26 February 2017


Saturday 25th February 2017
Buildbase FA Trophy 4th Round
Boreham Wood 0-2 Lincoln City
Meadow Park

Attendance: 901
IN two weeks' time Lincoln City take on Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final at the Emirates Stadium.

Meanwhile at Meadow Park, the home ground of Arsenal Ladies, the Imps ensured they will take part in at least one cup semi-final this season, beating Boreham Wood 2-0 in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

It was a wet and windy afternoon in south-west Hertfordshire.  Lincoln's joint managers, Danny and Nicky Cowley, received warm applause from home fans in the main stand, as their club continues to do the National League proud in the FA Cup.

The Cowleys made several changes to their starting line-up for this the first of the Imps' two cup quarter-finals, one particularly notable absentee being top-scorer Matt Rhead.  But despite their reshuffled line-up, Lincoln dominated the early stages, the ball spending minimal time in the visitors' half in the opening ten minutes.

On 13 minutes, Joe Ward met Sam Habergham's cross from the left with a fierce volley on the edge of the 18-yard box, Wood keeper Grant Smith plucking the goalbound ball from mid-air.

Having weathered the early storm, Wood went on to create three clear chances of their own by half-time.

In the 23rd minute, an at that stage rare attack saw Angelo Balanta pass up an opportunity to shoot from the edge of the box.  As Wood recycled possession, Kenny Davis' knock-down fell to Balanta, whose shot on the turn struck the base of Paul Farman's right-hand post.

In a swift break from a Lincoln corner in the 27th minute, Morgan Ferrier's step-over allowed him to race downfield from box to box.  Wood's leading scorer then played a square ball into the path of Anthony Jeffrey, whose angled drive flashed just past Farman's left upright.

Ten minutes before the break, Davis' header from Bruno Andrade's inswinging free-kick flew narrowly wide.

Wood had recovered well from a difficult start.  In the end, they would be left to reflect on what might have been, had just one of those chances gone in.

Just past the hour-mark, Andrade, cutting in from the right, saw his fierce rising shot from 25 yards parried by Farman for a corner.  Wood still looked to be gaining momentum in the tie at this stage.

But barely a minute later, Lincoln went ahead.  Setting off on a powerful run across the edge of the Wood penalty area from right to left, the dangerous Ward then found space to drill the ball left-footed low past Smith.

The contest was effectively ended in comical fashion in the 74th minute.  Having sliced an attempted clearance narrowly past his own keeper's left-hand post, the unfortunate Matt Paine then headed the resulting corner into his own net from point-blank range.

As Lincoln march on, the popular Danny Cowley was kept busy signing autographs for home fans by the tunnel after the final whistle.

Meanwhile Boreham Wood, their own hopes of cup glory ended for another season, prepare for their upcoming trip to Sutton United.  The National League's other FA Cup giant-killers from this season host Luke Garrard's team at Gander Green Lane on Tuesday evening.

BOREHAM WOOD: Smith, Woodards (Reason 78), Ricketts, Paine, Stephens, Davis, Andrade (Shakes 84), Ferrier, Jeffrey, Ilesamni, Balanta (Williams 69).  Subs not used: Nunn, Goodliffe.

LINCOLN CITY: Farman, Wood, Habergham, Whitehouse, Howe, Muldoon (Southwell 81), Hawkridge (Ginnelly 71), Long, McCombe, Knott (Power 71), Ward.  Subs not used: Marriott, Walker.

REFEREE: Mr C Hatzidakis

24 February 2017

Match preview: Boreham Wood v Lincoln City

BOREHAM WOOD can put their recent league struggles - just one win in 12 - aside on Saturday when they welcome Lincoln City to Meadow Park on FA Trophy quarter-final day.

For the visitors, this is the first of two cup quarter-final ties in quick succession.  Last Saturday the Imps earned themselves national acclaim by beating Premier League Burnley to reach the last eight of the FA Cup, where they now look forward to taking on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in two weeks' time.

In addition to their cup heroics, Lincoln will also travel to Meadow Park as National League leaders.  On Tuesday night, the Imps avoided any FA Cup hangover by winning 1-0 at North Ferriby United, to stay three points clear of Dagenham & Redbridge, who have played two games more.

Top scorer for Lincoln this season is former Mansfield Town striker Matt Rhead, who has found the net 13 times to date.

It's turning into a remarkable first season at the club for management duo of brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley.  Danny started his managerial career in Essex with Concord Rangers, winning three promotions in six seasons, as the club rose to the second tier of non-league football for the first time in its history.

By the summer of 2015, that success had attracted the attention of National League Braintree Town, who secured the services of Cowley as their new manager, plus brother Nicky, who took up a coaching role.

The Cowley success story continued, as semi-professional Braintree reached the play-offs in 2015/16, before losing to Grimsby Town in two-legged semi-final.

Lincoln City then came calling last summer, recruiting the Cowleys as joint managers.  Moving into full-time professional football for the first time, the management duo gave up their day jobs as PE teachers to lead the Imps' bid to return to the Football League, the club having been relegated from League Two in 2011.

The FA Trophy, launched in 1969, has established itself as the premier cup competition for clubs outside the Football League.  Since 2008, it has been open to all clubs from the top four divisions of non-league football.

