FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
ST NEOTS TOWN 1 BOREHAM WOOD 2
There was to be no cup upset at Rowley Park where Conference South visitors Boreham Wood survived with ten men for 45 minutes to progress to the next round. Visiting goalkeeper James Russell was red carded a minute before the break for handling outside his area and so striker Inih Effiong was sacrificed with substitute keeper Cameron Baker Owers brought into the action. St Neots must have hoped to take second half advantage of their numerical superiority but they failed to capitalise and Manager Iain Parr admitted he had been disappointed by their efforts. ‘We were too anxious – our on-field tactics were all wrong and we were beaten by a side that were no better than us’ he said after the match. There were two enforced team changes with Callum Stewart coming in for Jay Davies whose loan period had expired and Declan Rogers was handed his first match in an attacking role in place of the holidaying Ben Mackey with Dan Jacobs moving up front to partner Stefan Moore.
In the opening half hour Boreham Wood displayed all the experience and confidence expected of a team from a higher level. They were faster to the ball and had a better and more positive approach than their hosts who struggled to find their usual rhythm. All the early efforts at goal were aimed towards Michael Duggan although Gavin Hoyte did well to block a shot by Chez Isaac after the ball had been given away and then Duggan got down well to gather an angled effort by David Hutton. The lively Greg Morgan then saw a shot deflected for a corner and Graeme Montgomery brought an outstanding save from Duggan who clawed away his swerving drive for a corner. St Neots did manage a couple of good efforts – Russell pushing away a close range effort from Lewis Hilliard and Stefan Moore going past two defenders only for the keeper to save at his feet. St Neots best first half effort saw a rasping Callum Stewart shot turned away by Russell after clever work by Moore but after 38 minutes the visitors made their superior possession pay as a curling David Hutton cross was parried by Duggan but the ball fell to Greg Morgan and he buried it in the bottom corner of the net. Duggan then saved full length from Inih Effiong but the character of the match was transformed when Russell fumbled a shot by Moore on the edge of his area and then reached outside it to retrieve the ball. The resultant free kick was driven into the wall and the teams then retired for their half time break.
St Neots should have worked on making their extra man play but with the visitors resorting to just one forward they were difficult to break down. The home side lacked imagination and confidence and before they had tested the visiting defence former Histon striker Omar Riza broke clear to score from a narrow angle after 58 minutes. There was still time to mount a challenge but the substitute keeper was seldom under any pressure despite Ollie Thorne relentlessly pushing his side forward from midfield. St Neots tried to vary their approach sending on an additional attacking player and leaving three at the back but it had no real effect. Lewis Hilliard scored a consolation goal with a direct free kick from 25 yards and both Gavin Hoyte and substitute Kaine Felix failed to convert close range chances but Boreham Wood held out fairly comfortably to ease to victory.
St Neots: Duggan, Duncliffe, Lee, Thorne, Gent, Hoyte, Hilliard, Stewart, Moore, Jacob, Rogers.
Subs: Adjei (for Stewart 65 mins), Felix (for Gent 65 mins), Werndly (for Hilliard 86 mins), Sharman, Manangu & Banthorpe.
Boreham Wood: Russell, Close, Jones, Morgan, Effiong, Reynolds, Hutton, Isaac, Akirang, Riza, Mongomery.
Subs: Baker-Owers (for Russell 43mins), Hastings (for Morgan 74 mins), Scott-Morris (for Riza 86 mins), Yala and Doolan.
Cards: Russell (R – 43), Close (Y – 89)
Referee: Andy Hendley (Halesowen)