Ten-man Boreham Wood came agonizingly close to causing an upset against league-leaders Forest Green Rovers but the width of the crossbar thrice denied them as they went down 1-0.

It was never going to be easy, yet Wood turned in their best performance of this fledgling National League season and controlled the second half until Rovers' goal - another set-piece that tripped up the league newcomers.

Wood’s cause was not helped by Billy Clifford’s dismissal three minutes after Kurtis Guthrie had grabbed what proved to be the winner for Rovers with 13 minutes to go.

The winner came against the run of play, and a deflated Ian Allinson said after: “If you do not take your chances when they come along and hit the target you will pay the price and that was the case again tonight, much like the previous two defeats.

“We can certainly take the positives tonight, we will learn from our mistakes and for sure we were made to work extremely hard," he continued. 

"I feel sorry for Billy Clifford as two silly moments mean he is out of the trip to Tranmere Rovers.”

A fast and furious game from kick off, the half-time interval did nothing to slow down proceedings and considering Wood were up against a full-time outfit, there were no signs of tiredness towards the end.

Man-of-the-match Ricky Shakes almost broke the deadlock after six minutes. His ball forward for Jamie Lucas was left by the striker who felt he was offside, yet Rovers' defence switched off allowing Shakes to latch on his own pass and fire against the crossbar from 25 yards.

Six minutes later Shakes beat defender James Jennings to the ball wide on the right and whipped in a cross which Lucas headed against the bar.

Both defences found themselves under pressure but on each occasion the final product was snuffed out; Keanu Marsh-Brown sending a low cross in for Aaron O'Connor but he failed to get a shot away.

The pace of the game was so intense it suited neither side, with a pulsating exchange of possession in the middle of the park keeping the fans on the edge of their seats.

Conor Clifford had a hand in a swift passing move that ended with Billy Clifford drilling a low shot just wide of goal.

Three minutes later Billy Clifford found himself played through the middle by Luke Howell and hit a rasping drive just wide of the target.

Borehamwood Times: Billy Clifford (right) gets past Kurtis Guthrie. Picture: Sean HinksBilly Clifford (right) gets past Kurtis Guthrie. Picture: Sean Hinks

The second half saw Wood enjoy the majority of possession. The half was just three minutes old when the two Cliffords combined to set up Graeme Montgomery for a cross from the left which Lucas was inches from connecting with.

Montgomery then forced Jonny Maxted to punch a telling cross clear, before Shakes raced in to intercept a James Russell clearance that had Maxted on his toes to rush out and gather in the nick of time.

Next Marsh-Brown skied a free-kick in a dangerous area for the visitors, a brief respite from a fine period of attacking play from Wood for the visitors.

Just after the hour Billy Clifford slid in dangerously on Rob Sinclair to earn a booking which would prove significant in the final reckoning.

But Wood continued to attack with Lucas stealing the ball from centre-back Aaron Racine before falling at the last hurdle, his tired legs replaced soon after by Harry Crawford.

Borehamwood Times: Jamie Lucas (right) is crowded out as he goes to shoot for Wood. Picture: Sean HinksJamie Lucas (right) is crowded out as he goes to shoot for Wood. Picture: Sean Hinks

The goal arrived when against the run of play Howell was punished for an accidental handball.

Winger Sinclair swung in a training ground free-kick which caught the Wood defence off-guard and nobody picked up the movement of Guthrie, who ran in to plant a decisive header past Russell.

Things went from bad to worse three minutes later when Billy Clifford had a nip at the ankles of Sam Wedgbury to earn a second yellow card.

Allinson, having already lined up two substitutes in Junior Morias and Matty Whichelow, bravely went ahead with the plan, switching to a 3-4-2 formation.

Wood pressed hard for an equalizer and a long Danny Woodards throw from the right bounced up off a defender with Morias hitting the upright with his header.

Guthrie then headed at Russell from a Dale Bennett cross at the other end before Morias dribbled across goal, flicking wide of the post.

Boreham Wood: Russell; Nunn (Whichelow 82), Doe, Reynolds, Woodards; Shakes, C Clifford, B Clifford, Howell, Montgomery (Morias 82); Lucas (Crawford 68).

Subs not used: Hill, Edwards.