Monday 27 August 2018 // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2035 (36 from Boreham Wood) // Report by David Sleight
Bank holidays, eh? Don’t you just love them? Well, maybe not if you’ve been on the wrong end of tight results twice in one weekend.
It was clear from their programme notes today that neither Jay Saunders nor Bill Williams is a fan and, after this bruising, blood and snotters defeat to Boreham Wood, it’s doubtful that many of the Maidstone players will disagree.
Jamar Loza was a late scratch from the Stones lineup after sustaining a hamstring injury in the warm-up but the home team began the game brightly. After a featureless first quarter of an hour, Ollie Muldoon extracted a smart save from Ellery Balcombe following a Blair Turgott free kick, and seconds later Seth Nana Twumasi went close with a shot on goal after a mazy dribble down the left.
But the visitors slowly wrested the initiative as the first half wore on. Boreham Wood gaffer, Luke Garrard, has some imposing physical specimens at his disposal and the men from Hertfordshire were winning almost everything in the air and, more often than not, were first to the second ball.
A clever reverse pass by skipper Mark Ricketts found Kieran Murtagh in space and he stung Lee Worgan’s palms with a fierce shot just before the half hour. Moments later Tom Champion’s thunderous drive from the corner of the box brought an excellent save from the Stones’ No. 1 as The Wood began to turn the screw.
The visitors, playing a 3-5-2 formation, were dominating the midfield and ensuring that Andre Coker and Blair Turgott received only minimal service. “We’re hanging on here” observed one wag (to no disagreement) as the Stones cleared their lines following what seemed like an umpteenth Boreham Wood corner and goal mouth scramble. No sooner had he said that than Michee Efete skipped down the right and fed Jack Paxman, quiet until this point, who scored with a stunning strike from the edge of box into the top left hand corner of Balcombe’s net. Seconds later the referee Will Finnie blew for half time. The common consensus in the gents at the interval was that Paxman’s effort was a “worldie”.
Boreham Wood began the second half much as they had finished the first and, although Joe Quigely went close with a header from a Turgott corer, the men from Meadow Park dominated possession. Their territorial advantage yielded its reward on the hour when a free kick was awarded against Efete for hand ball on the edge of the area. It looked like a harsh call as the ball seemed to cannon into Efete’s body but Angelo Balanta made his own luck and expertly directed the ball past the outstretched right hand of Worgan in the Stones goal.
Jay Saunders responded with a double substitution as Jordan Wynter and Shamir Mullings entered the fray in place of Andre Coker and Jack Paxman. This enabled the Stones to match the visitors 3-5-2 formation with Quigley and Mullings up front, and Twumasi and Efete pushing forward down the flanks for the home team. It took the men in black and amber a while to adjust but the extra body in midfield enabled them to re-assert some measure of control in the middle of the park.
Another run by Twumasi down the left resulted in two goal-bound efforts being charged down before Stuart Lewis fired just wide from the edge of the box. Michael Phillips was introduced with fifteen minutes to go as players on both sides began to tire.
Then, just as the Stones might have been thinking that a point against an excellent Boreham Wood side might not be such a bad result, disaster struck. Joshua Umerah latched on to an attempted clearance from Lewis on the edge of the box and supplied a high quality finish to beat Worgan to his left from eighteen yards.
Five minutes plus stoppage time remained. The Stones huffed and puffed but couldn’t breach the well marshaled Wood defence. “We are the Wood” sang the three dozen exultant away fans who, after two wins for their side in 72 hours, must be looking forward to the next long weekend.
Maidstone United: Paxman 45
Boreham Wood: Balanta 60, Umerah 85
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Michee Efete, Will De Havilland, Alex Finney, Stuart Lewis(c), Joe Quigley, Jack Paxman (Shamir Mullings 68), Blair Turgott, Andre Coker (Jordan Wynter 68), Seth Nana Twumasi, Ollie Muldoon (Michael Phillips 75). Subs not used: George McLennan
Boreham Wood: Ellery Balcombe, Danny Woodards (Femi Ilesanmi 66), Mark Ricketts(c), Dave Stephens, Ricky Shakes, Tom Champion, Joshua Umerah, Kieran Murtagh, Jamal Fyfield, Sorba Thomas (Bradley Ash 87), Angelo Balanta. Subs not used: Manny Parry, Connor Smith, Fred Burbidge
Who was your Man of the Match vs. Boreham Wood?
- Jack Paxman (61%, 69 Votes)
- Will De Havilland (16%, 18 Votes)
- Seth Nana Twumasi (9%, 10 Votes)
- Alex Finney (7%, 8 Votes)
- Michee Efete (2%, 2 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (2%, 2 Votes)
- Ollie Muldoon (2%, 2 Votes)
- Shamir Mullings (1%, 1 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (1%, 1 Votes)
- Joe Quigley (1%, 1 Votes)
- Blair Turgott (0%, 0 Votes)
- Andre Coker (0%, 0 Votes)
- Jordan Wynter (0%, 0 Votes)
- Michael Phillips (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 114