Tyrone Marsh’s late goal broke Blues’ superb resistance as 10-man Southend fell to a 1-0 defeat to Boreham Wood at the LV Bet Stadium Meadow Park this afternoon.
After Abu Ogogo was shown a yellow card in the 66th minute for failing to retreat for a Wood corner followed by a straight red for something he said to referee Aaron Jackson, Marsh made the man advantage count by squeezing in the ball from a tight angle to inflict a narrow defeat on Kevin Maher’s side.
Following a first full week of training for Blues’ new head coach, Maher made four changes to his starting line-up that lost at Dagenham as Steve Arnold and Charlie Sayers came in, alongside both Sheffield United loanees Zak Brunt and Kacper Lopata.
Hosts Boreham Wood came into this afternoon just two points off the National League summit and had the best of the early chances with Will Evans heading over a Frankie Raymond corner just two minutes in before an error from Shaun Hobson almost gifted the Wood a chance moments later.
The returning Arnold had to be at his very best to stop Josh Rees from opening the scoring when he superbly tipped the midfielder’s volley over the crossbar, but his next save was more through luck than judgement as Arnold almost fumbled in Tyrone Marsh’s free-kick only for it to squeak over.
Having staved off the Wood’s advances, Blues grew into the game and created their first opening of the half through Rhys Murphy whose curling effort from the edge of the box went just past the post midway through the opening 45 minutes.
Blades loanee Brunt then created some space for a shot that was well blocked from close range by Gus Mufuta before Southend’s best chance fell to Sam Dalby who got on the end of a fizzing, right-wing free-kick only to head it wide from inside the six-yard box.
The second-half saw Arnold continue to frustrate the home side as he kept out an Evans header. The Blues number one was then on hand to keep out a Kane Smith effort before pulling off a superb fingertip save to stop Mafuta’s long-range effort from dipping in.
Southend’s found it tough to carve out chances and were handed a huge blow when Abu Ogogo was shown two cards in a matter of seconds – the first a yellow for not retreating for a Wood corner, the second a straight red for dissent – leaving Blues to play the last 25 minutes with 10 men.
With the man advantage, Boreham Wood piled forward and twice went close through Marsh who saw a header go wide before fizzing a shot across the face of goal which whistled past the post, but it was third time’s a charm for the Wood number 10 who broke Southend’s resistance.
Raymond’s long-range effort was well saved by Arnold down low to his left, but he wasn’t able to push the ball out far enough, allowing Marsh to steal in and squeeze in the winner from a tight angle to break Blues hearts and send them top of the National League.
Boreham Wood XI: Ashby-Hammond, Ilesanmi, Evans, Rees (Oluwabori 67’), Mafuta, Boden (Clifton 85’), Marsh, Raymond, Fyfield (C), Mendy Mendy, Smith. Subs Not Used: Green, Stephens, Munns
Blues XI: Arnold, Howard, Ogogo, Hobson, Dunne, Murphy, Dalby (Ferguson 70’), Sayers, Lopata, Brunt (Walsh 84’), White (C). Subs Not Used: Bridge, Egbri, Phillips
Referee: Aaron Jackson
Assistants: Joshua Crofts & Christopher Myatt
Fourth Official: Lawrence Torz-Brown
Boreham Wood: Tyrone Marsh 83’
Southend United: None
Boreham Wood: Gus Mafuta 29’, Jamal Fyfield 90+1’
Southend United: Abu Ogogo 66’, Nathan Ferguson 71’
Boreham Wood: None
Southend United: Abu Ogogo 66’
Attendance: 1,501 (836 Away)