FC Halifax Town 0-1 Boreham Wood: Shaymen's play-off hopes dealt a blow with home defeat
FC Halifax Town's play-off hopes were dealt a blow as they lost 1-0 at home to Boreham Wood.
It all went wrong for Town in less than 10 second-half minutes when Femi Ilesanmi put the visitors in-front before Jack Earing went off injured and Danny Williams was sent-off.
But in truth, Town were second-best all afternoon, failing to impose themselves against a hungry, well-drilled opponent, and failing to register a shot on target all game.
You'd have been forgiven for thinking it was Boreham Wood with a top seven place to play for, with the visitors very impressive.
Town were out-fought, out-battled and out-played.
Monday's win at Yeovil looked to have boosted The Shaymen's play-off chances no end, but this defeat leaves them looking nervously over their shoulders again.
Jake Hyde and Jamie Allen both returned to start up-front for Town, and the hosts had some joy early on playing them in down the sides of Boreham Wood's back three, but a lack of end product let them down.
As expected, Boreham Wood were resolute and physical, unspectacular but organised.
The visitors grew into the first-half and began to get the better of Town, prodding and probing, forcing the hosts back.
Corey Whitely was the visitors' best player, given a free role behind their front two and drifting into dangerous areas.
There was a good chance for Whitely when he was played in down the right of the box with a lovely pass, but he blazed over from an angle.
Boreham Wood repeatedly got into good shooting positions, each more dangerous than the last, requiring some crucial blocks from the Town defence.
Forwards Kabongo Tshimanga and Momodou Jallow were largely contained well, but Town's midfield was being overrun and pushed back.
The away side were sharper, quicker to the ball and more aggressive, with wing-backs Kane Smith and Ilesanmi pushing back Williams and Jeff King down the flanks.
Town looked sluggish in comparison, barely stringing any passes together and getting worse as the opening half went on, to the extent where, by half-time, passes from the back were aimlessly going straight to the opposition and simple, short balls to team-mates were carelessly misplaced.
There was a big chance for top-scorer Tshimanga just before the break, but Sam Johnson reacted superbly to keep out his shot from ten yards.
Had it gone in, Town could have had few complaints.
Halifax were still sloppy on the ball after the restart, frustratingly playing over-hit or misdirected passes, but were at least playing more like the home side again, seeing more of the ball and pushing Boreham Wood back.
The condition of Earing's hamstring came to mind though as, like the first-half, Town struggled to create chances, requiring Earing's composure and skill in the final third.
Boreham Wood were solid at the back and, after a bit of a sedate start to the second-half, began to knock on the door again, with a goal from a corner ruled out for a foul on Johnson, before the Town keeper again denied Tshimanga one-on-one.
But the goal Wood had threatened for large spells of the contest did arrive when, after King misjudged the flight of a cross-field pass, Ilesanmi roamed forward and unleashed a terrific shot across goal.
Pete Wild responded by bringing on Earing and Tahvon Campbell, with Earing only lasting three minutes before his troublesome hamstring appeared to go.
Town now needed to show more attacking threat in the last 15 minutes than they had in the previous 75, but with only ten men after Williams was shown a second yellow card.
That made a difficult task considerably harder, and Halifax never really threatened an equaliser, other than Campbell's effort being ruled out for offside from Kian Spence's scuffed shot.
Halifax: Johnson, Byrne, Clarke, Maher, King (Campbell 68), Summerfield, Woods, Green (Earing 68, Spence 71), Williams, Hyde, Allen. Subs not used: Davison-Hale, Senior.
Shots on target: 0
Shots off target: 2
Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Ilesanmi, Fyfield, Champion, Pearce, Smith, Jallow (Stephens 73), Ricketts, Murtagh, Whitely, Tshimanga. Subs not used: Green, Woodards, Marsh, Mafuta.
Scorer: Ilesanmi (67)
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 10
Referee: Simon Mather
Town man of the match: Sam Johnson. Did his best to keep Boreham Wood at bay before Ilesanmi's screamer.