 2-1 up and deserving of more, and I must admit I was fearing our prolifigacy in front of goal would come back to haunt us. Still, 2-1 up against the team sitting in second was a good start for me.

Thankfully my fears were ill founded as would put on a dominant display in the second half and never really looked like losing. With Chez Isaac outstanding in the middle of the park, both in defence and moving forward, Wood began to move the ball around freely and create more chances. After Luke Wilkinson failed to capitalise on time and space with a poor shot, Wood went 3-1 up with a moment of quick thinking genius. Nathan Koranteng, who had looked threatening if a little clumsy in the first half, picked up the ball just inside the Dartford area, brought the ball on 20 yards, and with the crowd and Dartford expecting him to cross, caught The Darts cold with a left footed drive which rasped into the bottom corner. It was a great strike and a great moment, as it came by complete surprise and the joy on the scorers face was clear to see for all the fans as he raced to celebrate with his team mates. It was also clear to see the relief from Ian Allinson, who had to have been feeling a lot of pressure with the recent result at Slough and the Chairman’s comments prior to the game.

Save for a worrying moment when Ryan Hayes saw his curling effort hit the inside of the post and roll along the line and out, Wood shut up shop and were very good value for their win. It was a true team performance, which given the noise around the place beforehand was probably the only option. Both O’ Loughlin and Wilkinson excelled at centre back (O’ Loughlin was a big miss in the loss to Slough), both Koranteng and Sam Lechmere ran constantly at Dartford’s defence, causing problems all game. Mark Jones, despite being on his weak side all game, was exceptional and kept the Dartford forwards relatively quiet down his flank, and both David Bryant and Michael Thalassitis (who had a debut to remember) were excellent up front, full of running and ingenuity. My man of the match award was a very close run affair, with Elvis Putnins, who made at least 4 outstanding saves, missing out to Chez Issac, whose all round display was Wood’s best of the season. Getting Wood off to a great start with a wonder strike, mopping up in midfield and always looking to start an attack, the young Watford loanee was fantastic. Well done that lad. The fact that it came in front of Wood’s largest crowd of the season (due to the travelling support) made it all that much sweeter. Not to mention old Teddy.

Wood lined up as follows

Team: Putnins, Jones, Brathwaite, Cochrane, O’Loughlin, Wilkinson, Lechmere, Isaac, Thalassitis (Sub – Effiong 79 mins.), Bryant, Koranteng (Sub – Beckford 84 mins.).

Subs (Not used): Hunter, Akinola, Jordan.

This Saturday sees Wood travel to Hampton and Richmond Borough for a re-arranged game due to both teams exits from the FA Cup. How embarrassing. I will be making the journey down to the Beveree Stadium for the game, and am very much relieved it’s been moved to this Saturday as the country approaches Winter.Maybe Vince Cable, patron of the club, will be in attendance so I can share my forthright views on his part in the absolute state the country is in. But I digress.

It’s a game Wood will be looking to win, with Hampton sitting bottom of the league with just 6 points after 11 games so far this season. Wood, having shot up to the heady heights of 17th will surely see last weekends result against Dartford as an opportunity to springbnoard their season and push on. With no injury/team news coming out of Wood, the team that beat Dartford should be more than capable of going down to Hampton and coming back with the three points. Blue Square bet have Wood at slight favourites at 13/10, and I’m going to go with them for an overdue away victory for Wood.

Admission is £11, and the journey is only 40 minutes from waterloo (actually easier for me than going to Meadow Park!), so if you are stuck without something to do, why not pop along? I’ll be the one shouting too much in the away end.

As always, thanks for all support, reads, RTs, shares etc. It is always appreciated, trust me. I can be found on twitter @wearethewood, or in the comments section below. Or even at a game, just come up and say hello! All constructive criticism will be met with me rushing to the toilets to have a good old weep.

Until next time…..