Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses talking points ahead of the NL clash
BEATING THE BOREHAM BLUES
First things first our record against Boreham Wood in the National League is, to put it bluntly, pitiful. We have played them 12 times in the league since 2015, only winning 2 and losing 7. In that time we’ve actually managed two cup wins against the Wood, but our struggles against the likes of Boreham, Eastleigh, Dagenham, Bromley etc, go a long way to explaining why we remain a National League club! Why is that? Well Boreham may not have much support, but their team is generally tough to beat and well-drilled. A team over the years that hovers around the play-off positions and a team that United very often struggle to break down. Unfortunately we are now in a position in the league where we have to defy some odds, beat teams that expect to beat us and go to grounds like Meadow Park and come back with a result. It’s not a mountain to climb just yet, but two losses at Boreham Wood and Woking would only heighten a feeling that we are NLS bound.
Gary Johnson’s squad re-shaping has continued this week with the incomings of Jacob Mensah and Tope Fadatunsi (see Tom’s NGP below). It’s a little surprising to see another young centre back arrive at Plainmoor (with Lawrence, Marshall, Omar, Tomlinson already on our books), but Gary clearly feels he can add something different. Meanwhile Tope Fadahunsi will be hoping to make a splash at Torquay United, he’s had some good experience at Sutton this season and from the highlights reel I’m optimistic that his pace, energy and finishing touch could be a real asset. The trouble is we are relying on these young players to come in and hit the ground running, we cannot wait 1 or 2 months for them to settle in, so the pressure is on starting immediately. All incomings come with promise, enthusiasm and something new to change up this TUFC squad, but can they deliver us wins?
The 3-5-1-1 formation seems set in the last two games, with Aguiar floating behind Aaron Jarvis, and you would expect Dean Moxey and Asa Hall to come straight back into the line-up to slot into centre back and midfield (assuming no injuries). The midfield will be Lapslie, Hall and Evans, unless Gary Johnson decides to leave Evans out for Donnellan, and use Jacob Mensah or Nico Lawrence at centre back (aided by Moxey and Omar). Boreham Wood games are often an arm wrestle so bulking up the midfield is certainly a possibility. Ben Wyatt and Dillon De Silva will be important, as the formation demands a lot from the wing backs and their ability to get up the pitch could have a big influence on the game. With the squad number increased by loan signings and very few injuries the manager does at least have more options to choose from. I think we have to be positive and try and take the game to Boreham, sit back too much and we usually pay the price.
Two moments stood out for me from the Taunton game: 1 – The superb De Silva goal and 2 – Wyatt’s run and cross for Jarvis to head home. It got me thinking how few good chances Aaron Jarvis has had with his head this season, mainly because Torquay wingers do not get to the byline enough and often they do not provide an adequate cross. Ben Wyatt did both on Tuesday and Jarvis happily gobbled the chance up. Whilst looking at the current squad and trying to identify who is going to get us out of this mess, Aaron Jarvis is high on my list. He’s struggled at times and the partnership with Goodwin never properly paid off, but feed him with quality service and I believe in Jarvis to deliver. A strong and committed front man who will keep persevering and trying to make things happen for the Gulls.
Luke Garrard has been manager of Boreham Wood since 2015 and is still only 37! The young manager has built a reputation over the years for tough and organised teams, and has also enjoyed success in the FA Cup. His Wood team play a 3-5-2 formation, and have the rather formidable Nathan Ashmore in goal, a big imposing lad who we always struggle to beat. Other notable players include midfielder Jack Payne who joined from Crawley last year and former Brackley striker Lee Ndlovu who is their top scorer with 7 goals in 20 NL appearances. The Wood’s recent form has been unconvincing. They did manage a draw at leaders Notts County, whilst the previous three games included a draw in the Cup versus Accrington, and a draw/loss against Barnet over the Xmas/NY period. They haven’t scored more than 1 goal in a game since Oldham (h) on 6th December, so it’s obvious where their current problems lie. The key for Torquay United in this fixture could be scoring the first goal, with Wood not in good form and a Cup replay looming, there is a chance for the Yellows to take advantage. Easier said than done of course.