The sight of Bourne Town manager Jimmy McDonnell’s name among the list of substitutes was, with hindsight, a sure sign that the Wakes were in trouble.
Woodford United, without a win before the game, capitalized fully on defensive errors, misplaced passes and a home side badly short of options from the bench to change the game.
It was very different at kick off when Bourne appeared to have little to fear from a Reds side that used direct football to cancel out their oppnents’ threat from playmaker George Couzens and Munton.
Woodford went ahead through quick thinking from central defender Dan Carter, playing a Nathan Ley free kick across the Bourne goal for an unmarked Mike Lorraine to slide the ball home.
The Reds went close shortly afterwards when wideman Sleiman Mbarouk shot over during a period when McDonnell’s young side were struggling to clear their heads.
But in the best move of the match, the Wakes levelled as James Zealand, Munton and Couzens all combined, with ex-Norwich City academy player Couzens picking at Jai Willerton at the far post to force home the equaliser.
This led to a period of Bourne supremacy, but with only one real goal-scoring chance when right back Jack Corby flashed an angled drive across the Woodford goal.
Moments before Corby’s effort, the Reds’ Jordan Featherstone should have done better with a near-post header from a Mdarouk corner.
However, he more than made up for it with an opportunistic strike from 20 yards which flew straight over Bourne keeper Alex Brown to restore Woodford’s lead.
Mdarouk almost made it 3-1 before the break with a lob that cleared the bar.
The second half saw Woodford pushed back as Wakes substitute Keith Gray shoot over after a through-ball from Aaron Jesson, followed a smart turn and shot in the Reds’ box by Andy Moss which just went wide.
But any thoughts of a Bourne comeback were snuffed out when a swift counter-attack by Woodford was finished off by Mark Jackson’s sweet lob over goalkeeper Alex Brown.
With Couzens an isolated figure up front for Bourne, Woodford were home and dry when substitute Tobi Otugalayo pounced on a cross dropped by Brown and knocked the loose ball home.
Yet Bourne still had chances to score as Dan Smith missed from six yards out and Corby’s header from a Willerton cross forcing Woodford keeper McCarthy to make a save.
4-4-1-1: Brown 5; Corby 6, Jesson 5, Smith 5, Zealand 6; Roberts 6, Moss 5, Collins 4 (sub Rook, 45 mins, 5), Willerton 7; Couzens 5; Munton 5 (sub Gray 45 mins, 5). Sub not used: McDonnell.
4-2-3-1: McCarthy; Furlong, Carter, Lorraine, Clarke; Ley, Featherstone; Califano, MacKenzie (sub Jackson 57 mins), Mdarouk; Gouier (sub Otugalayo 65 mins). Sub not used: Morgan.
Lorraine (12 mins, 0-1); Willerton (18 mins, 1-1); Featherstone (38 mins, 1-2); Jackson (66 mins, 1-3); Otugalayo (76 mins, 1-4).
Kai Willerton - the only player from the home side to emerge with credit.
Stewarts & Lloyds (A) – Tuesday, 7.45pm.
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