The FA Cup 4Q Round: St Albans City vs Boreham Wood – Live!
by Ian | Oct 14, 2017
Good afternoon, everybody! This is likely to be a long, uninterrupted stream of conciousness on the live blog this afternoon. Let me declare an interest. I went to my first match there in September 1982 and remain an avid watcher of their results. However, I live in Sussex nowadays, and distance – as well as other parts of my life, mean that I wouldn’t label myself as their number one fan. Back in a moment, the teams have just come out onto the pitch.
So, there’s layer upon layer going on here. Boreham Wood have previously struggled for crowds, so this local rivalry sees the “smaller” of these two clubs in a higher division. Boreham Wood are a division higher but had 562 people turn out for it. St Albans supporters would probably be the first to admit that they look down their noses a little at “Wooooood”. But Boreham Wood remain a division higher. There’s about ten miles between the two towns, and as if all of that wasn’t enough, the St Albans City manager Ian Allinson was the manager who took Boreham Wood into the National League in 2015. Four months after announcing his retirement, he took over at Clarence Park.
And I think the FA Cup still matter in St Albans. They’ve had increasingly frequent matches against Football League clubs in recent years, but haven’t beaten one in the 1920s. Even without the local derby aspect, this match matters, in terms of the season.
St Albans are playing down quite a steep slope in the first half, it’s best seen in terms of the slope of the wood panels on the stand behind it. That stand was built in the 1920s, and I think there’s a chance it might even be a listed building.
They’ve been playing eleven minutes and Boreham Wood have a penalty. Tom Gardner leaves his foot in a fraction too late and there’s no doubt about its award.
Bruno Andrade smacks the ball into the bottom corner to give the vistors the lead.
And St Albans City have had some right thrashings against Football League clubs in the FA Cup. Last season, they lost 5-3 at home against Carlisle United. In 2013 they lost 8-1 at home against Mansfield Town. In 1996, they lost 9-2 against Bristol City. So if they do lose today, there’s a case for saying that getting knocked out of the FA Cup might be sparing them something terrible. They can hardly say it hasn’t happened before.
Coming up to twenty minutes played, by the way, and Boreham Wood seem reasonably in control of things. But these players aren’t Sunday League players. Andrade, who scored the penalty for Boreham Wood, played in the Premier League. Alright, it was QPR, but it was still in the Premier League. There aren’t players with cigarettes tucked behind their ears, and hasn’t been for many years.
Clarence Park is one of non-league football’s more understatedly handsome football venues, by the way. The excellent David Bauckham discusses it here. I was always particularly fond of the little crests on the perimeter fence posts:
Shaun Jeffers should really have scored there, after some terrible St Albans defending. There’s a bit of an angle, but he balloons the ball over the crossbar.
And as soon as I say that, St Albans start to press forward and create two good chances, first tipping a low shot from Murrell-Williamson around the post, and then saving at point blank range from Charlie Walker.
The BBC commentator is reading out tweets. You can watch the match here, by the way. No idea if it works outside the UK.
Gardner’s header drops a foot or two wide of the right hand Boreham Wood post from a hanging corner. They’re making a decent fist of things. On the BBC, meanwhile, people are still arguing about the penalty kick. Well, there was contact and the player went down. If those things happen without the ball being played first, I don’t see that it couldn’t be one. It felt on the more needless end of the spectrum, to me.
A second goal for Boreham Wood and a goal for Shaun Jeffers. albeit with the assistance of a deflection and a mistake from St Albans’ Tom Bender to give them possession in the first place. A minute later, a low shot is defelcted wide, and suddenly Boreham Wood are completely in control again.
St Albans legs suddenly seem to have turned to lead in the run up to half-time. Ian Allinson looks like he might have some pretty ripe language for his players at half-time.
And that’s your lot for now. Half-time, and it’s St Albans City 0-2 Boreham Wood. The National League team have had spells when they’ve been comfortably in control of things, but St Albans have had their moments and it would be unfair to say that it has been entirely one way traffic. Boreham Wood have scored twice and hit the crossbar. It’s not over yet, but there’s clear water between the two teams at half-time.
