Southend United bow out of the Emirates FA Cup at the First Round stage after losing 4-3 on penalties to Boreham Wood.
In a back-and-forth 120 minutes, Wood took an early lead when Jamal Fyfield powered home a header inside seven minutes before the home side doubled their advantage early in the second-half with a well-taken strike from their captain, Mark Ricketts.
Blues showed great character though to wipe out Wood’s two-goal lead in the space of three minutes as Brandon Goodship scored from a tight angle before Terrell Egbri made an immediate impact from the bench by scoring from a deflected Jason Demetriou effort.
In extra-time, Boreham Wood retook the lead from the penalty spot after Kabongo Tshimanga was brought down by Harry Lennon, with Tshimanga picking himself up to score Wood’s third, only for it to be cancelled out by a brilliant individual effort from James Olayinka.
With the two sides unable to be separated, it came down to penalties. After Mark Oxley saved Boreham Wood’s first penalty it looked like they were in the driving seat. But after Matt Rush’s penalty was saved and Jason Demetriou missed the target, Blues were knocked out.
Ahead of this afternoon, the home side were the favourites with the bookies to reach the second round of the competition for the first time since 2017, despite being from the division below Blues, and they backed up their ‘favourites’ tag by taking an early lead at Meadow Park.
A set-piece from Boreham Wood found its way to Kabongo Tshimanga whose shot looped up into the air, giving Mark Oxley a difficult ball to clear. Jamal Fyfield used his power to beat Oxley and the Southend defenders to the ball and head in after just seven minutes.
It was the ideal start for the fresh Wood who hadn’t played for 11 days and they went close to doubling their lead when Corey Whitely got to the byline, fizzing a ball into the box that was inches away from the stretching Tshimanga.
Southend were finding chances hard to come by with Jason Demetriou having Blues’ first effort on target after a cute touch from Emile Acquah put the Southend skipper through, but his shot lacked the required power to trouble Nathan Ashmore as Blues went into the break a goal behind.
Mark Molesley’s side had 45 minutes to turn things around and avoid a second successive first round defeat to National League opposition, but they fell further behind after the interval with a well-taken strike from Wood’s captain, Mark Ricketts.
It was a set-piece once more that was the undoing of Southend as Thomas’ corner first found the head of Rhead. The big striker smashed the crossbar with his header, only for Ricketts to thrash home the rebound with a crisply-struck volley to double the home side’s lead.
Southend now had it all to do to keep their hopes of a second round appearance alive but they showed a huge amount of character to wipe out Boreham Wood’s lead with two goals in the space of three minutes from Brandon Goodship and substitute Terrell Egbri.
Blues got themselves back in it by capitalising on a defensive error from Fyfield, whose header back to Ashmore was short and was quickly latched upon by Goodship who done superbly well to score from a tight angle and half the deficit.
Goodship’s goal had Southend’s tails up and they completed the turnaround three minutes later when Demetriou’s shot from outside the box came off Goodship and into the path of Egbri who scrambled the ball home from close range to bring the two sides level.
Neither side could find a third goal needed to avoid extra-time and, as the additional 30 minutes began, it was the home side that put themselves back in the driving seat as Tshimanga scored from the penalty spot to put Boreham Wood back in front.
Having survived an earlier scare when Gus Mafuta broke free and forced a save from the feet of Oxley, Tshimanga won the penalty after being brought down by Harry Lennon. The Wood striker calmly dusted himself off to dispatch the spot-kick, sending Oxley the wrong way.
Southend again had it all to do but they reacted brilliantly, going close when Elvis Bwomono’s cross-shot was inches away from Goodship at the far post. And Blues would get themselves level before the break with a fantastic individual goal from Olayinka.
The Arsenal-loanee received the ball inside his own half before proceeding to carry the ball forward all the way to the edge of the area, shifting it onto his right-foot before curling the ball into the bottom corner and bringing the two sides level one more.
In the second-half of extra-time, Southend had a huge shout for a penalty shout turned down after Demetriou stung the palms of Ashmore. The rebound came out to Ashely Nathaniel-George who appeared to be upended but the officials waved the appeals away.
Blues kept knocking on the door and they hit the crossbar for a second time as penalties loomed. After Bwomono smacked the bar in the first-half of extra-time, Nathaniel-George created some space inside the box and saw his effort also come off the crossbar as Boreham Wood survived.
Penalties then would ultimately decide which team would make it through to Monday’s draw and Southend drew first blood as Oxley saved Shaquile Coulthirst’s first penalty. The next four penalties were dispatched before Matt Rush saw his effort saved by Ashmore to level things up.
Gus Mafuta squeezed Wood’s fifth penalty in to give the home side match-point, leaving Demetriou needing to score to keep Blues in it. The Southend captain though fired his spot-kick wide as Blues exited the cup at the first round stage.
Boreham Wood XI: Ashmore, Ilesanmi (Coulthirst 120+3’), Ricketts (C) (Stephens 90+7’), Champion, Mafuta, Tshimanga, Whitely (Mingoia 89’), Fyfield, Thomas, Rhead, Smith. Subs Not Used: Huddart, Woodards, Francis-Angol, McDonnell
Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono, Hobson, Olayinka, Dieng, Goodship (Rush 117’), Clifford, Acquah (Egbri 58’), Nathaniel-George, Demetriou (C), Lennon (Sterling 120+3’). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Phillips, White
Referee: Ben Toner
Assistants: Andrew Hendley & Bradley Hall
Fourth Official: Michael Chard
Boreham Wood: Jamal Fyfield 7’, Mark Ricketts 51’, Kabongo Tshimanga (p)93’
Southend United: Brandon Goodship 59’, Terrell Egbri 62’, James Olayinka 100’
Boreham Wood: Shaquile Coulthirst MISSED; Piero Mingoia SCORED; Sobra Thomas SCORED; Kabongo Tshimanga SCORED; Gus Mafuta SCORED
Southend United: James Olayinka SCORED; Tom Clifford SCORED; Matt Rush MISSED; Ashley Nathaniel-George SCORED; Jason Demetriou MISSED
Boreham Wood: Femi Ilesanmi 53’, Matt Rhead 73’, Gus Mafuta 76’, Sobra Thomas 104’
Southend United: None