Whilst Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard may have a similarly limited squad to select from as his opposite number Darren Sarll, he certainly has experience on his side.
Our hosts this weekend have the oldest squad in the National League with an average age of 30.2 years, compared with our 24.3 years – and that is including the injured (and older) Mark Little, Reuben Reid and Luke Wilkinson.
In their 3-1 defeat at Solihull Moors last weekend, Wood’s starting line-up had an average age of 29.09 years with Sarll’s XI against Chesterfield weighing in at 23.45 years.
The loss last weekend was their first of the season and they are unbeaten at home after picking up a win over Aldershot Town and then draws against FC Halifax Town and $tockport County.
There’s been some noticeable departures from last season – when we picked up wins home and away against Boreham Wood. Notably the departure of the prolific Kabongo Tshimanga to Chesterfield, who has been replaced by the experienced Scott Boden, who was released by the Spireites in the summer.
Going forward Shaquile Coulthirst was released while the noticeable presence of Matt Rhead will be less noticeable as he’s joined Alfreton Town. These departures come off the back of the loss of academy product Sorba Thomas who joined Huddersfield Town midway through last season.
Our hosts’ success is built on a solid defence which begins at imposing goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore behind a back three of Jamal Fyfield, Will Evans, a summer signing from Chesterfield, and Femi Ilesanmi, with wing backs Kane Smith and Jacob Mendy Mendy providing pace.
Mendy Mendy, who began his career at Atletico Madrid, opened his account for Wood in the 3-1 defeat at Solihull having joined from Wealdstone in the summer where he scored nine times for the Stones.
FROM THE MANAGER
Speaking to Boreham Wood TV following last weekend’s defeat at Solihull Moors, manager Luke Garrard said:
“We have got a free week now with no midweek game, so we will prepare because we have Yeovil coming to town on Saturday.
“They lost to Chesterfield, so they are going to want a reaction. I imagine it is going to be a nice, tight affair and another tough game in the National League.
“It is frightening some of the results in the National League. Halifax (who we drew 2-2 with on the previous Tuesday) and we were excellent against for large periods having gone and done Stockport 3-0, so they are a side to watch.
“There’s some good sides at this level and it does not get any easier from Solihull to Yeovil, but I just said to the lads that if we won today we would park it and if we lose today we park it and the focus turns to Yeovil.
“The boys know that was not good enough today, they are all talking (in the dressing room) about what should have been better.
“They are experienced professionals and they know what is expected of them on an away day, and we have shown this season at Bromley (3-2 win), away at Dover (1-0 win) and away at Weymouth (2-0 win) that we can perform away.
“Today we were not at the races, I can’t over-analyse it, I’ll wipe my mouth, move on and we’ll prepare for Yeovil.”
There is none. In all seriousness, it sounds as if Boreham Wood have the same squad available to face Yeovil as they did in the 3-1 defeat at Solihull Moors last weekend.
So, expect to see Nathan Ashmore in goal, a back three of Jamal Fyfield, Will Evans and Femi Ilesanmi with Jacob Mendy Mendy and Kane Smith as wing backs.
In midfield, the evergreen Mark Ricketts will line up alongside Frankie Raymond and Josh Rees with Scott Boden and Tyrone Marsh up top.
A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
Grant Smith has happy memories of his time as a Boreham Wood player. The Yeovil Town goalkeeper was part of the side which reached the National League play-off final in 2018, eventually losing to Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.
Smith spent two seasons at Meadow Park before signing for Lincoln City. He returned to Hertfordshire in the 2019-20 campaign and played in Wood’s play-off eliminator against FC Halifax Town due to a suspension to first-choice keeper Nathan Ashmore.
Adi Yussuf is another player who has stepped out at Wembley as a Boreham Wood player. He was a 79th-minute substitute in the club’s play-off final defeat to Harrogate Town whilst on loan from Blackpool.
Joe Quigley will also be looking to get one over on this old employers. He had a nine-game spell on loan from AFC Bournemouth in 2018.
Glovers’ defender Luke Wilkinson also had two loan spells at Boreham Wood in the Conference South side. He turned out 26 times in the 2010-11 season and 23 times after returning the following campaign whilst on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge.
In the home side’s squad, Connor Smith spent the 2017-18 season at Huish Park, having his contract cancelled at the end of the first campaign. He signed for Wood from Wealdstone in the summer.
Other players with a foot in both camps include Kabongo Tshimanga, who played zero minutes whilst on loan at Huish Park before going on to be prolific with Wood.
Graham Roberts, who managed Yeovil to the Isthmian League Premier Division title and promotion back to the Conference in 1997, managed Boreham Wood to the Isthmian League Division one title in 1999-2000 before his departure saw two of his players, Mickey Engwell and Lee Harvey, take charge.
Engwell was Roberts’ captain at Huish Park and Harvey was a towering centre half in that title-winning side of 1997.
Engwell was replaced as Wood manager by Steve Browne, who was part of that title-winning side under Graham Roberts, and probably better known to younger Yeovil fans as the father of Rhys.
Billy Clifford, who played once in green-and-white in a League Cup win at Southend United in 2013 whilst on loan from Chelsea, spent the 2015-16 season at Meadow Park, whilst Angelo Balanta was part of the side which reached the Championship under Gary Johnson before spending two years at Boreham Wood.
If you are travelling to Meadow Park for Saturday’s fixture, make sure you check out our Ciderspace Away Travel Guide – here.
For details of tickets for the match – click here.