Match Preview: Wood v Shots

Boreham Wood v Aldershot Town Match Preview – Saturday 23rd March 2019

Aldershot Town’s wretched home run continued last Saturday, albeit with a creditable performance in a 1-0 defeat to promotion chasing Salford City. Behind to Devante Rodney’s 43rd minute strike, they created a hot of second half chances, only to ultimately draw a blank which left them realising an unwanted club record, ten home matches without victory. On Saturday, The Shots make the relatively short trip to 18th placed Boreham Wood.

Shots Squad:
Shots boss Gary Waddock started the same eleven against both Leyton Orient and Boreham Wood, but with the vast majority of his playing squad now available, he could be tempted to make a few changes for the trip to Meadow Park. Only long term absentees George Fowler and Lewis Kinsella are unavailable to him. Adam McDonnell will serve his one-match suspension after picking up two yellow cards in Saturday’s defeat against Salford City.

Name: Boreham Wood FC
Founded: 1948
Nickname: The Wood
Manager: Luke Garrard
Stadium: Meadow Park 2017/18
Final National League position: 4th
Current National League position: 18th

Recent History:
Promoted via the play-offs from National League South in 2014/15, The Wood’s first season in Non-League’s top tier saw them avoid relegation in dramatic style by winning their final three games. That allowed them to build further and the work they put in paid dividends with a top-half finish in 2016-17. Last season, The Wood improved further, finishing in 4th place and going on to make the Promotion final, only to lose out to Tranmere Rovers.

The Gaffer:
Luke Garrard became the youngest manager in any of England’s top five divisions when he was appointed as the boss of Boreham Wood aged just 30 in October 2015. A former Wood defender, Garrard started out as a trainee with Spurs before moving on to Swindon Town where he spent three years between 2002 and 2005. He spent time on the books of Bishop’s Stortford and Boreham Wood upon leaving The County Ground and then moved on to AFC Wimbledon in 2006 for a four-year stint and over 100 appearances. He initially returned to Boreham Wood on loan in 2009/10 before making the reunion permanent that summer and he made well over 100 appearances before succeeding Ian Allinson in the Meadow Park hot seat. Last season he steered the club to their highest ever finish and to the play-off final at Wembley.

Wood Squad:
Garrard saw several key players depart Meadow Park last summer, including Grant Smith & Bruno Andrade (Lincoln City) and Morgan Ferrier (Walsall). Ten players stayed, including Keiran Murtagh & Angelo Balanta (who has since moved to Dagenham & Redbridge for an undisclosed fee). Garrard made several key signings, most notably; young Arsenal keeper Ryan Huddart, defenders Femi Ilesanmi & Manny Parry from Dover and Jamal Fyfield from Gateshead. He also brought in a couple of young strikers on loan from EFL clubs; Josh Umerah scored 7 goals on loan prior to returning to Charlton and Justin Shaibu (Brentford) is the club’s top scorer this season with 10 goals. More recently, Ralston Gabriel, prolific with Haringey Boro has come in up front, as have former Shots’, Idris Kanu (on loan from Peterborough) and Keeper George Legg on loan from Reading.

Saturday’s referee is Robert Evans, for whom this will be his first National League match of the season.

There will be live BBC Surrey Sport coverage of the game on Saturday with Rob Worrall and injured Shots defender Lewis Kinsella. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact with the commentary team, tweet @RobShot66.