Ian Allinson admitted his Boreham Wood side “didn’t turn up” after they crashed out of the Herts Senior Cup following a 3-0 first round defeat at Hitchin Town last night.
With Wood back in action following their most important game for eight years – Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup loss to Brentford - and their opponents returning from their longest ever trip on the road, it was The Canaries who migrated with purpose.
Explaining his team selection, Allinson said: “We had four boys away at England Trials who would all have featured. That left me with the chance to flood the field with squad players who had the opportunity to show they were worthy of a first-team place. Unfortunately, aside from Rob Hastings, none of those squad players did themselves any justice.
“It was the old cliché of after the Lord Mayors Show. We just did not turn up. Let’s hope we have got it out of our system as we cannot afford to perform like that next Saturday when we travel to Histon in the FA Trophy.
“We feel as a club we can do well this year in the competition, before we turn our attention back to the main menu, the league”.
George Wright, who features in the current Under-18 side, debuted at left-back, with James Russell rested in goal.
Benn Nunn and Graeme Montgomery spent the evening on the treatment table in readiness for the weekend.
Hastings almost provided the perfect start from the kick off, finding himself through with only Martin Bennett to beat. He took his chance well but the keeper stood his ground and saved well.
Zak Burke tested Cameron Baker-Owers in the Wood goal, before Mauro Vilhete saw his shot run wide across goal.
Callum Donnelly hit a shot bound for the bottom right-hand corner which Baker-Owers did well to push to safety. Ben Jefford and Greg Morgan then set up a chance for Inih Effiong. His shot was blocked but it fell for for Hastings, who rifled a volley against the crossbar.
Wood found themselves pinned back in their own half due to some errant passing and they struggled to compete as Town pressed hard.
Donnelly lobbed an effort over the bar before he left Baker-Owers with egg on his face, lobbing the stranded keeper from 30 yards to open the scoring after 32 minutes.
The goal of the game and Donnelly's second came two minutes before the interval. The diminutive number six caught Baker-Owers out again, this time from fully 35 yards with a perfectly struck shot that was almost identical to his first high over the keeper and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Hitchin continued to create the lion’s share of the chances after the break, with Baker-Owers forced to make a double save to deny Daniel Webb then Burke.
Effiong toiled without an end product all evening up front but Webb's trip on the giant forward set up a free-kick for Mario Noto which he fired straight at Bennett.
Cliff Akurang came on as a centre-back, with Jefford moving out to the left-back position. Allinson then sent on Omer Riza for Vilhete, giving Wood a three-pronged attack.
Yet it was the introduction of The Canaries goal machine John Frendo after 75 minutes that made an impact.
Lee Close gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Town to counter attack. Daniel Delderfield skipped away down the left wing, playing a superb ball down the left channel for Frendo, who dinked his shot calmly over Baker-Owers with his first touch of the ball.
Allinson added: “ In all honesty only three of the side that started are guaranteed starts on Saturday and on reflection of the overall performance from the squad we may need to make one or two changes to the personnel over the coming weeks.”
Boreham Wood: Baker-Owers, Close, Wright (Akurang 55), Vilhete (Riza 65), O'Loughlin, Jefford, Hutton (Isaac 45), Noto, Effiong, Hastings, Morgan. Not used: Jones and Brown.