On the Spot

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Updated: December 20, 2017
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Tuesday 19th December 2017
Boreham Wood 2-2 Dartford (aet, score at 90 mins 2-2, Wood win 3-1 on penalties)
Meadow Park
Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Round Replay

STRIKER Shaun Jeffers and goalkeeper Grant Smith emerged as the heroes, as Boreham Wood narrowly avoided defeat and ultimately progressed to the 2nd Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

Wood were on the brink of exiting the competition at the hands of National League South leaders Dartford, who led 2-1 as the tie moved into ten minutes of stoppage time. There had been two lengthy delays during the second half after injuries to two home players – Dean Wells, who was sadly stretchered off, and skipper Mark Ricketts.

The ten minutes of added time would extend to 11, with the visitors making two late tactical substitutions. With seven of those minutes played, it was Jeffers who reacted quickest to Bruno Andrade’s cross from the left, firing past Darts’ keeper Deren Ibrahim to level the scores and take the tie to extra time.

These two teams had drawn 1-1 at Dartford’s Princes Park three days earlier, bringing this 1st Round tie to a replay.

Despite welcoming back midfielder Kieran Murtagh, who had missed the first meeting through suspension, Wood generally struggled for fluency in front of a sparse Meadow Park crowd.

In a promising start, Angelo Balanta warmed the palms of Ibrahim with a powerful shot inside the first two minutes.

At the other end, Grant Smith had to react smartly to parry a misplaced header from his own centre-back, Tom Champion, as the ball seemed to be heading for the top corner.

Just past the half-hour mark, Andrade sent a dipping shot from the edge of the box just past Ibrahim’s right-hand post after neat one-two with Jeffers.

The first set-back for Wood came six minutes after the break, when centre-back Dean Wells was stretchered off after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch.

Within a minute of the restart, Dartford opened the scoring, Ryan Hayes expertly curling the ball from the corner of the penalty area beyond Smith, after collecting a cross-field pass.

Dan Holman, introduced to the Wood attack in place of Balanta, almost levelled the score with his first touch, but was unable to divert the ball past Ibrahim.

A moment of quality from Bruno Andrade brought the equaliser in the 74th minute. Wood’s leading scorer created space for himself in a central position 25 yards from goal, from where he crashed the ball past Ibrahim via the inside of the keeper’s left-hand post.

It didn’t look to be Wood’s night though, when the Darts regained the lead just three minutes later, as Danny Mills poked the ball past Smith after a corner had been flicked on. There had been another lengthy delay before the set-piece was taken, with home skipper Ricketts receiving treatment for a head injury

Deep into stoppage time, Wood were narrowly denied in several goalmouth incidents, before Jeffers’ strike hauled the hosts level to set up another 30 minutes.

When the added half-hour failed to produce another goal, it came down to a penalty shootout at the north end of the ground.

With the new ABBA format not being used in this competition, Dartford had the possible advantage of taking the first kick, which Elliot Bradbrook duly converted.

But that would be the only time the Darts would find the net, as Smith dived to parry the spot-kicks of Tom Murphy, Lyle Della-Verde and Alfie Pavey.

By the time Wood’s keeper pulled of his third save in a row, Andrade, Jeffers and substitute Sorba Thomas had all scored from 12 yards, and it’s Luke Garrard’s team which will travel to either Guiseley or Gateshead in the 2nd Round next month.

BOREHAM WOOD: G Smith, K Smith, Ricketts (Thomas 103), Wells (Turley 50), Stephens, Shakes, Champion, Murtagh, Andrade, Jeffers, Balanta (Holman 64). Subs not used: Burbidge, Sach

DARTFORD: Ibrahim, Harris (Sho-Silva 90), Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Della-Verde, Hayes, Bradbrook, Mills (Pavey 90), Brown (Pugh 67), Murphy.

REFEREE: Mr R Hulme

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