15 January 2017

Last Minute

Saturday 14th January 2017
Buildbase FA Trophy 2nd Round
Boreham Wood 2-1 Alfreton Town
Meadow Park

THEY left it late, but Boreham Wood are through to the last 16 of the FA Trophy after squeezing past Alfreton Town 2-1, thanks to Kenny Davis' 90th-minute winner on a chilly afternoon at Meadow Park.
With the fourth official about to hold up the board to signal three minutes of stoppage time to be added, Anthony Jeffrey embarked on a do-or-die run down the inside left channel from just inside the Alfreton half, before squaring the ball from near the byline to Davis, who slide the ball home from near the penalty spot.

It was a goal which sparked joyous celebrations in the technical area, and by the corner flag, where the players ran to celebrate.

National League North side Alfreton Town, one level below Wood in the non-league pyramid, arrived at Meadow Park having scored 49 and conceded 62 goals in their 23 league games this season.  They had reached this stage of the FA Trophy by beating 2014/15 winners North Ferriby United in the previous round.

With Wood aiming for a good run in this cup competition, Wood manager Luke Garrard named a full-strength side for this tie.  There was a place on the bench for 16-year-old Alex Morgan, who has recently signed a senior contract after graduating from the club's academy.

On a cold winter's afternoon and in front of a sparse crowd, clear scoring chances were at a premium in an untidy start to the game.  The scrappy nature of the tie was summed up by Anthony Jeffrey failing to control Morgan Ferrier's threaded through ball in the 18th minute, the ball bobbling out for a goal-kick.

A clearer opening for Wood came in the 34th minute.  Femi Ilesanmi's powerful run down the left flank ended with the attacking left-back sending a shot across goal, which was well parried at full stretch by keeper Fabian Spiess.

Just two minutes later, Wood were ahead.  Collecting a clearance just inside the Alfreton half, Angelo Balanta set off on a weaving run which took him into the penalty area, where the Colombian-born striker guided the ball low beyond the left hand of Spiess.

With Wood holding that slender lead at the break, Matt Paine replaced Dave Stephens in the centre of defence, as the teams lined up for the start of the second half.

And it was Paine, meeting Bruno Andrade's corner from the left, who sent a header over Spiess' bar six minutes after joining the action.

But Alfreton drew level in the 57th minute, as Niall Heaton rose to meet Paul Marshall's inswinging corner from the right to send a downward header into the net from close range.

Just two minutes later, the visitors nearly turned the tie on its head.  Wood keeper Grant Smith, not particularly busy until that point, smartly tipped Andrew Monkhouse's rising shot over the bar, after Craig Westcarr's curling free-kick into the box had caused the danger.

At the other end, Balanta twisted into space on the edge of the penalty area, before forcing Spiess to save with his legs.

Ricky Shakes then replaced Morgan Ferrier midway through the second half, as Luke Garrard looked to add fresh impetus to Wood's attack.

With the 90 minutes almost up, Anthony Jeffrey saw his shot deflected across the penalty area into the path of Danny Woodards, who, under pressure from a defender, could only direct his shot on the turn well over the bar.

The tie appeared to be heading for a replay in Derbyshire, when Jeffrey, in 'now or never' mode, powered his way into the danger area, before finding Davis, who finished coolly to put Wood back in front.

A double substitution from Alfreton came too late to have any effect on the game, and it's Boreham Wood who now look forward to Monday's 3rd Round draw.

This is Wood's best run in the FA Trophy since they reached the semi-finals 11 seasons ago, when the club was playing in the Southern League Division One, three levels below its current status.

The scenes at the end today give a clue as to the importance the club has placed on achieving a similar feat this time around.

The Wood goals

BOREHAM WOOD: Smith, Woodards, Ricketts, Stephens (Paine HT), Davis, Andrade, Ferrier (Shakes 67), Jeffrey, Ilesanmi, Balanta, Devera.  Subs not used: Nunn, Uchechi, Morgan.

ALFRETON TOWN: Spiess, Mantack, Heaton, Kennedy, McGowan, Wilson, Marshall, Nyomi, Monkhouse (Hearn 90+2), Clayton, Westcarr (Priestley 90+2).  Subs not used: Jordan, Smith.

REFEREE: Mr R Whitton

14 January 2017

Match preview: Boreham Wood v Alfreton Town

BOOSTED by last Saturday's win at Torquay United, Boreham Wood take a break from league action to continue their FA Trophy campaign this afternoon.

The visitors to Meadow Park are Derbyshire side Alfreton Town, who currently sit 16th in the National League North, one level below Wood.

