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07 May 2023 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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Match Reports

Report: Notts 3-2 Boreham Wood (AET)

Incredible scenes at Meadow Lane

7 May 2023

Jodi Jones fired us to Wembley with a strike deep into stoppage time at the end of extra time.

It was the perfect ending to an absolutely incredible semi-final as we came back from two goals down to win in the most dramatic way possible.

In the first half of normal time, Femi Ilesanmi and Lee Ndlovu scored to send the visitors into the break two goals to the good.

Aden Baldwin gave us hope with a sweet strike from range shortly after the restart - but, as the game entered the seventh minute of injury time, it looked like our season was over.

That was until substitute Jones saw his cross nodded home by Baldwin for his second of the match in front of a jubilant Kop.

Extra time was a cagey affair with both sides showing signs of fatigue.

But Jones was able to summon the strength to fire a speculative effort beyond emergency loan signing Joe McDonnell to send the stadium into meltdown.

Luke Williams named the same starting line-up that drew with York City on the final day of the regular season.

That meant Sam Slocombe continued in goal, guarded by a back three of Kyle Cameron, Baldwin and Connell Rawlinson.

In front of them, holding midfielders John Bostock and Matt Palmer were flanked by wing backs Adam Chicksen and Aaron Nemane, with Sam Austin and Ruben Rodrigues supporting striker Macaulay Langstaff.

Goalkeeper Archie Mair was named among our substitutes, along with Richard Brindley, Jim O’Brien, Jones and Cedwyn Scott.

Within 10 minutes of the game getting underway, we could have been 3-0 up as a flurry of early chances presented themselves.

Two of them fell to Rodrigues as, firstly, he looked destined to turn Chicksen’s cross home at the back post only to skew the ball wide.

Four minutes later, Nemane did brilliantly to get into the area and cut the ball back for the Portuguese but he could only blaze it over from 12 yards.

The agony continued moments later as Palmer’s low cross somehow evaded Chicksen on the goal line after he’d raced across the face of goal.

It took until the 24th minute for the visitors to offer their first threat, Tyrone Marsh seeing a low shot saved by Slocombe, and we responded when Rodrigues crisply delivered the ball into Langstaff’s feet inside the area. The forward was able to turn, but couldn’t get the required power or direction on his shot to beat McDonnell.

Rodrigues then took centre stage again as we created another excellent opening, Austin this time slipping him through on goal. His shot was poor, though, and the keeper saved.

It looked like only a matter of time before the goal was coming but, unfortunately for us, when it eventually arrived, it was at the wrong end as, three minutes after Slocombe had pushed a shot over his bar, Boreham Wood sprung the offside trap and squared for Ilesanmi to bundle the ball home.

Nemane saw a goalbound effort blocked and Baldwin twice went close, sending a shot just wide and seeing another well saved as half-time neared.

And there was another opening for Rodrigues inside three added minutes when our excellent pressing from the front allowed Austin to play him into the area. His touch saw the ball run away from him, though, and the angle was too tight for him to seriously trouble McDonnell.

Williams made no changes at the break but we soon altered the scoreline in our favour as the Wood defence failed to heed Baldwin’s prior warnings, affording him far too much space in which to unleash a low, 30-yard strike which found the bottom corner.

Baldwin then so nearly undid his own brilliant work by failing to notice Ndlovu lurking behind him, allowing the forward to race clear and round Slocombe. Somehow, the defender managed to recover and get a stud to his shot, diverting the ball wide.

It was proving to be a topsy-turvy second period and the drama continued as, shortly after Baldwin laid the ball off for Langstaff to curl narrowly wide, Rodrigues’ barnstorming run into the penalty area was halted by a trip from a defender with the referee pointing to the spot.

Rodrigues stepped up to take it but was thwarted once again as McDonnell dived to his right to push the ball away, with his defenders then clearing the danger.

Our frustration continued as Langstaff sent Palmer’s cross over before firing a left-footed effort narrowly wide after receiving the ball from Rodrigues – our final opportunity before seven added minutes were indicated.

And, after Jones – who had replaced Chicksen earlier in the half – had sent a cross-shot wide inside the fourth added minute it looked like our season was coming to a gut-wrenching conclusion.

But Jones, playing at right wing back, had other ideas as in the dying seconds he cut inside his full back and powered a cross into the middle, which Baldwin stooped to guide home with his head.

There was pandemonium in the stands but we had to quickly prepare ourselves for extra time, which began with the ball not quite falling for Rodrigues in the visitors’ penalty area.

That proved to be the Portuguese’s final notable involvement as he made way for O’Brien shortly before the teams switched ends, prompting one last siege on the Kop end.

Slocombe’s goal proved the busier, though, as the visitors beat the offside trap and a cross looked destined for an unmarked striker at the far post, only for Nemane to appear from nowhere and make an heroic clearance.

We regained our composure and began to apply pressure on McDonnell’s goal – but the game looked destined for penalties as the clock ticked down.

Again, though, we produced late heroics as Jones, who had switched over to the left, collected a loose ball outside the area and saw his speculative strike palmed into the roof of the net by McDonnell – sending us to Wembley.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Baldwin (Brindley 107'), Rawlinson; Chicksen (Jones 78'), Nemane; Bostock, Palmer, Austin (Scott 65'), Rodrigues (O'Brien 103'); Langstaff


BOOKINGS: Jones (120')

ATTENDANCE: 16,507 (1,108)

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