Former Arsenal youngster scores stunning goal as Boreham Wood win at Maidenhead United

A wonder goal from debutant Omer Riza, a fine team effort and a dubious offside finish left Maidenhead United with nothing to show from their efforts as they were beaten 3-0 at home by Boreham Wood.

Riza, who boasts a career that started at Arsenal as a teenager, before starring for Trabsonspor in the Turkish Super League is Ian Allinson's latest addition to the side and the 32-year-old made an immediate impact.

This was Wood's best away result of the season against a battling Magpies side. Their lack of dominance came about thanks to a quite superb performance from Luke Garrard, who was in a class of his own, coupled with the resolute Elvijs Putnins. The keeper has now tasted defeat just three times in 13 appearances this season.

A nervy start produced few goalscoring chances, with Maidenhead's Leon Solomon coming close with a rising drive that went just over the bar.

Charlie O'Loughlin battled against the equally well-framed centre forward Alex Wall throughout, but picked up his tenth booking early on which will lead to a two-match suspension.

David Bryant hit a weak shot at Aaron Lennox, before opening the scoring after 24 minutes.

A chipped ball over the defence was helped on into the path of Bryant by Riza and with the entire Magpies back line looking to the referee, he volleyed home wide of Lennox with no flag offered by the assistant referee.

The collective bemusement to that goal turned to collective admiration to Wood's second three minutes later.

An interchange of passes between Mario Noto and David Hutton out on the right led to a perfectly threaded low ball across goal from the Wood captain, finding Riza just inside the penalty area wide on the left. With seemingly nothing on, he took a touch before executing a stunning curling finish into the top right-hand corner of the net with almost no backlift whatsoever.

The home side were suitably contained by Garrard and his men up until the interval when Wall almost skewed a clearance into his own goal, which would have ended the game as a contest.

Wood continued to dominate after the interval, with Lennox forced to save from Bryant and then Hutton after he was played in by Riza.

The new arrival continued to shine when Noto played him through between two defenders. He was strong enough to make the edge of the area where John Scarborough made a fine saving tackle. However the loose ball fell for Hutton, whose fierce shot was well held by Lennox.

There followed a period of sustained pressure from Maidenhead as Johnson Hippolyte rang the changes, using up all his options from the bench.

Leigh Henry headed just wide at the near post from a corner, before great defensive work from Daniel Brathwaite and Garrard prevented further work for Putnins.

Jermaine Hinds found himself in acres of space at the far post from a corner yet took an age and fired wide before Wall tried his luck from 35 yards but Putnins remained as reliable as ever.

O'Loughlin then committed a clumsy challenge which referee Mr Knight took an age to deliberate over, due to the mob protest from a number of animated Magpies. It was their boisterousness which probably saved O'Loughlin at the outset.

Another wild miss from Hinds signalled the end of the home side’s chances and Wood mopped up to end the game in some style.

Osei Sankofa, winning the ball by the corner flag in his own half, steered it into the path of Sam Lechmere. His long ball down the wing was superbly brought under control by Riza, who awaited the overlapping run of Sankofa. He fed Bryant who switched play back wide for Lechmere to deliver a floating cross that Bryant headed down into the path of Sankofa. The right-back looked every part a forward bringing the ball down before sweeping it beyond Lennox into the corner of the net. It was his first ever goal for Wood.

Riza made way for Mauro Vilhete with two minutes remaining and the Barnet loan player saw two shots saved as Wood looked to run riot in the closing stages.

Allinson said: “Our aim now is to finish top of the chasing pack. Eighth is not out of the question and would be a great springboard to go into next season’s campaign.

“We have played well against the top sides yet they always have quality on their benches whereas we are trying to bring on quality from within. Now we face a string of games against sides of our level where we can dominate.”

On his latest addition, the manager added: “ You never know what to expect when you introduce a 32 year old.

“Omer has shown that he has legs, stamina, a fine footballing brain and a real hunger for the game. He combined well today with David Bryant and his goal was a different class.

“That said, I thought Luke Garrard was immense today and it was probably his best game for us.”

Boreham Wood: Putnins, Sankofa, Brathwaite, Garrard, O'Loughlin, Beckles, Hutton (Lechmere 71), Cox, Bryant, Noto, Riza (Vilhete 88). Not used: Jones, McCann and Lewis.

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