Saturday 9th September
Boreham Wood 2-0 Leyton Orient
Vanarama National League
BOREHAM WOOD bounced back from two consecutive defeats by beating high flying Leyton Orient 2-0 on an afternoon of sunshine and heavy showers at Meadow Park.
A goal in each half from Danny Woodards and Kieran Murtagh sealed the win for Luke Garrard’s team in front of a record attendance for a regular league fixture at the ground.
In his programme notes, chairman Danny Hunter acknowledged that, when the National League fixtures were published in July, this was the fixture his management team were immediately talking about. Leyton Orient are, in truth, the sort of club Wood are more used to meeting in occasional FA Cup ties, rather than league games.
Relegated from the Football League last May after a 112-year stay, the visitors arrived in Hertfordshire buoyed by a four-game unbeaten run which had lifted them into second place in the National League. Backed by over 1200 fans, the Os were expected to provide a stern test for Wood.
Continuing with a 5-3-2 formation, Luke Garrard gave a debut to new signing Blair Turgott, who joined the club on a three-month loan from Stevenage just yesterday.
In early pressure from the Os, Henry Ochieng fired well wide of Grant Smith’s goal, after James Dayton had seen two efforts blocked in a crowded penalty area.
At the other end, and with a sudden torrential downpour soaking the newly-laid pitch, Bruno Andrade just failed to reach Shaun Jeffers teasing ball across the box, as Wood began to settle into the game.
Andrade was unlucky not to break the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, curling a 25-yard free-kick just past the upright, with keeper Charlie Grainger struggling to get across his goal.
But ten minutes before half-time, Wood went in front. After Kieran Murtagh’s ball across the box had been half cleared, Danny Woodards followed up to drive low into the net from the edge of the box. It was no more than the home team deserved at that stage.
Andrade, causing the Os increasing problems, easily outpaced Josh Coulson down the left side, but could not find a teammate with his ball across the six-yard box.
The visitors should have levelled, against the run of play, just a minute before the break. Macauley Bonne latched onto a through ball from David Mooney, but could only scoop his effort well over the bar, with only Smith to beat.
Wood gave themselves breathing space by doubling their lead just five minutes after the restart. Andrade was again involved, dispossessing George Elokubi near the dead-ball line on the right, before finding Murtagh, who curled the ball expertly beyond Grainger.
Just two minutes later it was almost three, as Andrade again got the better of Elokubi, before curling an effort just beyond the far post.
With Orient failing to seriously test Smith all afternoon, Wood were able to cruise towards the three points as the clock ticked down. Paul Benson, sent on in place of Jeffers with ten minutes remaining, won possession on the left side of the Os penalty area, but his cross was just over the head of Turgott.
The visitors’ poor afternoon was summed up when Elokubi then limped off, leaving Steve Davis’ team to see out the closing stages with just ten men, all three substitutes having already been used.
Deep into five minutes of stoppage time, Josh Koroma sent a cross-shot for the Os just past Smith’s right-hand post, following a swift break from midfield.
On a record-breaking day at Meadow Park, these well-earned three points, coupled with the first clean sheet of the season, have lifted Wood back up to eighth place in the table.
It’s just the boost Luke Garrard’s team needed, as they now prepare for the trip to new leaders Dover Athletic on Tuesday evening.
BOREHAM WOOD: G Smith, K Smith, Woodards, Ricketts, Wells, Stephens, Champion, Murtagh, Andrade, Jeffers (Benson 79), Turgott. Subs not used: Johnson, Sach, Keita, Thomas.
LEYTON ORIENT: Grainger, Caprice, Coulson (Sendles-White 65), Elokobi, Widdowson, Ochieng (Harrold 51), Clay, Dayton (Koroma 77), McAnuff, Mooney, Bonne. Subs not used: Sargeant, Lawless.
REFEREE: Mr D Middleton
ATTENDANCE: 1920 (away support 1264)