This season has seen Boreham Wood's best run in the FA Trophy since reaching the semi-final stage against the odds 11 seasons ago.  Back then, Wood were top of the Southern League Division One East, three levels below their current status.

Despite establishing themselves in the top tier of non-league football, Wood's home attendances continue to disappoint, with the club last week reporting a 15% drop compared to last season.

However, substantial travelling support from Lincoln should at least ensure something of a cup-tie atmosphere at Meadow Park tomorrow.

Boreham Wood v Lincoln City
Buildbase FA Trophy 4th Round
Meadow Park, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 5AL
Saturday 25th February 2017
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

19 February 2017

The Hundred Club

Saturday 18th February 2017
Vanarama National League
Boreham Wood 1- 1 York City

Meadow Park
Attendance: 656 (away support 320)

ON FRIDAY evening Boreham Wood chairman Danny Hunter had announced a tempting early bird offer on season tickets for the 2017/18 campaign.  Billed as the £100 Hundred Club, the first 100 adults or Senior Citizens can reserve their season ticket for next season at the bargain price of just £100.  It was an offer which would cause a queue of eager punters at the club shop both before kick-off and during the half-time interval this afternoon.

As for the current season, it’s now just one win in 11 league games for Wood after Luke Garrard’s team had to settle for a 1-1 draw against York City at a sun-soaked Meadow Park.

The visitors arrived in Hertfordshire with only goal difference keeping them off the bottom of the table and above fellow Yorkshire outfit North Ferriby United.  But, in direct contrast to Wood, the Minstermen were on a promising run of just one defeat in ten National League matches.

York manager Gary Mills had already led a winning team at Meadow Park this season: he was still in charge of Wrexham when the Welshmen won 1-0 here at the beginning of October.

Luke Garrard opted for an unfamiliar 3-2-2-1-2 formation, with Joe Devera, Matty Paine and Femi Ilesanmi in a defensive trio, and Anthony Jeffrey and Bruno Andrade operating as wing-backs.  Skipper Mark Ricketts and recent signing Jai Reason combined in central midfield, with Angelo Balanta just behind a front two of Morgan Ferrier and Tom Hitchcock.

Looking to arrest their recent decline in league form, Wood were dealt an early blow when York deservedly went in front in the seventh minute.  From a swift break downfield, John Parkin’s lay-off found Amari Morgan-Smith inside the Wood penalty area, where the former Luton Town striker stroked the ball past Grant Smith.

The visitors should have doubled their lead within two minutes, but skipper Simon Heslop miscued his shot wide after latching on to Morgan-Smith’s knock-down.

Wood had looked short of ideas in the early stages, but a defensive error from York gifted the hosts an equaliser in the 27th minute.  Anthony Jeffrey’s high cross into the box caused confusion as keeper Kyle Letheren’s fumble saw the ball bounce off a defender and land at the feet of Morgan Ferrier.  The Wood striker was able to turn and fire home from close range for what, at that stage, seemed like a scarcely deserved equaliser.

Further chances for the visitors before the break saw Sean Newton flash a 20-yard effort just wide, and test Wood keeper Grant Smith, who reacted smartly to parry a fierce shot from inside the box.

The first-half ended with York’s Adriano Moke, who spent the early part of the season at Meadow Park before agreeing a move back north, receive lengthy treatment after being injured when coming off worse in a 50:50 challenge with Ilesanmi.

York came within a whisker of regaining the lead within two minutes of the restart, as Parkin was unlucky to see his shot on the turn crash down off the underside of Smith’s crossbar and bounce to safety.

At the other end, Ferrier tested Letheren with a dipping 20-yard drive which the visitors’ keeper was just able to gather in front of his goal line.

Wood’s best spell of the game followed, but against the run of play, Vadaine Oliver almost put York back in front with 20 minutes remaining, his overhead kick being acrobatically tipped over by Smith.

Jeffrey was then unlucky not to give Wood the lead, as he cut inside from the left and saw his shot from the corner of the penalty area strike the outside of Letheren’s right-hand post.

With the second 45 minutes having seen spells with each side in the ascendancy, it was York who almost snatched victory deep into stoppage time.  Collecting a cross-field pass from Heslop, substitute Shaun Rooney set off on a mazy run which took him into the Wood penalty area.  Under pressure from defenders, one bad touch let him down as he guided the ball wide.

With one more point on the board, Wood now move on to another challenging week.  On Tuesday evening Luke Garrard’s team travel to promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers for a National League fixture, controversially rearranged with just seven days' notice.

Next Saturday then sees league leaders and FA Cup heroes Lincoln City visit Meadow Park for a mouth-watering FA Trophy quarter-final tie.  With recent league form continuing to disappoint, that's the sort of occasion Wood fans need to keep interest in the current season alive.

BOREHAM WOOD: Smith, Ricketts, Paine, Reason, Andrade, Hitchcock, Ferrier, Jeffrey, Ilesanmi, Balanta (Shakes 60), Devera.  Subs not used: Nunn, Goodliffe, Uchechi, Sach.

YORK CITY: Letheren, Oyebanjo, Newton, Parslow, Whittle, Heslop, Bencherif, Oliver (Fenwick 90), Parkin (Holmes 73), Moke (Rooney 77), Morgan-Smith.  Subs not used: Simpson, Connolly.

REFEREE: Mr A Bromley

ATTENDANCE: 656 (away support 320)