Hatters Bogged Down In Early Stages By Marsh
The Hatters finished on the wrong end of a ‘double’ for the third time in the current season, after going down at Edgeley Park against first-time visitors Boreham Wood.
Three first-half goals for ‘The Wood’ – including a brace inside 22 minutes for former Macclesfield Town striker Tyrone Marsh – effectively settled the contest, although a spirited attempt at a comeback after the break did produce a County consolation through substitute Devante Rodney.
The Hatters took to the field in SK3 for their first home match of the new year and decade, showing two changes from the starting line-up at Halifax three days earlier. Sam Minihan and Tyler Garratt were recalled to the respective right-back and left-back berths in place of Dan Cowan and Joe Leesley.
The contest got off to the worst possible start for County when, with fewer than two minutes on the clock, The Wood, who had scored four without reply in the reverse-fixture at Meadow Park during September, took an early lead. Marsh unleashed a harmless-looking, speculative shot from within the right side of the box – but his effort took a bounce before wriggling under Ben Hinchliffe and into the far corner of the net to put the visitors ahead.
Ten minutes of Wood pressure followed, with the Hatters finding themselves largely pinned back in their own half until Jordan Keane went close with one attempt from the edge of the box that fizzed narrowly over – followed by a second that flew rather higher, towards the scoreboard.
But 20 minutes after getting their noses in front, the visitors doubled the advantage, and Marsh his personal tally for the afternoon, as the striker latched on to Kane Smith’s pass from the right, before looping the ball over Hinchliffe and in off the underside of the crossbar.
Femi Ilesanmi came close to making it three a few minutes later, courtesy of a 30-yard thunderbolt that struck the inside of the left post – and Smith fired wide of the same upright, as The Wood continued to shoot at will.
Skipper Paul Turnbull half-volleyed beyond the right post, as the Hatters sought to reduce the arrears. Elliot Osborne sent over a delivery from the right that was cleanly gathered by visiting goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore, before letting rip with another goal-bound shot Tom Champion did well to block. And Keane then stung Ashmore’s hands with four minutes of the half remaining
The visitors were, however, to have the last word before half-time – going three-up, after leading scorer Kabongo Tshimanga converted into the far corner a Sorba Thomas delivery from the left.
HALF-TIME: County 0, Boreham Wood 3 (Marsh, 2 and 22; Tshimanga, 44).
County introduced Cowan and Rodney, and adopted a three-player defence, upon the resumption. And within five minutes, the tactical switch gave the Hatters a potential lifeline – as well as their first-ever goal against The Wood – when Rodney’s drive from the left went in off the far post.
Nyal Bell then saw a shot parried past the right post by Ashmore, and Rodney drilled wide of the opposite stick, before Sorba Thomas, in County’s area, curled a shot from the left around the far upright.
The half continued to offer chances at each end, albeit without troubling the scorers further – with Festus Arthur heading Osborne’s corner from the left narrowly shy of the far post, and Bell blasting an angled shot beyond the left side of goal, before Hinchliffe spilled a Marsh shot from the right on to the near upright as full-time approached.
FULL-TIME: County 1 (Rodney, 50), Boreham Wood 3 (Marsh, 2 and 22; Tshimanga, 44).
Team (4-2-3-1): Hinchliffe; Minihan (Rodney, 46), Palmer, Arthur, Garratt (Cowan, 46); Turnbull (Capt.), Keane; A Thomas (Mulhern, 81), Osborne, T Walker; Bell.
Unused Subs: S Walker, Ormson.
Man of the Match: A Thomas.
Attendance: 4,074 (29 away).
Reporter: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.