Unsurprisingly, nothing really much has been going on in the match between Liverpool and Manchester United, and it’s goalless with half an hour played at Anfield. Back in fifteen minutes for the start of the second half.
And we’re off again, with Boreham Wood shooting downhill in the second half. City frequently used to do this when winning the toss themselves, but I never got to the point of figuring out why this might be considered advantageous.
In other, non-this particular match news, I’m taking my son to his first ever football match this afternoon. Worthing vs Metropolitan Police in the Isthmian League. Worthing are playing their first home match this season, having had to play at Bognor this last few weeks on account of problems with their 3g pitch.
A third goal for Boreham Wood three minutes into the second half, and a nice finish for Andrade, who rounds the goalkeeper and puts the ball in from a tight angle. Barring something remarkable, this game is over.
They’re talking about the three on the BBC live blog. There were other problems with the ground in 1993 that rendered it inappropriate for Conference football, and there was talk of issues with the finances as well. The tree story was true, but it was not the *only* reason why they were denied a shot at promotion.
They’re ten minutes into the second half at Anfield, by the way, and, to the surprise of no-one in particular, Big Club vs Jose Mourinho is apparently a stultifying spectacle of drabness.
My son has only just turned two, by the way, so he’s very young to be going to his first football match of the season. I doubt he’ll remember this when he’s older.
Since the third goal, the life has really been sucked out of this game. The St Albans team are running around with that urgency of a team that knows that it needs to be seen to be making an effort. A fourth goal for Boreham Wood looks more likely than so much as a consolation for St Albans, though, on the basis of the last fifteen minutes or so.
Sam Merson replaces Charlie Walker. Why yes, yes he is the son of Paul Merson, a fact that made me feel quite old. Paul Merson was a professional footballer for a period when I was old enough to be a professional footballer.
I knew that if I said something about St Albans not scoring, they’d score. Twenty-four minutes to play and Bender gets into the penalty area and the ball ends up with Shane Banton, who lifts the ball smartly over the goalkeeper and in.
Wel, that would have set a cat amongst the pigeons. A low shot flashes across the Boreham Wood penalty area and just wide of the post.
St Albans are at least making a game of it, though they did that previously for a while against Mansfield (see below – we were at that game, there’ll be a match report on the site) and against Bristol City in 1996. I remember the latter of those very well. I lost my job on the Friday morning before the match, and whereas I’d been expecting to drive up on the Saturday morning I ended up going on the Friday and staying overnight at a friend’s sister’s the night before. It was definitely Bristol City’s least important match of the season.
Grant Smith saves well for Boreham Wood, pushing a dipping, curling free-kick wide of the post for a corner.
I’ve always assumed that the issue that I would have with being a football commentator would be with the relatively simple job of remembering all the players names.
The introduction of Sam Merson has actually given St Albans a little more balance in midfield and they’ve been dominating possession, although how much of this is due to Boreham Wood taking their foot off the gas is open to question. There are nine minutes left to play plus stoppage time, and a goal in the next five minute could set up a very interesting finale.
The clock ticks over ninety minutes, and Boreham Wood have closed the game down very effectively. As an aside, Boreham Wood are sponsored by Barnet & Southgate College while St Albans are sponsored by Oaklands College (where I did my A Levels, fact fans). So, and educational establishment derby as well.
Full-time whistle blows, and Boreham Wood run out three-one winners. It was a spritely enough match. Boreham Wood always felt in control but St Albans gave them pause for thought more than once and can now, as they say, concentrate on the league now. Crowd at Clarence Park was 1,418, so not a bad crowd for it either. And on that note, we’re off to Woodside Road for Worthing vs Metropolitan Police. Good luck to all of you taking part in the 4q of the FA Cup this afternoon, particularly to Enfield Town, who are away to Maidstone United. Thanks for stopping by!