Bovingdon 1 - 2 Hadley Wood & Wingate
By Khalid Karimullah
Hadley Wood & Wingate fought back from a goal down to accumulate all three points against Bovingdon FC at a breezy Green Lane.
Hadley Wood started on the front foot in the opening minutes of the spectacle. Paris Mason out on the left flank midway in side his own half, used his speed to leave Lee Bircham trailing before his deflected cross found Gavin Suddell just outside the box, but his drilled shot went wide. Hector Mackie then had a speculative 30 yard effort which caused Luke Furlons more issues than it should have due to the gush of wind, though the keeper gathered the ball on the second attempt.
Then from a short taken corner by Mason, Suddell floated in a low cross finding Seb Garber, who forced a spectacular double save from Furlons. Ben Andreos, who led by example all game, floated in a deep ball from just behind the half way line, and with the keeper rooted to the spot, it was only a connection on the ball that went missing as the danger cleared. Joe Killingback then hit a 20 yard effort over the bar, before good interplay of passes allowed Joe Foley to get his shot away, however his effort went over the frame of the goal.
Moments later, Andreos won a foul just inside the hosts own half, before Mackie with a quick taken free kick found the former bombarding down the right flank, however his shot-cum-cross was tipped over the bar. It took 25 minutes for Bovingdon to have their first meaningful shot on target, Ben Davies hitting an 18 yard effort which was calmly saved by Ross Weinrab. After a loss of possession in midfield, Stefan Owen-Edwards then drilled a 25 yard effort wide for Peter Bowler's side.
From a counter attack, Mason found Suddell out on the right, before he delivered in a near perfect cross for Garber who could only head his attempt over the bar. Against the run of play, and with half an hour played, it was the hosts who found themselves leading in a game which up until then, they had hardly been involved in. Harry Slade out on the left picked out Louis Pritchard running through the middle with a ball over the Hadley Wood defence, before the latter finished superbly past Weinrab, however the goal shouldn't have been allowed to stand as the forward was in an offside position.
Mackie then had another long range shot which was a carbon copy of his first attempt, though with the wind still not in the keepers favour, Furlons made made an easier gather. Minutes later with six minutes to play of the half, the visitors grabbed a well deserved equaliser. Foley went on a powerful and mesmerizing run through the middle of the pitch, before cutting the ball back inside to Suddell who composed himself and finished from 6 yards out. With half time approaching, Mason again broke away from Bircham before opening up his body, though his deflected effort went just over the bar.
Half time didn't affect the flow of the game for Hadley Wood who again started the brightest, however, they almost found themselves picking the ball out of their net. Owen-Edwards put Marriott under pressure, and with the wind playing a major role in the game, the ball shuddered off the post. Soon after, Mason then attempted to guide his curled attempt into the far corner from just outside the box, howbeit his effort went wide to the relief of the flat footed Furlons.
After good play between Mackie and Killingback, the latter released James Karena away down the right flank, prior to his accurate cross finding Garber who could only head his attempt into the ground from 6 yards. At the other end, the home side had a glorious chance to lead for a second time in the game, but failed to take advantage. After good passing between Davies and Bircham, the latter's low and powerful cross in to the box was cleared only as far as Slade, who from just 12 yards out somehow miscued his shot high and over the bar.
Not long after, on 69 minutes, Hadley Wood took the lead in stunning fashion. Killingback constructed space for himself in the centre of the pitch, before hitting a ferocious 25 yard effort which left the keeper flat footed, as it smacked the underside of the woodwork and bounced over the line. Suddell then hit an 18 yard strike over the bar after good play by Mason, before Weinrab produced an amazing double save on the edge of his box. After Junior Anonua was played in on goal, the keeper rushed out to deny his close range attempt twice, before the ball fell kindly to Connor Deadman, who with only the goal gaping powered his effort spectacularly over the bar.
Substitute Josh Grantham was then introduced into the foray, and he almost found the bottom corner to double the Blues' lead. Mason again used his speed to great effect before finding Grantham, who controlled the ball before getting his shot away, though his effort was blocked by the feet of Paul Branson. However, the ball fell kindly to Suddell, but he could only blaze his effort high and over inside the box.
The last significant action of the game came from Foley who shot straight into the keepers arms from close range, after a great cross from Karena. Hadley Wood & Wingate now sit within just 2 points from the summit of the Herts Senior County League.
1. Luke Furlons
2. Lee Bircham
3. Ryan Anthony
4. Arron Bavistock (c) → Stefan Owen-Edwards 26''
5. Paul Branson
6. Craig Redgewell
7. Ben Davies
8. Connor Deadman
9. Junior Anonua
10. Louis Pritchard
11. Harry Slade
12. Craig Preston
14. Stefan Owen-Edwards
15. Lewis Coates
Hadley Wood & Wingate Line-Up:
1. Ross Weinrab
2. James Karena
3. Khalil Zakkour
4. Joe Killingback
5. Bradley Marriott
6. Ben Andreos (c)
7. Gavin Suddell
8. Hector Mackie
9. Seb Garber → Josh Grantham 75''
10. Paris Mason
11. Joe Foley
12. Josh Grantham
14. Frankie Webb
Referee: Tony Gauthier