Torquay United vs. Boreham Wood
Tuesday 22nd February 2022, KO 7.45pm
Plainmoor, Vanarama National League

THE CONTEXT

This Tuesday, Wood make the long trip to Devon to take on Torquay United, looking to make amends for their first defeat since October last time out at Maidenhead United.

The Gulls have struggled to match the heights of last season and currently sit 11th, although they have lost just one of their last seven games and enter the game full of confidence with a recent uplift in form.

Wood’s unbeaten league run came to an end to make it two defeats in three games in all competitions, and they will be keen to return to winning ways and avoid being cut adrift from leaders Stockport County who are on a relentless run of form.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

“THE DESTROYER”
TOM LAPSLIE

A graduate of the Colchester United Academy, Tom Lapslie brings a wealth of experience having played over 150 times for the U’s first team. After playing Sunday League football for Ongar Juniors and spending time with Maldon Town, Lapslie caught the eye of Colchester who signed the then 16-year old on a two-year scholarship, agreeing a professional development contract after just a year.

He featured regularly for the Under-18 side and won a Youth Alliance South-East league title and Youth Alliance Cup double in 2013/14, being described as a dynamic central midfielder who was able to lead the youth teams. Although he first travelled with the first team to a League One fixture at AFC Bournemouth in 2012, he didn’t make his professional debut until three years later, coming on as a substitute in an FA Cup Third Round tie with Cardiff City.

His full debut, home debut and first goal followed as he was afforded more opportunities with the first team, and he would go on to play 12 times in all competitions in 2014/15 before subsequently extending his stay at the Colchester Community Stadium by three years. His real breakthrough campaign came in 2016/17, earning the Colchester United Young Player of the Year award after making 40 appearances in all competitions as they finished just two points away from the League Two play-off spots.

Injuries plagued his final season at Colchester and he was released at the end of it at the expiry of his contract, leaving the club with four goals in 170 appearances and a reputation for being a tenacious figure in the centre of the park. He joined Torquay United in the summer.

“THE PLAYMAKER”
STEPHEN WEARNE

Highly rated attacking midfielder Stephen Wearne is enjoying his first taste of senior football after joining Torquay United on loan in January. The 21-year old began his career in the youth ranks at Newcastle United before making the switch to Teesside where he established himself as a regular in Middlesbrough’s Under-18 and Under-21 sides, notching 17 goal contributions in 38 games for the former before putting pen to paper on his first professional contract in 2019.

He then made the controversial move to Wearside to join Sunderland’s development team in September 2020 and made his professional debut in a 2-1 EFL Trophy win over Lincoln City a year later, coming off the bench to score the winner in his first senior game for the Black Cats. He followed this up with a second goal in as many games after netting a 66th minute winner on his full debut against Manchester United’s Under-23’s a week later.

After helping the Sunderland Under-23’s reach the Premier League 2 play-off final last season, he was one of six players to have been offered a new deal over the summer and has scored one goal in seven appearances this season. He made the move to National League side Torquay at the start of the winter transfer window to gain exposure to regular first team football, and from the left wing has scored once in five starts for the Gulls.

“THE FINISHER”
DAN HOLMAN

A seasoned veteran in the lower leagues, Dan Holman boasts plenty of experience and at the age of 31 remains a useful option in attack. Born in Northampton, Holman began his career with several Northampton-based youth clubs including Northampton ON Chenecks, Long Buckby and Moulton Magpies before featuring in the first team for Cogenhoe United.

He returned to Long Buckby for the 2009/10 season and enjoyed two stints at Station Road either side of a brief spell at Oxford City, scoring 45 goals in 63 games for the Bucks. His prolific nature continued after moving to Histon which brought 28 goals in 44 games where he eventually earned a move to the Conference Premier, joining Braintree Town in 2012. He netted a further 24 times and his goalscoring form began to attract interest from Football League clubs, signing for Colchester United in 2014.

He was unable to nail down a regular spot for the League One side and went on loan to Wrexham, Aldershot Town, Dover Athletic and Woking over the next two years, leaving the U’s for Cheltenham Town after playing just five times but seeing him link up with Gary Johnson for the first time. He featured more for the Robins with 18 appearances in his first season that brought an incredible 16 goals to help them lift the National League trophy, affording him a return to the Football League where he made 24 League Two appearances in 2016/17.

However, he was unable to replicate his goalscoring form, and left for Boreham Wood on loan for a brief spell in 2017 that saw him write his name in Wood folklore after netting a late winner in their historic FA Cup First Round victory over League One side Blackpool. A further loan for the second half of the season at Leyton Orient brought an end to his time at Cheltenham with the striker returning to Aldershot on a permanent basis, but his contract was mutually terminated after just one goal in 14 appearances.

Two spells at Southern League side Kettering Town either side of a season at Brackley Town preceded a reunion with Johnson after making the switch to Torquay United in the summer of 2021, and he has scored three times in 25 appearances for the Gulls.

LAST TIME WE MET

Boreham Wood 2-0 Torquay United
Tuesday 5th October 2021
LV Bet Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League

Goals either side of half time saw the Wood continue their excellent start to the season, with a 2-0 win over Torquay United lifting them to second in the table after ten games.

It was the visitors that found the first opening of the match with Dan Martin firing over after four minutes, but the Wood showed why they had begun the season so strongly as they enjoyed the bulk of the chances in a first half that didn’t even maximise the hosts’ qualities. Tyrone Marsh, Jamal Fyfield and Gus Mafuta all had excellent chances during the opening 20 minutes, with Jacob Mendy Mendy getting involved in the action as well when his effort was deflected wide.

Shortly after a rampaging run from Evans led to a shot that was deflected into the path of Scott Boden who somehow skied his attempt when he really should have seen the net bulge. He would be forgiven four minutes before half time though when his one-two with Kane Smith saw the right wing-back collect the ball on his weaker left foot and bury his strike from the edge of the box to give the Wood the lead.

A dramatic second half got underway with the hosts taking advantage of their momentum right from the off. No sooner had the half kicked off before Marsh was fouled in the Torquay area, with Boden converting the spot-kick to make further amends for his earlier miss. The visitors then began to take control of possession with Nathan Ashmore needing to be at his best to prevent them from halving the deficit and changing the dynamic of the game, and denied Connor Lemonheigh-Evans shortly before the hour-mark.

Wood continued to break effectively and look dangerous on the counter, but Torquay had plenty of chances during the latter stages of the game. A cross from Dean Moxey failed to reach Tom Lapslie and Chiori Johnson headed over perhaps their best opportunity when well placed, while an excellent dipping volley from Lapslie sailed just over the Wood crossbar. Ashmore then had to be alert to make a golden couple of saves, first, getting down to his right to deny Lemonheigh-Evans and then making a double save from the resulting corner from both Joe Lewis’ and Lapslie’s follow ups. It was commitment like this that allowed the Wood to see out another win, to move within two points of first place.

HOW TO WATCH

MATCH TICKETS

Match tickets must be pre-purchased by clicking here.

LIVE UPDATES

You can keep up with the action via our Twitter and Instagram pages, where there will be regular updates throughout the course of the match.

Instagram: @boreham_woodfc
Twitter: @boreham_woodfc

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