Boreham Wood manager Ian Allinson hailed the 2-1 defeat at Sutton United as “our best away performance of the season. We looked sharper, fitter and took the game to a side fifth in the division”.
But Wood failed to win a game after matching their opponents in first half, before playing all the football on show in the second period.
The difference in the two sides was highlighted in the respective performances of goalkeepers Kevin Scriven and Michael Jordan, the latter whom Allinson felt “should not have conceded their opportunist first half goal which he got totally wrong”.
Scriven, on the other hand, was faultless at the other end, with Wood creating the lion’s share of chances, especially in the second half.
Wood had a chance cleared off the line after 12 minutes when Charlie O'Loughlin beat Scriven with his looping header from a David Hutton free-kick which defender Michael Boateng managed to clear from underneath the crossbar.
Billy Lobjoit then chanced his arm from long range after good work from Sam Cox, but his effort was just too high.
The home side spurned a clear-cut chance to take the lead after a sluggish start. Leroy Griffiths, who was the stand out player for the U's on the night, crossed to the far post from the left and Harry Beautyman somehow headed wide across goal with the goal gaping at the far post.
Some fine defending from forward David Bryant then denied the forward foraging Boateng. With Griffiths enjoying space in between Osei Sankofa and Mario Noto out on the left, it was obvious where the threat of attack was coming from, until Wood took the lead in some fashion after 29 minutes.
A mis-kick by Anwar Uddin was collected on the goal line by Bryant and he found Lobjoit just inside the area. He, in turn, fed Noto, who was back to his brilliant best on the night after a long spell on the sidelines, and the talismanic Wood captain swivelled to send a quite sumptuous looping shot over Scriven, which dropped into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Yet for all of Wood’s endeavour, The U's equalised six minutes later when an opportunist low drive from 25 yards out from Craig Dundas took a slight deflection outside the area and Jordan failed to judge the flight of the ball, which went through his body.
Lobjoit had an effort well saved when Wood broke incisively. Mark Jones' clearance found Noto, who, in turn, fed Bryant, whose understanding with the 17-year-old Orient work experience player continues to flourish.
Joel Ledgister then had Jordan floundering at the near post with his ball in from the right for Beautyman and O'Loughlin’s interception saved a certain goal.
O'Loughlin was a rock in defence in the second half, which allowed Wood to go on and control the game. Beautyman’s over-hit cross, which hit the roof of the net after 70 minutes, was as close as the home side came to penetrating the Wood defence.
Some sloppy defending allowed Hutton to beat Scriven to the ball, only for his shot to be cleared off the line by Sam Page. A period of fine flowing football from Wood followed, with a period of sustained pressure in the Sutton half, and Luke Garrard's lob was perfect for Lobjoit, yet the superb Griffiths, now playing in defence, mopped up.
The killer blow came against the run of play from a Sutton corner after 86 minutes. Sankofa cleared only as far as Beautyman, who volleyed home a real firecracker from 12 yards out that Jordan failed to get a hand on.
Wood did not buckle however, creating more chances late on.
Bryant and Lobjoit combined with Scriven in a perfect position to repel the latter’s fierce drive. Then late substitute Sam Lechmere picked out Lobjoit with a cross, yet Scriven won the day with another fine save to repel the resultant header.
Allinson concluded: “ I am really happy with the performance yet mistakes let us down. We have worked really hard during the frozen spell and we have the facilities to allow us to keep training.
“Two off the line and some great work by their keeper cost us the points.
“I am looking to bolster the squad to give competition in some areas for places.”
Boreham Wood: Jordan, Sankofa, Jones (Brathwaite 77), Cox, O'Loughlin, Beckles, Noto (Akinola87), Garrard, Bryant, Lobjoit, Hutton (Lechmere 90). Not used: Hunter and Scott-Morris.