The Hertfordshire town of Borehamwood knows all about movie magic but even the finest writers at Elstree Studios would struggle to come up with a script as good as this.
With the final tie of the fourth round weekend came the FA Cup upset we’d all craved as National League Boreham Wood sent Championship promotion contenders Bournemouth crashing out.
And how about this for a tale? A 37-year-old match-winner in Mark Ricketts who was in Charlton Athletic’s academy at the same time Bournemouth manager Scott Parker was bossing their midfield.
Boreham Wood’s FA Cup dream lives on after they shocked Bournemouth in the fourth round
Captain Mark Ricketts’ first-half goal was enough to send the National League side through
Ricketts (left) scores their side’s first goal of the game to set up the astonishing triumph
Ricketts never played for Charlton, then a Premier League club, but carved out an extensive career in non-league football with Ebbsfleet United, Woking and then Boreham Wood.
Here was reassurance that everyone can have their moment in the sun, even in the twilight of a career, and every underdog can have their day – and not just on film reel.
Boreham Wood are an ambitious club who will surely take their place among the EFL in the coming years. They are brilliantly coached by Luke Garrard and clearly going places.
The tears of joy glistened in Garrard’s eyes as he watched 1,380 delirious Boreham Wood fans in a sold out away section jig with delight and sing about visiting Wembley which, in fairness, is only 11 miles away from them.
Into the fourth round for the first time in their history and now into the fifth where the adventure will continue with a visit to Premier League Everton.
Boreham Wood’s Adrian Clifton (left) and Tyrone Marsh celebrate with a miniature Cup replica
The non-league side celebrate their stunning win in front of their fans at the Vitality Stadium
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
Bournemouth (4-3-3): Woodman 5; Moriah-Welsh 5 (Billing 65), Phillips 6, Hill 5 (Solanke 76), Davis 6; Cook (c) 5 (Christie 46, 5), Kilkenny 4, Pearson 5 (Cantwell 46, 5); Marcondes 5 (Stacey 65, 6), Lowe 4, Anthony 6
Substitutes not used: Travers (GK); Mepham, Kelly, Zemura
Manager: Scott Parker 5
Boreham Wood (3-4-1-2): Ashby-Hammond 8; Evans 8, Stephens 8.5, Stevens 8; Smith 8, Ricketts (c) 8.5 (Comley 87) Raymond 8, Mendy 8; Rees 8; Marsh 8 (Clifton 85), Boden 8 (Ranger 90+3)
Substitutes not used: Roach (GK); Clifton, Smith
Manager: Luke Garrard 9
Scorer: Ricketts 38
Booked: Stephens, Marsh, Ashby-Hammond
Referee: Graham Hill 6
After the heartbreak of Kidderminster’s defeat by West Ham on Saturday, here was delayed glory for the non-league, leaving Bournemouth hoping it was all a bad dream as they lost to a team 74 places below them.
The hosts were absolutely abysmal and can’t feel hard done by. They were rattled by feisty and utterly dedicated opponents and didn’t create anywhere near enough chances to avert embarrassment.
Parker had a delicate balancing act for this tie as they chase promotion and chose to rest a good few regulars with one eye on Wednesday night’s important Championship encounter with Birmingham.
It had been a frenetic deadline day in these parts with five players signed and two loanees taken from Premier League clubs – defender Nathaniel Phillips of Liverpool and goalkeeper Freddie Woodman of Newcastle – were handed their debuts.
It was immediately apparent that Woodman was a newcomer when he failed to find a red and black shirt with a pass out inside the opening 30 seconds, presenting the ball to Boreham Wood’s Josh Rees on the edge of the area.
Fortunately for Woodman, Rees miscontrolled then went to ground, the ball trickling back to the grateful keeper.
The non-leaguers weren’t in any way awed by their opponents or the occasion. Kane Smith ran directly into the Bournemouth box and cut the ball back to Rees, who went to ground under pressure from Phillips. Penalty appeals fell upon deaf ears.
Bournemouth, naturally, bossed possession but time after time found themselves going nowhere. Boreham Wood simply dropped everyone behind the ball, the five defenders fanning out to nullify any wide threat.
Paul Parker’s Bournemouth did not manage a shot on target until the 64th minute of the game
Boreham Wood had previously never played in the fourth round and will face Everton next
As patient move after patient move crashed upon these rocks, frustrations grew in the home stands. Boreham Wood were more than comfortable in the first-half.
And eight minutes before the break, with Bournemouth yet to even have a shot, they delivered a hefty blow.
Jacob Mendy was able to get clear down the left to the byline and managed to cut the ball back in search of Tyrone Marsh in the centre.
Marsh was boxed in, covered by Phillips and unable to turn with the ball. Gavin Kilkenny only had to get decent purchase on a clearance and the danger would have been defused.
Instead, he cleared it straight to Ricketts, lurking in space on the edge of the Bournemouth box. The shot was low and true, bouncing in off the inside of the post before Woodman could react.
The Championship side did have the ball in the net late on but it was ruled out for offside
Boreham Wood are the last side not in the top two divisions to remain in the competition
Ricketts didn’t realise right away that the ball had crossed the line but his face lit up when team-mates started celebrating and the Wood players ran in unison to an ecstatic away end.
That was only the third time Ricketts has scored in over 200 appearances for the club so talk about picking your moment.
Parker sent for some of the heavy artillery at half-time, with Norwich loanee Todd Cantwell brought on for this debut alongside Ryan Christie.
Remarkably, Boreham Wood almost had another within seconds of the resumption. Ricketts fired over a hopefully cross that got caught in the wind and required Woodman to prevent it looping in.
It took until minute 64 for Bournemouth to register a shot on target, with Wood keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond punching Christie’s hit clear.
Boreham Wood Manager Luke Garrard celebrates masterminding a huge upset on Sunday
Boreham Wood’s Mark Ricketts celebrates scoring their first goal with team-mates
The momentum was with the hosts as the clock ticked down. Substitute Jack Stacey sent in a low cross that Ashby-Hammond did well to clutch.
Philip Billing, another introduced from a talented bench, chipped the keeper but also cleared the bar when sent clear. At that point, Parker smashed more emergency glass and sent on top scorer Dom Solanke.
Soon Jaidon Anthony had the ball in the net after Ashby-Hammond had saved twice to deny first Christie and then Billing, who was in an offside position when he followed up.
Anthony curled a shot high and wide as the minutes ebbed away then Solanke turned a cross goalwards but straight at the keeper.
But unlike Kidderminster, Boreham Wood clung on for the enduring wonder of the FA Cup.