Mathematically this weekend’s visitors to Huish Park, Boreham Wood, still have a chance of making the National League’s top seven.

The Wood have seen their season fall off a cliff since the start of March when they went out of the FA Cup after an amazing run which saw them knock out AFC Bournemouth, who put Yeovil out in the previous round and will be a Premier League side next season.

Since the 2-0 loss at Everton, they have won just twice and lost eight times in the National League – but their last two results have been a 2-0 win at table-topping Stockport County last weekend and a 1-1 draw at home to title-chasing Wrexham on Bank Holiday Monday.

Boss Luke Garrard has been rewarded with a new three-year contract this week which (if he sees it out) would take him to a decade in the dug-out with the club he served as a player for five seasons.

He said: “I was fortunate enough that seven seasons ago the (chairman Danny Hunter) gave me the opportunity to take the reins and I know at any other National League club I would not get that chance.

“So I want to repay the (chairman) and I hope we can create even more memories and history in the next three years.

“I am disappointed with the way this season panned out, but we are in the history books again and every year we make history. That is something I am very proud of.”

After the trip to Somerset, Boreham Wood face two other play-off chasing sides in their final two fixtures with a long trip to Grimsby Town on Tuesday night followed by a final day fixture at home to Solihull Moors.

Garrard’s target?: “Our job now is to ensure we have the best defence in the division, we go and get eighth or ninth and certainly don’t drop out of the top ten.

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Wood manager Luke Garrard recognises the similarities between his own rise to management with that of of his opposite number Yeovil caretaker boss, Charlie Lee.

In 2015, Garrard stepped up after five years as a player at Meadow Park and was the division’s youngest manager at the time.

Speaking of the Glovers, he said: “When I was given the job here seven years ago, I knew it could have been my first and my last job.

“I think (Charlie) has done really well, you can see his structure and the way he wants to play and there is real good personnel in the (Yeovil) team.

“(Josh) Neufville has come back from a really bad injury and done well and is finding his form, (Tom) Knowles who I have always liked, Dale Gorman who I think is one of the best midfield players in this decision and Luke Wilkinson who I played with myself.

“It’s going to be tough, they have fallen away a bit but they will still have ambitions to finish as high as possible but I know Charlie is going to go out and fight for everything.”

 


TEAM NEWS

The imposing figure of central defender Jamal Fyfield will definitely be missing at Huish Park following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Wrexham on Bank Holiday Monday.

He seems likely to be replaced by James Comley on the left side of a three-man defence with Boreham Wood likely to stick with their familiar 3-5-2 formation.

In goal, Nathan Ashmore, who impressed in the reverse fixture at the end of September, seems likely to remain between the posts.

He returned in at the end of last month having been replaced between the posts by Fulham loanee Taye Ashby-Hammond in October and was even loaned out to National League rivals Maidenhead United. His return in goal has coincided with a return to form.


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.

Grant Smith didn’t have a lot to do, but he did pull off an important stop at the end. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

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.

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, whilst Joe Quigley also had a nine-game spell with Wood on loan from AFC Bournemouth in 2018.

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.


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