OPPOSITION Q&A – Boreham Wood by Steven Pye


Steve discusses the Wood ahead of the NL game


There have been three sections to the season. Prior to the trip to Chesterfield on October 29 the Wood were unbeaten away from home and firmly sitting in a play-off position. But there was a dip after the loss to Chesterfield. Including that match the Wood played nine league matches, won just one (against Oldham in the last minute), drew three and lost five, before the original Torquay fixture was scheduled to be played in January. But this calendar year has seen the Wood make a great bid for the play-offs. The team went on a 14-match unbeaten run – won 8 drew 6 – and before the defeat at Solihull we won five matches without conceding a goal. The defeat at Solihull was a poor performance, but with games in hand there is a lot of hope that we can make the play-offs.


It was a mixture of frustration and embarrassment. We were in the club bar when we heard of a possible pitch inspection, even though everyone had been told that the match would be going ahead. You can understand our frustration when we heard it had been called off. We finished our drink, watched the end of the abysmal 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Chelsea, then went home. We have an hour drive for every home match, and that was bad enough, so my original frustration turned to a feeling of embarrassment when I started thinking of the Torquay fans who had made the long journey up. I know the club would have been hugely disappointed at calling the game off, as a Saturday crowd would have been bigger than a Tuesday night match. But it really didn’t look good and I could appreciate a lot of the lively replies to the club tweet announcing the postponement. I did have to draw the line though at one Torquay fan who wanted Boreham Wood immediately relegated! But, as I say, I could understand the ill-feeling caused.


The FA Cup run has been enjoyable again and the away win at Bristol Rovers was a memorable day for us all. The loss at Accrington was slightly annoying, as the Wood were certainly not outclassed in either match. Going to extra-time in a replay with a League One club (at the moment) gave us pride, although getting back at about 1.30am made me wish the match had gone straight to penalties. From a league point of view the team have drawn twice with Notts County and at home against Wrexham, so it shows that on our day we can compete against the best teams. The 2023 run has been fantastic, and I hope that if the team can get into the play-offs then those who turned up for the FA Cup matches will come through the turnstiles again. I’m not really sure what else the chairman can do to get people into the ground? The facilities have improved, the team are punching above their weight, and there is an outside chance of getting into the Football League. Surely that should encourage more locals into the ground?


I think I’ve covered this in the opening question. No goals scored in the previous two though, so I’m hoping we can put that right against Torquay (sorry).


If we can get into the play-offs, then why can’t we gain promotion? It will obviously be difficult, as the Wood might face two away matches before the final if they finish 6th or 7th. But Grimsby managed it last year, and there will be no pressure on the Wood. The likes of Notts County/Chesterfield will have a lot of weight on their shoulders. The one big difference with this year and the 2018 play-offs is the squad size. In 2018, the Wood reached the play-off final at Wembley, but were without key players in the loss against Tranmere. I think they would be able to cope a bit better this time around, as Luke Garrard has built a decent squad with a lot more depth than 2018.


I must admit my heart sinks every time I see a League Two club struggling, as I automatically think Luke will be linked to the job. I know there were big rumours of Colchester being interested earlier in the campaign, but fortunately nothing came of that. It’s a tricky situation to be in really. The more success the Wood have then the more Luke is putting himself in the shop window. But it is the same as when Sorba Thomas left us to go and play for Huddersfield; you’re disappointed from your selfish point of view, but you fully understand why they have to go. I’m just hoping Luke can pull off a miracle and get us to the Football League, as I’m sure he’ll stay at Meadow Park if that happens.


We’ll line-up with three centre backs, with two wing backs used to provide width when going forwards and extra men defensively without the ball. Three men in midfield, with two up top completes the formation. The one thing that Luke has done since the new year is to use his squad a lot more. So Cameron Coxe, Erico Sousa and Femi Ilesanmi have been used at wing back, with Dion Kelly-Evans now returning from injury. In midfield, Zak Brunt and Josh Rees are often swapped, and although Lee Ndlovu normally starts up front, Tyrone Marsh, Danny Newton and Dennon Lewis are rotated. With a bigger squad, it is only right that the manager tries to keep things fresh.


I think one look at the table demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of the team. The best defensive record in the league – just 32 conceded in 38 matches – and the fewest defeats outside the big two at the top. But scoring goals is a real issue. Just 44 scored – the same as Torquay – emphasises that the team can be goal shy. Me and my son often joke that if we don’t get the first goal then we could be in trouble. But you can’t really complain, and I know plenty of other clubs who would want to swap places with the Wood in the table.


I’m hoping for a bog-standard 2-0 home win, but I’m old enough (sadly) to know things are rarely that easy. You’re struggling at the moment and if we get the first goal then maybe your heads will drop. However, I don’t want to underestimate you. I have no idea why you’re in the relegation zone, as Gary Johnson has always been a manager I’ve rated. There are obviously reasons for your poor season, so I’m just hoping we can take advantage of that (apologies again).








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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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