DESPITE conceding a goal with just 15 seconds on the clock, Basingstoke Town went away from Meadow Park feeling they had dropped two points.
Graeme Montgomery’s fantastic strike gave hosts Boreham Wood the earliest of leads last night, but Town played some excellent stuff to get themselves level and really should have gone on to win the game.
Basingstoke manager Jason Bristow made just one enforced change to the side that had lost to Sutton in their previous outing nine days earlier, Kezie Ibe coming in for Ben Wright, who has returned to parent club Salisbury City.
However, the visitors got off to the worst possible start, conceding after just 15 seconds. Montgomery picked up the ball on the left and drove in an exceptional shot that arrowed over Louis Wells and into the far top corner.
There was little Town could have done to prevent the goal but their response was excellent. They were first to every ball for the rest of the half, kept possession well and had the hosts very much on the back foot.
Boreham Wood were reduced to half-chances from distance. Former Town defender Callum Reynolds hit a shot that didn’t go far over Wells’ goal, while the Basingstoke ’keeper had to take care when claiming a miss-hit cross from Montgomery.
It was the visitors who looked far more likely. Matt Partridge played Soares in and it took a decent save from goalkeeper James Russell to deny the winger, while the ’keeper also did well to keep out McAuley’s angled drive.
Town got the equaliser they deserved on 27 minutes. Having taken a corner, Adam Green found himself on the right wing and he put in the perfect cross for Partridge to flick a header home at the near post.
Having pulled level, the visitors continued to press. Soares tested Russell from a free-kick, while a clever dead-ball routine almost resulted in a chance for Manny Williams.
At the other end, Luke Garrard almost benefited when a free-kick looped up into the air off Daly, who then produced an important tackle to stop Montgomery running through on goal.
Wells was then called into action to keep out Junior Morias’ low free-kick as the teams went into the break locked at 1-1.
Town continued to impress after the break, carving out a few more chances.
A mix-up in the home defence gave McAuley a chance but he was off balance and unable to direct his effort on target, while Green’s low shot forced Russell into a decent stop.
However, Boreham Wood were inches away from regaining the lead when debutant Kudas Oyenuga’s shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection before looping against the angle of post and crossbar. Reynolds reacted first to the loose ball but Wells made a good save to keep out his effort on the follow-up.
Town then had another good chance as Williams and Partridge linked up down the right. Partridge held off a defender before firing in an angled drive that Russell parried away, with Soares’ effort on the follow-up going wide of the far post.
The game had become more open, with both sides looking to attack. Good touches from Montgomery set up first Oyenuga and then Morias but the former was unable to beat Wells and the latter curled a shot narrowly wide.
Town were next to have a chance, a cross from the left falling for Ibe, but he was unable to get enough power behind his shot on the turn, allowing Russell to make the save.
The pace of the game dropped in the closing stages, but the chances kept coming.
Town went so close to taking the lead when Partridge’s excellent shot from 35 yards smacked against the underside of the crossbar, while the hosts could have nicked all three points late on.
Oyenuga shot too close to Wells and Mario Noto flashed a free-kick across the face of goal but the best chance came when Morias was played in behind the Town defence. He took the ball around Wells but David Ray was able to block his shot, while Wells recovered to save from substitute Lee Angol in the aftermath.
There was still time for one final chance, Morias just failing to get on the end of a cross at the back post, and both sides had to settle for a point.
Boreham Wood: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Garrard, O'Loughlin, Reynolds, Noto, Cox, Morias, Oyenuga (sub Angol 80min), Montgomery. Subs (not used): Lobjoit, Wichelow, Brown, Courtnage.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Smart, Green, Partridge, Gasson, Ray, Daly, McAuley, Ibe, Williams, Soares (sub Dunn 80min). Subs (not used): Rice, Barrett, Matthews, Adams.