Vanarama National League
Boreham Wood 0-1 Maidstone United
Attendance: 637 (away support 314)
HOME defeats were the bane of a Boreham Wood supporter's life last season. So the frustration felt on Bank Holiday Monday at Meadow Park was familiar, as visitors Maidstone United snatched victory with a scarcely-deserved winner in stoppage time.
With one minute of the scheduled three added, Kevin Lokko brought the ball under control on the corner of the six-yard box, before his chip towards the back post evaded a crowd of players, clipped the inside of the post and dropped over the line.
The goal came as a late blow to Wood, who had been well on top for most of the second half. The closest they had come to scoring though was when Kenny Davis' header came back off the bar with 15 minutes remaining, Stones' keeper Sam Worgan blocking the rebound attempt from Aaron Kuhl.
With Meadow Park baking under the August Bank Holiday sunshine, Luke Garrard began with a 4-5-1 formation. Jordan Chiedozie made his first start - as a loan striker - since rejoining the club this month. There was also a first appearance in the starting XI for midfielder Aaron Kuhl, Wood's recent loan signing from Reading. Neither Daniel Uchechi nor Anthony Jeffrey, both on their way back from injury, made the squad.
Sadly, injury would also force Chiedozie out of the game with little more than half an hour played - a worryingly similar story to the striker's original Wood debut against Cheltenham last January.
In what would be a first half of few notable chances, the visitors went close to opening the scoring inside 90 seconds, as Ben Greenalgh's floated cross towards the back post clipped Wood keeper Grant Smith's upright before deflecting to safety.
Wood were restricted to long range efforts, with Angelo Balanta - operating initially on the left flank - and Kuhl both sending shots well off target. At the other end, Smith had to be alert to parry a fierce low drive from Alex Flisher six minutes before the break.
Both teams then came close to a breaking the deadlock shortly after half-time. Stones' Tom Murphy should have done better after turning inside the penalty area and making room for a shot, but fired well over Smith's crossbar. Just a minute later, Balanta forced a save low down from Worgan when making good contact with a Ben Nunn cross from the right.
Davis' header which struck the Stones' crossbar came shortly before the tiring Balanta was replaced by Morgan Ferrier as Wood pushed for a breakthrough.
There was a warning from the Stones with two minutes remaining, as Mark Sweeney rose above a crowd of players to head Flisher's typically dangerous long throw-in narrowly over the bar.
But it was Lokko's late strike which was to spark joyous celebrations from the substantial and vocal visiting support behind the Brook Road goal.