In an eventful season so far, Alfreton's 23 league games have produced a grand total of 111 goals.  The 49 netted by the Reds makes them the third highest scorers in their league to date.  But their defensive record of 62 goals conceded is, not surprisingly, the worst at that level.

Continuing that trend, Alfreton's most recent fixture ended in a 6-3 defeat at Harrogate Town last Saturday.

The Derbyshire outfit have come through two rounds to reach this stage of the FA Trophy.  Starting with a goalless draw away at Gainsborough Trinity in the final preliminary round, the Reds won the replay at home 4-1 to progress to the 1st round proper.  Up against National League North Ferriby United, FA Trophy winners two seasons ago, Alfreton's 1-0 win took them into Round 2.

Wood's FA Trophy campaign began a month ago with a home tie against Maidstone United, which ended 0-0.  Three days later, Luke Garrard's team came from behind to win the replay 3-2 in Kent, setting up today's home tie in the last 32.

Boreham Wood v Alfreton Town
Buildbase FA Trophy 2nd Round
Meadow Park, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 5AL
Saturday 14th January 2017
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

31 December 2016

Out with the Old

Saturday 31st December 2016
Vanarama National League
Boreham Wood 0-1 Eastleigh
Meadow Park

Attendance: TBC

THE year 2016 has brought plenty of positives for Boreham Wood.

Expected by many to make an immediate return to National League South, Luke Garrard's team fought hard to stay in non-league's top tier.  Three consecutive wins at the end of last season eventually ensured the club would once again play fifth tier football in 2016/17.

Since then, bolstered by summer signings and increased self-belief, Wood end the calendar year in the top half of the National League table.  The FA Trophy still offers the chance of an extended cup run in the New Year too.

It was disappointing then to end 2016 with a second consecutive home defeat, visitors Eastleigh leaving Meadow Park with all three points at the end of this New Year's Eve contest.

A woefully short back-pass just outside his own penalty area by centre-back Dave Stephens, less than two minutes into the second half, let in Scott Wilson to round keeper Grant Smith and score the only goal of an often scrappy contest.

Just four days earlier, these two teams had drawn 2-2 at Eastleigh's Silverlake Stadium in front of the BT Sport cameras.  On that Tuesday night, Danny Woodards, on as a substitute, had earned Wood a point with a stoppage-time equaliser.

Today, Woodards made the starting line-up on the left side of the Wood defence.  Ben Nunn and Femi Ilesamni operated in wing-back roles in what looked like a 3-4-1-2 formation, Anthony Jeffrey partnering Morgan Ferrier up front, with Angelo Balanta just behind them.

Eastleigh danger-man James Constable, scorer of the opening goal four days ago, twice threatened Wood either side of the half-hour mark this afternoon.  His first attempt at goal cleared Smith's crossbar; shortly after a shot on the turn forced a smart save low down by the Wood keeper.

At the other end, Morgan Ferrier, cutting inside from the right, was unlucky to see his 25-yard shot clip the top of Mark Childs' crossbar a minute before the interval.

Following Eastleigh's out-of-the-blue opener, Wood battled hard against a resolute visitors' defence.

Balanta, controlling a cross from the right on the edge of the box, saw his rising shot tipped over by Childs.

Ricky Shakes, introduced just before the hour-mark in place of Nunn, had a 20-yard shot saved low down by Childs after Eastleigh had half-cleared a corner.

Luke Garrard's team, and plenty of home fans, thought they had an equaliser in the 75th minute.  Substitute Bruno Andrade accelerated down the inside right channel before firing goalwards.  Childs did well to get a hand to the ball, taking enough pace off the shot to be able to scramble back and stop the rolling ball crossing the line.

It was not to be Wood's day though, and the current run of two points from six games represents a disturbing mid-season slump which needs to be halted.

But, while 12 months ago Wood's only aim was to stay in the National League, 2017 - in league and cup - is already a year of greater ambitions.

BOREHAM WOOD: Smith, Nunn (Shakes 56), Woodards, Ricketts, Stephens, Davis (Andrade 69), Ferrier, Jeffrey, Ilesanmi, Balanta, Devera.  Subs not used: Paine, Lucas, Uchechi.

EASTLEIGH: Childs, Green, Dugdale, Constable, Reason (Essam 58), Stearn (Strevens 81), Togwell, Wilson (Bird 62), Odoffin, Garrett, N'Gala.  Subs not used: Pipe, Mandron.


Review also published on Real Footy Talk.