Boreham Wood 2 Chelmsford City 1

FA Umbro Trophy 1st Round

Never let it be said that the road to Wembley is paved with easy matches.

Monday's second round draw has given Wood an intriguing visit to the North East to meet one of the grand old names of amateur football, Bishop Auckland, on January 31.

Wood boss Bob Makin confessed he knew "nothing" about the team that currently sits second in the Unibond League Premier Division, but added: "They're obviously a good side and it will be a very hard game."

Without firing on all cylinders, Wood did just about enough last Saturday to ease past a Chelmsford side that can count themselves a little unfortunate to have left Meadow Park empty handed.

Two goals in five first-half minutes proved to be enough but Wood had to withstand a battering in the second period similar to that suffered recently by their roofless main stand.

Happily, the home defenders, and keeper Martin Taylor in particular, were equal to the challenge, and fared rather better than the forlorn looking structure.

Roared on by a large contingent in a healthy crowd of 407, City demonstrated from the start the pedigree that sees them comfortably lead the Dr Martens League Southern Division after a record breaking opening half of the season.

Former Chelsea apprentice Christian McCann gave the home side problems down the left with his pace, and his team mates made sure he saw a lot of the ball.

Chelmsford's high-octane start should have come as no surprise, considering their shirts are sponsored by an energy drink, but it was Wood that sparkled in the 19th minute, when Rob Hollingdale reacted first on the far post to sidefoot home Steve Heffer's sliced shot.

Shaun Marshall was denied twice by defenders as Wood pressed and in the 24th minute his astute pass inside the fullback sent Hollingdale away in the left channel.

The in-demand winger rode one tackle and squared the ball for Junior Samuels to notch from unmissable range.

The margin rather flattered Wood, and they nearly added insult to injury shortly afterwards but Samuels elected to shoot from an acute angle with colleagues better placed.

Maybe doubts that this was not to be their day crept into Essex minds after the break, when McCann saw his rising shot hit the top of the bar, and Taylor made a superb stop as Barry Lakin broke clear of the home defenders.

But their persistence was rewarded just before the hour, as the hard working Jamie Reilly slipped the ball home after Wood had twice lost possession.

This set up a grandstand finish, and City tightened the screw in midfield, where Wood missed the industry of the injured Terry Robbins.

Playmaker Mark Brown had an off day by his own high standards, and collected another booking that sees him one more yellow card away from a second suspension of the term.

"Browny did some good things but these were nullified by some bad things," said Makin, who added that his side made "some wrong decisions out there today".

The hosts suffered at the hands of the woodwork when Dominic Grime glanced a shot off the outside of the post, and Andy Prutton saw a 20 yarder crash back off the angle, but it was Taylor to the rescue again as he clawed down a swinging drive from City skipper Chris Tovey. The closing stages were punctuated by bookings, as some raw tackles were made by both sides. One of the cards was for Wood captain Garry Nisbet, who now finds himself also one more from a ban.

Wood introduced Kerry Dixon late on, replacing the hard working Marshall who too often seemed to be ploughing a lone furrow up front but it was survival time at the other end, as Tovey curled a free kick wide and in injury time Lee Guiver met McCann's cross, but sent his diving header agonisingly just too high.

Makin afterwards praised Taylor's major role in the victory and said: "Martin had more to do in this game than against Enfield and Dagenham put together."

*WOOD: Taylor, Daly (Hatchett 45mins), McCarthy, Prutton, Nisbet, Hollingdale, Grime, Marshall (Dixon 82mins), Heffer, Samuels, Brown. Sub (not used): P.Shaw.

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