Torquay United 0 Boreham Wood 0

Torbay Weekly

A 2-2 draw against Barnet at the weekend may have been two points dropped, but a stalemate against title-chasing Boreham Wood was definitely a point gained against one of the best sides seen at Plainmoor this season.

It may not have been a classic, but Gary Johnson's Gulls had to fight for every ball and goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald was able to celebrate a well-deserved 'clean sheet' on his 100th appearance for the club.

The result may not have improved United's Pay-Off chances significantly, but they have still lost only twice in 12 games, and to emerge with a draw against a side which will go to Everton in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup next midweek was a creditable effort.

It wasn't hard to see why Luke Garrard's side have done so well this season, but Torquay stuck with them through every run and every tackle, continuing their good record against teams at the top of the National League table.

United were forced to make one change - Armani Little had picked up an injury at the weekend, so Johnson brought Danny Wright in up front, and he also reshuffled his formation again.

It was back to a back-three, with Hall between Joe Lewis and Dean Moxey at centre-back.

Wood were without Kane Smith at right-back, but they made several changes, recalling Jamie Reckord in defence and Dennon Lewis in midfield and Danilo Orsi-Dadamo in attack.

From the first whistle Wood looked every bit as strong, able and well-organised as their record indicated, and United had to pull out all the stops to contain them.

They did it well in a tight, nip-and-tuck first quarter in which both sides were visibly intent on not making any silly mistakes.  It was engrossing stuff.

It was hard for United to force an opening, but they thought they'd done it in the 14th minute when Ben Wynter's diagonal ball bounced over Jamie Reckord to Wright, and the Wood defender got away with a clear tug, unseen, by referee James Lamport, on the Gulls' centre-forward as he was about to go clear.

Six minutes later Wright headed down a high ball from Hall, and Dan Martin seized on the chance with a stinging first-time drive which Taye Ashby-Hammond did well to parry.

Mr. Lamport pulled Hall and Wood skipper Mark Ricketts over for a chat in the 23rd minute, to calm down a spat which arose after Wright and Will Evans had tangled in a touchline incident which sent the visitors' defender tumbling onto the pitch surround.

Wood were simply too good to keep at bay for ever, and MacDonald had to make two smart saves in quick succession from ex-Gulls loanee Josh Rees and Dadamo.

In the 34th minute a powerful counter-attack by Dennon Lewis, with the help of a one-two with Tyrone Marsh, carried him from one end of the pitch to the other, beating Martin before hitting a right-foot shot which hit the right-hand post with MacDonald beaten.

Former Watford starlet Lewis also put in another run and cross, deflected over by Hall, just before half-time.

Goalless at half-time had been deserved and hard-earned by both sides, and it was far from boring.

Wood started the second half full of intent, and again United dug in well to keep them out.

But, with the Pop Side crowd in full voice, they came through that dangerous spell and started to threaten on their own account.

Hall glanced a left-wing Lemonheigh-Evans corner over at the near post in the 55th minute, before Stephen Duke-McKenna came within a couple of feet of giving United the lead.

Wood only half-cleared another Lemonheigh-Evans corner and Duke-McKenna, having another lively game in midfield, hit a first-time right-foot volley from outside the area which flew just wide of the left-hand post.

It was 70 minutes before Wood made the first changes, James Comley and ex-United loanee Scott Boden for Ricketts and Dadamo, while Raymond and Lapslie were both booked as the tension rose in the closing stages.

The visitors also slowed the game down with a series of injury stoppages, although they were hardly hanging on for a point.

Indeed, it was United who looked as if they could do with some fresh inspiration in the last ten minutes.

Wright, just back from injury, had done well to last that long, but when Johnson did make a change, it was because of an injury to Martin - Chiori Johnson took over at left-back.

It was finally Klaidi Lolos for Wright in the 89th minute, although Mr Lamport did add six minutes of stoppage-time.


Torquay United (3-5-2): MacDonald; Lewis, Hall, Moxey; Wynter, Duke-McKenna, Lapslie, Wearne, Martin (Johnson 87); Lemonheigh-Evans, Wright; subs not used - Halstead (gk), Omar, Lolos, Felix.

Booked: Lapslie 76.

Boreham Wood (3-5-2): Ashby-Hammond; Stevens, Evans, Reckord; Lewis, Ricketts (Comley 70), Rees, Raymond, Mendy; Marsh (Clifton 90+2), Orsi-Dadamo (Boden 75); subs not used - Ashmore (gk), Smith.

Booked: Rees 38, Raymond 75..

Referee: Daniel Lamport (Berks).

Attendance: 2,251 (33 Wood fans).

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